Women, Weddings, War And Me Review: Horrors Unveiled

March 23, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

WOMEN, WEDDINGS, WAR AND ME: Tuesday 23rd March, BBC Three, 9pm ALERT ME

Nel is a slightly obnoxious, trendy art student – the type of telegenic waif you would expect to see presenting T4. She has lived in London since she was 6, her parents having escaped war in Afghanistan for a better life in the UK.

Suffering a cultural identity crisis she decides she wants to return to her homeland to see how different it is, “maybe I could make a life there? she ponders.

Women, Weddings, War And Me follows her journey around the country discovering what her life would be like had her family never fled.

Under the Taliban regime women were treated as sub-human, owned by men like livestock with few rights of their own. Now the country has a government and women have a higher standing in society – at least on paper. As Nel discovers, in practice things are much different.

Away from her Camden clique Nel is more likeable and her occasional tactlessness sometimes gets results. If women want more freedom why do they where burqas and do as their told? Why do they allow themselves to be treated like animals?

There are some shocking moments in the film when Nel meets women at a hospital burns unit. One, a 15-year-old, covered herself in petrol and set herself alight, driven to desperation by years of beatings from her husband’s family.

Elsewhere she visits a women’s prison where hundreds of women are kept locked up with their children for ‘crimes of morality’. One has been incarcerated for simply leaving her home without her husband’s permission.

As Nel puts it: “This country has been in the grip of stupid men for years and they’ve never been able to let that go.?

This harrowing documentary offers a rare insight into the plight of women in the war-torn nation. Depressingly, you can’t help but feel their silent revolution will take decades to force a change.

anonymous says:

I found Nelufar to be inspiring. At such a young age she was able to hear of others opinions and life experiences without being too judgmental. I think more young people would benefit from being less judgmental and from seeing themselves as completely the same as others, the only difference being that they live in different places.

wilson says:

Her name is Nelufar Hedayat. I had watched the replay on BBC last night, it really touched me. I am Chinese and live in UK for over 10 years female. As a woman and benefit from equality for my whole life, really feel for those poor women. Well done Nel and go girl!!!! If we have more girls like you in Afghanistan then the men will behave themselves. Great documentary from a female non reporters point of view….good on you!!!!

NONAME says:

Walt – A Documentary is – “a factual record or report.”
You have obviously watched the programme with your own eyes, And to say that

‘It could have easily been called ‘Legally Blonde in Kabul’ – Clearly shows how ‘Stupid’ and ‘Insane’ you are.

YOU (and a few others) have definitely misunderstood the point of the documentary. Nel goes out answer questions that she has been looking for in HER city that she was BORN in and chooses to take an audience with her to give an insight into the lives of (mainly) Afgan women.Not the other areas of Afghanistan (that undoubtedly are very poor and unjust) She isn’t tackling poverty. I found the documentary insightful, painfully sad at times but also heart warming and hopeful.

Great Doc Ruhi! Ther will always be stupid people that have stupid things to say. Walt you should go back to reading your Heat Mags. Also 9/11 was mentioned once (I doubt that is hammering anything into anyones head.)

eastwood says:

To walt
I think you are being unfair to her. She is 21, a little naive, a little idealistic, and an amateur. The program worked brilliantly in that the afor mentioned met up with the hard and complicated realities of life. Her own cousins views on the taliban and respect were not dismissed and taken in good heart. It was done with compassion and not too judgemental and asked a lot of questions. I did not see any references to 9/11. I hope we see her again.

eastwood says:

A good and touching programme. It seems to me that the rights of women in Afghanistan are similar to that of the UK in say the 1920’s. Given our record, what right have we to condemn their way of doing things? After all there is nothing wrong in arranged marriages,wearing the Burka or customs. So what is the actual problem?

