Saira Shah (b. 1964)

Journalist. Shah grew up in Britain, listening to stories about her family’s “mythological homeland” in Afghanistan. But when Shah first visited Afghanistan as a young journalist, the reality she encountered did not square with family myth. Afghanistan was at the time ruled by the fundamentalist Taliban and occupied by the Soviets. It was difficult for women to work or even to travel around the country, conditions Shah later captured dramatically in a documentary film, Beneath the Veil (2001).