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‘The victims are the real heroes’

February 27, 2012


Dr Mohammed Jawad at the Oscars with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (L) and Daniel Junge (R) – Photo by AP
Dr Mohammed Jawad at the Oscars with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (L) and Daniel Junge (R) – Photo by AP

The man behind the story of Academy Award-winning documentary Saving Face, Dr Mohammad Jawad hopes the film’s success and publicity will create awareness about the subject.

Saving Face chronicles the work of plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad as he travels to his birthplace, Pakistan, to treat survivors of radically disfiguring acid attacks, the majority of whom are women targeted by family members. The film is directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge.

“I am so grateful for the Academy’s recognition of this film and the issues highlighted here. No-one who sees these women could fail to be moved. Each beautiful in their own way, their lives have been destroyed, their faces and bodies disfigured, often by members of their own families,” Jawad said following the film’s success at the 84th Academy Awards.

Acid attacks on women in Pakistan are a not uncommon, if un-spoken about phenomenon. Saving Face is the story of two survivors of such attacks — their battle for justice and their journey of healing through the surgical work of Jawad.

“They are the real heroes here. They have been ostracised from society following the terrible attacks that have been inflicted upon them. I merely try to restore God’s creation, which has been destroyed by such evil acts of human beings, in the best way I know how. I hope that awareness of the cause will help to eradicate this beast of a man-made disease from society,” Jawad said.

The UK based doctor was catapulted to fame when the story of Katie Piper, the model disfigured by a vicious acid attack was made into a documentary.

He hopes that the public awareness generated by Saving Face will serve as a global platform for the establishment of a charitable foundation to enable him to build upon and expand his work with burns victims. He plans to set up a foundation to additionally enable skills transfer and allow him to pass on his expertise to local surgeons.

Saving Face will debut on HBO in the USA on 8th March, and be shown on Channel 4 in the UK in early April, after being screened as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival UK, on March 28th and 29th, 2012.