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People of 2009: Malalai Joya

For putting her own life at great risk to speak loudly against the forces -- domestic and international -- that are keeping the Afghan people from living in security

Jeffrey Allen, OneWorld.net, February 4, 2010

WASHINGTON, (OneWorld.net) - Afghanistan's youngest member of parliament is also a women, and perhaps one of its most educated, and outspoken.

Malalai Joya's public cries against the Taliban, the U.S./NATO forces, and the Karzai government -- which she says is laden with warlords and fundamentalists -- have put her in grave danger. She has been physically attacked on the floor of parliament. She has been ejected from the governing body. Twice. And she has survived five assassination attempts.

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انقلابی نازک صدای افغانستان: صدایی از پشت اتاق

او منتقد بی‌پروا و صریح‌اللهجۀ بنیادگرایانی است که زنان مملکتش را مطیع خود می‌کنند. اکنون وی را در سطح بین‌المللی صدایی برای افغانستان مستقل می‌شناسند

نوشته Andrew Oxford، لوموند دیپلماتیک، دسامبر ٢٠٠٩
برگردان: نرمین براهنی و فریبرز فرشیم

Malalai Joya in NY University, Oct.19, 2009

ملالی جویا تنها ۳۲ سال دارد، ولی در تبعید بوده؛ یک پناهنده، معلم دختران در افغانستان دورۀ طالبان. ولی او اکنون جوان‌ترین عضو مجلس این کشور است، با این حال همچنان در حال گریز است و به مرگ تهدید می‌شود.

افغانستان کشوری است جوان که جدال ‌های کهنه آن را ویرانه کرده است. البته اشارۀ ما به دولت جدید که پس از حملۀ سال ۲۰۰۱ خلق شد (یا به جنگ‌های خشن بین ‌قبیله‌ای که تا هزارۀ کنونی ادامه یافته) نیست. جوانی این ملت یک حقیقت آماری است که در گزارش‌های سازمان ملل و بانک جهانی ثبت و سپس دفن شده است: ۶۰ در صد از این ملت زیر ۲۵ سال دارد و بسیاری نیز بیش از این عمر نمی‌کنند. (۱)

نزدیک به یک دهه از زمانی که نیروهای ناتو، به رهبری آمریکا، افغانستان را [ به اصطلاح] «آزاد» کردند، گذشته است. اما در قبال اشغال کشور، پرداخت بیلیون‌ها دلار کمک مالی و کشته شدن هزاران نظامی و غیرنظامی چیزی عاید آن نشده است. چندان صدایی از اکثریت جوان مملکت شنیده نمی‌شود. گفتگوهای سیاسی در کابل، آیندۀ این جوانان را نادیده می‌گیرد. این چیزی است که در تسلط افراد مظنون همیشگی، بوروکرات ‌های ریشو و مبلغان جنگ‌های کهنه قرار دارد.

ادامه مطلب


‘The bravest woman in Afghanistan’ talks about peace, justice and women’s rights

Why Canada must leave Afghanistan now

Haseena Manek, The Ryerson Free Press, February 3, 2010

Malalai Joya was just 27 years old when she became the youngest person ever to be elected to Afghanistan’s parliament. That was in 2005. Four years later, she is also an author, a teacher, a peace activist, a women’s rights campaigner and a survivor of multiple assassination attempts.

Joya was recently in Canada to promote her memoir, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Speak Out, and to appear at numerous peace events across the country.

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An Afghan woman’s case against the U.S. war

Anyone who wants to better understand Afghanistan and to better explain why the U.S. has no business there should read this indispensable and beautifully written book.

Review by LICHI D’AMELIO, International Socialist Review (ISR), Issue 69, January–February 2010

A Woman Among Warlords Malalai Joya
A Woman Among Warlords:
The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice
Scribner, 2009 • 240 pages • $25

It’s difficult to imagine even the faintest glimmer of hope when it comes to Afghanistan. If the past thirty years are any indication, the cycle of invasion, occupation, war, misery, and betrayal shows little sign of ending.

As the U.S./NATO occupation enters its eighth year, and with Barack Obama ordering an escalation of U.S. troops, progressives and activists of all stripes will find an excellent resource as well as a tremendous source of inspiration—and even hope—in Malalai Joya’s recently released book.

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The Afghan politician talks about her hopes for her country, her heroes and the London conference on Afghanistan

Malalai Joya - extended interview

Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman, January 29, 2010

Malalai Joya with her guard in Kabul - Jan.2010

What is your earliest memory?

I was only four days old when the coup of 27 April took place and the Russian puppet regime was installed in Afghanistan [in 1978]. One of my earliest memories is of clinging to my mother's legs while police ransacked our house, looking for my father. They turned it upside down searching for clues, emptying everything out of drawers, ripping open mattresses and pillows.

Do you still hope to return to the Afghan parliament?

Yes. I have challenged my illegal suspension in court, although in two years there has been no progress. My case is being followed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, but it is also deeply fed up with the Afghan parliament, as it only makes empty promises.

