Mosaddeh Jamalzadeh presented a program that was inspiring to others and revolutionary in form, on Afghan television, but was forced to flee her country after she was exposed to the controversial issue of divorce in the program.
“We were receiving phone calls from Islamic preachers, and from militants, calling the station and telling us that we would blow up the TV station if they did not get rid of this girl, and they stopped the program,” Mouzadeh told the BBC.
The Mozadeh program was shown on 1 TV, and was adopting the rights of women and children from 2010 to 2011.
The program, which is offered twice a week, hosted some guests and a number of the audience whose members asked them.
The program was a success, considering the number of viewers who were following it and the important advertisers who rushed to it.
And his reputation increased even to what they described as “Afghanistan opera”, compared to the American anchor, Oprah Winfrey and her program that bears her name.
And she encouraged Muzdah with what she heard from women who came to her program.
A member of the public told her that her program helped stop her husband from beating their children, and it may be understood from this as well that she also hit her.
Another said: “My husband was about to marry our 12-year-old daughter, but he changed his mind now, after watching Mozade’s program.”
Hated and rejected
But the program stopped abruptly, after Mozadeh ignored the advice of her director and raised the issue of women’s right to seek divorce for discussion.
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“I felt what was going to happen, I knew their hatred for me, and that I was ostracized. I felt that I went too far,” Mozdeh said.
She chose the topic after reading a report that said 103 women had set themselves on fire within one year.
Most of them opted for a painful death to remain in a marriage that offended her.
It was difficult and still a woman to obtain a divorce in Afghanistan, without the husband’s consent. Mozadeh wanted to start a general discussion of the issue.
She said, “I had to do what I did. Because I saw that what was happening was a self-sacrifice.”
Mozadeh tried hard to provide a balance in the program. She acknowledged the importance of traditional values at the start of the show, but went on to say that caring for women psychologically and physically is a priority in family honor.
“How do families allow their daughters to remain in a situation like this?”
Her fans were shocked when she tried to persuade them to ask questions, and she received no response.
“It was the most embarrassing episode,” she said. “There was singing, cheering and applause every episode. But everything changed to the opposite.”
After the program was broadcast, there was intense anger.
Mosdeh at the time was renting a large house in Kabul and had armed guards. And I thought she was able to adapt to the situation.
She said: “The president of the TV company said: Whatever the price, we will provide you with the required security protection.”
Then he advised her to leave the country. And she said, “I accepted the advice. I felt defeated. This was the worst pain I had in my life. I fell victim to depression. It was the worst period of my life.”
Mozdeh returned to Canada, but discovered that rumors of her death had preceded her arrival.
“There were reports on TV that I had been killed after being shot at. They even said that my head was cut off and my nose was a stump.”
It was not the first time that he had fled the country.
Like its millions of others, its disturbance has seen death and destruction.
She told the BBC: “Sometimes when I play with my cousins in the field, we suddenly hear rockets.”
As a child, she had to get used to the culture of threat and violence.
“My mom advised us to stay out of the windows,” she says, “and I knew the consequences if something happened.”
Someone told her father, who was a bold university professor, that his life was in danger. The threat caused the family to flee the country when Mozdeh was a child.
She and her parents and two younger siblings first sought refuge in Pakistan, and then sought refuge in Canada.
Love for Oprah Winfrey
During her teenage years, she was addicted to watching the television show Oprah Winfrey.
Winfrey was described as “the queen of all media”, and her success stemmed from her talk show, which focuses on social issues and self-development.
Mosaddeh Jamalzadeh began to love music, and she took singing lessons when she was 18.
And after years, she started publishing her songs to YouTube.
She became a well-known figure, through songs such as “Afghan Girl”, and opportunities opened to her.
In 2009, when Muzdah was in her mid-twenties, she returned to Kabul with her mother, after receiving an invitation from a private TV station, 1TV, to present a talent show.
“Do you know Oprah?”
She said: “I told myself that I would be a TV presenter. This is great. But suddenly my mom entered the room in the station building and said: Can I tell you something?”
Nisreen Jamalzadeh told the TV directors if my daughter had to leave the family, and the rest available to her in Canada, it must be for a good reason.
And the mother asked the directors: “Do you know Oprah?” Her intervention was dramatic.
Fortunately, the station’s senior directors were from the United States and Britain, where Oprah Winfrey was a household name.
This was the start of the Mozadah Program. In its first episodes, the program focused on violence faced by children.
Driven by the Oprah Winfrey Show, Mozdeh wanted to embrace issues of concern to women.
Unfortunately for her, Afghan society was not prepared for free discussions, such as what is known on American television stations.
She met her heroine
Despite the suspension of her program, the reputation of Mouzadah Jamal Zadeh remained international.
Days after the program ended, she received an invitation to participate in the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Her encounter with her idol and mixing with Hollywood stars, such as Tom Cruise, was a factor that relieved her pain.
After a short period of time, Muzdeh returned to Afghanistan to offer a one-year talent program. Little by little, I began to realize that there was a great challenge to change beliefs rooted in society.
“Afghanistan was one of the most liberal Muslim countries. Kabul was once known as Paris Asia. There was a time when women wore short skirts. And I decided to remind people of what the country was like,” she says.
In 2018, a UN report depicted the situation in Afghanistan as a sad depiction.
“Violence against women, murder, beatings, amputations, marriage of minors, abandonment of girls to resolve disputes, and some other harmful practices are still pervasive across Afghanistan, despite the government’s concrete efforts to criminalize these practices,” the report said.
The message continues
Muzdah used to go to Afghanistan and perform some concerts.
She attributes her success to the support she received from her family. She believes her show, Mozdade Shaw, had a role in the change.
The pain of losing him is still inherent to her, but she still cares about the issue of empowering Afghan women.
Despite the obstacles she has to face, she hopes to spread her message through social media.
“I cannot leave them alone to win,” she says.