This Sunday, and without valid reason I can think of, Future Television showed an Iranian-French movie signed by Samira Makhmalbaf and entitled "At five in the afternoon." Deeply engaging and heart-wrenching all while being effortlessly so, the movie is set in Afghanistan where people - instead of making history - are trying their best to go on with their lives despite all the hardships they suffer. The movie was a reminder for me of one of my favorite books ever, Rohinton Mistry's "A fine balance" where, again, faced with all the problems of the world, four central characters try to live their lives in the best possible circumstances as everything goes against them. What is uplifting about both stories, is this incredible willingness to go on and the resilience desplayed by people we otherwise would have pittied. But these people are too noble to look for our sympathy but rather through an internal nobility manage to deflect it and even revert it back to us - we are pityful for feeling pity.
All of this also reminds me of Steve McCurry's masterpiece, and the tracking down of Sharbat Gula, the long mysterious girl behind the famous National Geographic cover... Perhaps the woman should have been left alone, a mystery that keeps intriguing us. But those defiant eyes at 13, still give way to such unequalled pride at the age of 28 (Or 29, or 30 as even she herself does not know her age) - three children and a very hard life later.