Bibi Aisha: The Face of TIME and Pain


Bibi Aisha was on the cover of the August 9th 2010 TIME Magazine. [7]

TIME magazine has continually served its country for 89 years by informing and educating the public on global and social issues [1]. Additionally, few covers have instigated controversy and debate such as the cover released on August 9th, 2010.

This issue, and particularly the cover, gave new insight on the war in Afghanistan. Bibi Aisha, a woman from Afghanistan, was not only the face of TIME in August but also the face of pain and frustration other women in Afghanistan have endured. The emotional connection the reader feels between the cover is an effective and may sympathize or even be able to empathize with the trauma she had endured. The images’ emotional impact was beyond expected on a national and global level. Jodi Bieber, the photographer who took the pictures of Aisha was granted one of the highest forms of achievement for photojournalism; the World Press Photo of the Year [2]. All the attention from the photo has since provided Aisha with psychiatric care and she is well on her way to complete plastic restoration of her missing features. The use of an emotional appeal allowed the world to feel the same emotions and connect with Aisha and with the war at hand.

The striking image of Aisha as well as the accompanying text which reads “What happens if we leave Afghanistan” alludes to the moral and rational debate of whether the United States should stay or leave Afghanistan. The use of cause and effect in the statement allows the reader to be intellectually convinced the argument made by TIME is valid.

According to TIME magazines managing editor James Kelly, the mission of TIME has evolved over the last 89 years but has kept their same mission. Kelly states “Today TIME is by far the world’s largest news magazine, with more than 5 million subscribers. Our mission has also evolved with the times, so every week we try to offer readers an unparalleled mix of reporting, analysis, photography and graphics, all designed to help you better understand an increasingly complex world” [3]. The August 9th issue featuring Aisha and the reality of the war in Afghanistan did not stray from their mission. It simply added to the great collection of trust binding covers TIME has created thus far.

There is a reason 5 million people have subscribed to TIME magazine. TIME magazine has built trust within their readers which creates the effective feedback TIME thrives from. Since 2001, American troops trudged the terrain of Afghanistan’s soil in efforts to eliminate the safe sanctuary provided to al-Qaeda and additionally get women the representation they deserve [4]. It was no accident that TIME decided to publish the photo and article in 2010. Nine years have passed since 2001 and the casualties continued to increase with each year remaining in Afghanistan. The political news station CNN has tracked the casualties of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq since 2001. As of today there have been 3,172 soldiers who will never come home. Of the 3,172 casualties thus far, 2,268 of them died between 2001 and 2010. In 2010, the causality rate hit the all-time high of the war [5]. Since the publication of the TIME magazine cover photo as well as President Obamas’ announcement to evacuate troops in late 2011, the numbers of casualties have significantly dropped to nearly half of what they were in 2010 [6]. The attention TIME magazine brought to the social issue in the August 9th edition has clearly made effective strides in the position the U.S. wants to take on the war in Afghanistan.

This argument made by TIME has set up an operative debate and has brought attention to the issue of the war through the use of effective rhetorical strategies and utilizing the timing to publish this issue of TIME.

[1] “History of TIME.” TIME Archive: 1923 to the Present. TIME, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. <,21428,c_time_history,00.shtml&gt;.

[2] Bieber, Jodi. “Revisiting Aisha.” N.p., 07 May 2011. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. <;.

[3] Kelly, James. “How We Cover War and Uncover History.” Time. Time, 31 Mar. 2003. Web. 09 Oct. 2012. <,9171,1004575-1,00.html&gt;.

[4] Baker, Aryn. “Afghan Women and the Return of the Taliban.” Time. Time, 09 Aug. 2010. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. <,9171,2007407,00.html&gt;.

[5] “Home and Away: Iraq and Afghanistan War Casualities.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. <;.

[6] “Obama to Announce Plan to Pull 30,000 Troops out of Afghanistan.” CNN. N.p., 21 June 2011. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. <;.

[7] Stengel, Richard. “The Plight of Afghan Women: A Disturbing Picture.” Time. Time, 29 July 2010. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. <,9171,2007415,00.html&gt;.

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