Walt says:

Who is this “Nel”? & more imporatntly y did the BBC select this air-head (with honours) as a cheap front 2 promote its own insidious agenda (like all western media organisations) by constantly hammering it in2 the heads of the viweing public that Afghanistan is where the Taliban/Al-Qaeda hatched the plan 4 9/11. Which is a blatant lie! If Western news organisations want 2 tell the truth about 9/11 then they should concentrate their energies on the Pentagon & Whitehall. With this Nel presenting this shock-umentary, it could have easily been called ‘Legally Blonde in Kabul’. That’s how stupid & inane the charachter of Nel is. & furthermore, the life of the average Afghan is one of grinding poverty & hardship. wot she shows in the film, in terms of socalising, & shopping, & weddings etc. is enjoyed by 0.00001% of the population. Like Heat magazine this film is high on style but low on substance. Never do we want 2 c a rambling & incoherent idiot like Nel on r screens again. She’ll do every1 a favour if she’s surgically stitched in2 one of those blue burqas permanently.

Ruhi says:

You have all slightly misunderstood the point of a documentary, it is to enlighten, inform and entertain an audience on a subject they know little of or have misunderstandings about. So, the first thing to clarify is that ‘Nel’ is a vehicle to take you – the audience – on a journey, to go with misconceptions which are then changed, challenged or clarified as a consequence of real encounters and not just what one has read or seen in the news. Nel is not an Art student but an English graduate with a first class degree. She is not dim or naive but was able to put aside how she may come across for the benefit of taking the audience into a journey of discovery rather than ready made answers. She is not a reporter but nevertheless she did that well, put herself in danger in a country that is very fragile and insecure. Whilst filming there were a couple of bombings and encounters that would scare many seasoned reporters. She is brave and certainly not a bimbo just because she is blessed with good looks. All the women she filmed with warmed to her and were far more open to her because she was human and willing to be moved by their stories. I write this with knowledge because i am the Producer and Director of this documentary which incidentally has just won an industry award and the judges commented “BBC Three at its best, taking international current affairs and opening it up for a general audience…quite simply one of the shows of the year.”

Mitesh says:

hey does anyone know who nel is? shes amazing!

pip says:

I think that the “Nel” views were very unrealistic, I myself am an afghan teenager of 15 years and i fled the country at about two months but i find it very hard to believe that Neelob was so naieve to this. I dont have any cruel intentions towards her but it was absolutly ridiculous that she didnt know anything about what happend to women, why they hadnt much choice in who to marry etc, it was all funny really

saira says:

BBC needs to stop using young minds to spread hatred and bias – Afganis lived better than Europeans before the Russians invaded – woman had rights. Taliban employed by USA, make them look like a backwards country, then the do gooders go free them – and say ”yipee we have liberated the uncivilised”. Its us in the west who are backwards and oppressed from truth and justice – we need to lift the veil. now the elite have wrecked the country for oil, the country is suffering from a great social injustice.

Rich says:


would you have said the same thing about her if she wasn’t pretty?


agree completely 🙂

Nina says:

Just another loud mouth, ether her parents told her nothing about their culture or she is just another dim girl, she seemed very ignorant too. Typical art student all mouth no brain.

Farrah says:

I thought she was quite delightful and charmingly artless. Touching programme.

Rich says:

I think obnoxious is fair – the first thing she reminded me of was the other ‘intellectual giant’ aka Peaches Geldof. Her mum has a point – their family obviously went through a lot to escape Afghanistan and have a better life in the UK … and now Miss Cultural Identity Crisis thinks that going back to her roots is going to mean anything. While the program gives a great insight into life in the country these days and just how much things are still the same in terms of female oppression despite there being some improvements – it’s clear that this child (hard to believe she’s 21) knows so little about a country she obviously had idealised and fantasized about – “maybe the man I will be with in my life will be Afghani etc.”

think its abit unfair to say she was “obnoxious”! even before her revelations she was obviously a caring young woman

Claudia says:

so inspiring, so interesting, especially as I am a 16 year old girl 🙂