Nelofer Pazira is an Afghan-Canadian director, author, actress and journalist who lived in Kabul, Afghanistan while it was occupied by Soviets. Her family escaped to Pakistan and then immigrated to Moncton, New Brunswick more than two decades ago. She studied journalism at Carleton University and did a masters in Anthropology, Sociology and Religion at Concordia.
Pazira tried to return to Afghanistan in 1996 while the country was under Taliban rule. The purpose of her trip was to find a lost childhood friend. She was not successful but the famous film Kandahar was made based on her journey. This film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001. She has also made many documentaries on Afghanistan since then.
A Bed of Red Flowers: In Search of My Afghanistan a memoir written by Pazira won the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize in 2006.
On November 2014 Pazira visited St Thomas University and was the guest speaker at the yearly Dalton Camp lecture in Journalism. She shared her experience reporting from the field in the Middle East.
“The problem we have is we always have to reduce everything to a few seconds. The other problem of course is we often use the excuse of the audience or the listeners or the readers. We say “oh because they don’t understand it, we have to simplify it.” My experience is always been the absolute opposite. I think the readers, the listeners, the audience, are far more informed, they’re intelligent, they would like to have the complexity. In fact they would be satisfied with that. But we reduce it to simplicity, on the basis or assumption on our part that they won’t understand it, so we must make it basic and sort of black and white.”
– Nelofer Pazira
If you want to listen to her lecture click here.