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New Opera Depicts Pakistani Gang Rape Victim's Plight

Pakistani gang rape victim Mukhtar Mai
Pakistani gang rape victim Mukhtar Mai
A new opera has premiered in New York that was inspired by the horrific gang rape of an illiterate Pakistani woman on the orders of a village council.

The opera, called “Thumbprint,” is in the midst of an eight-night run at a Manhattan basement theater.

It uses elements of Hindustani and Western compositions, Bollywood, and Sufi devotional “qawwali” music to tell the story of one of the most infamous sex crimes against women in South Asia –- the 2002 gang rape of Mukhtar Mai.

A village council ordered Mai, now in her 40s, to be raped in order to avenge her 12-year-old brother's alleged impropriety with a woman from a rival clan.

Organizers of a small chamber opera festival where "Thumbprint" is showing say they hope it eventually will tour India and Pakistan.

Based on reporting by AFP and "The New York Times"