Anna Scott (b. Feb. 5, 1920) Houston TX
Edited and produced by Sehba Sarwar with support from Sally Russ
Sally Russ: My mom’s personal history and clarity on women’s choice issues has always been an inspiration to me. When Sehba Sarwar offered the opportunity to preserve and share mom’s story through an interview, I was thrilled, as was my mom. At 92, my mother wants to be sure we all understand where we’ve been, and Women Under Siege offered a wonderful chance for this. The interview of this very personal story was handled with compassion and patience. I’m so grateful to Sehba for making the experience for both my mom and me so powerful and rewarding. Many thanks for giving my mom a voice!
Sehba Sarwar: One year prior to the creation of Women Under Siege I was talking with Sally Russ, a friend and fellow board member at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, about her passion for women’s health and reproductive rights. She also shared that her 92- year old mother Anna Scott, would be a great interviewee in case I was doing a production about the backlash of the religious right. Once the production got underway, I was traveling a good deal and so was Sally, but just a few weeks prior to the launch of Women Under Siege, Part 1, Sally, Anna and I were able to converge, and this interview excerpt is an extract from our conversation. I was moved by Anna’s honesty and desire to share her story so women today may learn from her experiences.
At Women Under Siege, Recording HerStory was played in a loop with Protecting Space. While recording and editing both pieces, I was struck by the extremism that the interviewees encountered during their lifetimes. The women guards of the Sufi shrines continue to face a daily threat, while Anna Scott has already experienced dangers to her own body by having to take illegal steps in her life choices. The issues she faced during the 1940s are rearing up again in the US, and likewise, the danger that the guards at Sufi shrines face every day remain threats in our lifetime—in both Pakistan and the USA. Since I personally move between the US and Pakistan, I’m constantly comparing my experiences; I also hear a lot of stereotyping about both spaces, and I feel compelled to share alternative stories in both communities so people can have a richer understanding about the different layers.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Sehba Sarwar (Karachi, Pakistan / Houston, USA) is a writer and multidisciplinary artist. Born and raised in Pakistan, she is based in Houston, and her writings have been published in India, Pakistan, South Korea, and the US; her videos have been screened in India, Pakistan, Egypt and the US. She serves as VBB’s artistic/founding director and produces VBB living room art shows.