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Cheryl Diaz Meyer December 15, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Afghanistan.
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Khoja Bahauddin in northern Afghanistan 2001

Cheryl Diaz Meyer (b. 1968, Philippines) won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2004 with fellow staff photographer David Leeson for their images depicting the U.S.-led war in Iraq.  Her work there was also awarded the Visa D’Or Daily Press Award in Perpignan, France.  Diaz Meyer also covered the war in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 and her war portfolio was awarded the John Faber Award from the Overseas Press Club in 2001. Diaz Meyer is a freelance documentary photojournalist based in Washington, D.C. She was formerly a staff photographer with The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis for five years.  Diaz Meyer’s work has been published in newspapers and magazines internationally as well as in numerous books.  Her work is exhibited at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

About the Photograph:

“Only partially exposing her face, Momo Juma begs from men as they leave Friday morning prayers at Jamay Mosque in Khoja Bahauddin in northern Afghanistan.  Internally-displaced women have little opportunity to work and simply hope for men’s generosity in the war-ravaged country. Afghanistan is an oppressive place for women, especially those who do not have menfolk to support and protect them.  I was once told while traveling there that a woman who does not cover her face in public is like a prostitute offering herself to men. As a woman, and a non-Muslim, I was as good as a dog in the eyes of Afghan men.  I wanted to interview Momo Juma, but my translator, a male, thought it would not be respectful for him to speak with her.  We were stuck in the country’s logic-defying contradictions.”

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