Shaima Rezayee is Dead


An Afghan female veejay famous for presenting racy music videos from Turkey to her young Kabul audience has been found shot to death, according to a story in the Times of London that was headlined, "The woman killed for pop music."

Shaima Rezayee had been the only woman veejay on the hugely popular music service, Tolo TV, though her show had been cancelled recently under pressure from religious conservatives. Police believe her murder was linked to her TV notoriety, the Times reported.

"Like other young women," wrote reporter Catherine Philp, "Ms Rezayee was denied five years of schooling while the Taleban were in control and like them was forced to wear the burkha whenever she ventured out of the house. When the Taleban were driven from power, she was one of the first to drop the veil. Then in October she burst on to Kabul television screens presenting an hour-long music and chat show airing videos of Western singers such as Madonna, as well as Turkish and Iranian pop stars."

Tolo TV was established by an Afghan expat who had returned from Australia. "Tolo quickly became the most watched station in the city with a reported 81 per cent audience share," notes the story. The service has since gone national.

In the Arab world, women veejays have become ubiquitous. And if music video channels can draw 80 percent of Kabul's audience, then the campaign by Afghan religious conservatives against "unIslamic" TV fare is plainly a lost cause. A look at post-Taliban "vulgarity" in Afghanistan opens this story.

Virginia Postrel passed along this link; her excellent blog is here.