COMMENTS: Veiled References

For its extended-newshole April Mondays, ABC is running a globetrotting series with entitled 21 and the World is Yours. Last week Dan Harris was in Mumbai to introduce as to Nisha Mehta, a 21-year-old medical sales manager. Now Bill Weir is in Cairo to profile Roya Zanaty, a 21-year-old teaching assistant. Zanaty really does seem to believe that the World is Hers, expecting to run a "huge ad agency" while giving birth to nine children and emigrating to Italy. These dreams persist despite living in Egypt, a nominal democracy, which President Hosni Mubarak controls "like a modern pharaoh, holding power through police brutality, media censorship and rigged elections." Typical voter turnout is 20%.

Weir seemed most interested in Zanaty's decision to wear a traditional veil to cover her hair and neck, even though she was not devout, skipping the evening call to prayer in order to "dance, laugh and flirt" downtown across the Nile from her home. "She says she does not consider herself religious but chose to wear the veil as a sign of purity and self-discipline." Her plan is never to kiss a man until he is her husband--and then get going making those nine babies.


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