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Suspended Afghan MP speaks out

Malalai Joya writes A Woman Among Warlords

Tamara Lorincz, The Chronicle Herald, Jan.17, 2010

Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya speaks at a peace protest outside the International Security Forum meetings in Halifax in November. (Peter Parsons / Staff)

She is a small, humble Afghan woman, only 31, but Malalai Joya has already been elected to and banished from the parliament of Afghanistan, has received many international human rights awards, and has survived five assassination attempts.

In her autobiography, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice, Joya explains how the threats and banishment are due to her role as an outspoken critic of the corruption and war in her country.

Joya writes, "I am young and I value my life; I don’t want to be killed. But I don’t fear death; I fear remaining silent in the face of injustice. I fear becoming indifferent to the fate of my people."

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Daring to raise her voice: A woman among warlords

Malalai Joya: We are not a helpless country. We have been able to manage our own affairs, and women's rights have not always been in such a terrible state.

By Malalai Joya, The Montreal Gazette, Jan.16, 2010

Demonstration in Kabul against the suspension of Malalai Joya
May 2007: Women take part in a demonstration in Kabul against the suspension of MP Malalai Joya by Afghanistan's parliament.

Suspended Afghan MP Malalai Joya tells her personal and political story in her new book. She says it's a myth that only foreign occupation can save Afghanistan from itself. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 12, A Bird with One Wing:

Western journalists rarely challenge the fables that are spun for them. Because of the laziness and complicity within the mainstream media, the United States and its allies have been able to perpetuate the myth that Afghanistan has always been an ungovernable state, and that the oppression of women is embedded in Afghan culture. The brutality of the Taliban, the myth goes, was only an extreme expression of an old problem. And so only foreign occupation can save Afghanistan from itself.

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From Saturday's Books section: Lifting the veil

In the Afghanistan that Malalai Joya writes about, women are now ‘free' to beg in the streets, sell their children and prostitute themselves

By Jennifer Moreau, The Globe and Mail, Jan. 15, 2010

Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya (Photo: The Globe and Mail)

Malalai Joya has never been the type to bite her tongue in the face of adversarial attack. The youngest Afghan ever elected to parliament has made a name for herself, relentlessly criticizing what she calls the “warlords and criminals in the puppet government of Hamid Karzai.”

In return, she has been called a communist, a whore and an infidel. She has endured rape threats and death threats, and survived five attempts on her life. She travels with bodyguards, lives underground and uses a pseudonym to protect her family.

Late last year, she wrapped up a cross-Canada book tour promoting her new biography, A Woman Among Warlords, co-written with Vancouver peace activist Derrick O'Keefe. With her harsh criticism of the Karzai government and her troops-out-now stance, Joya raises serious questions about the war at a time when U.S. President Barack Obama has just promised to send 30,000 more troops to the region.

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Malalai Joya’s Address to GAAW New Year’s Day Peace Event

We reproduce Malalai Joya's speech by telephone from a safe house in Kabul to our Galway peace event

The Irish Anti-War Movement, Jan.15, 2010

On New Year’s Day Galway Alliance Against War (GAAW) held a successful peace party to welcome in the new decade – our aim is that this decade should be a much more peaceful one than the bloody one just gone. Alas, the signs are not promising. Any difference between Obama and Bush is not discernible. Ireland continues to play an active part in this bogus “war on terror”. More than €3 million per year is spent by the Irish government to protect what has become a US military installation at Shannon airport. Sure, the airport has had a financial return of €7 million on an annual basis, but at what price? The end of Irish neutrality: Ireland becoming an accessory to both mass murder and the wholesale abuse of human rights. Amnesty International have underlined this fact this week by reiterating that Shannon Airport has been directly linked to “extraordinary rendition” and the Guantanamo torture jets – for example in the case of Binyam Mohamad.

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Afghanistan’s soft-spoken rebel: The voice from the back of the room

Now she is internationally prominent as the voice for an independent Afghanistan.

By Andrew Oxford, Le Monde Diplomatique, January 2010

Malalai Joya in NY University, Oct.19, 2009

Malalai Joya is only 32, but she has been an exile, a refugee, a teacher of girls in the Taliban’s Afghanistan, and now that country’s youngest member of parliament. She’s still on the run though, and still threatened with assassination

Afghanistan is a young nation ravaged by old conflicts. This does not refer to the new government created after the 2001 invasion (or the violent battles between different tribes that have carried on into the new millennium). Its youthfulness is a statistical fact buried in UN and World Bank reports: 60% of the country is under the age of 25, and many may not live much beyond that (1).

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Afghan activist urges foreign troops to leave

She steadfastly maintains that the average Afghan wants peace and democracy but will not get it from the current regime.

Reviewed by Jackie Shymanski, Winnipeg Free Press, January 9, 2010

The author of this compelling autobiography has been called one of the bravest women in Afghanistan, by media and politicians the globe over.

The very basics of her story -- being a refugee in Iran, Pakistan and even in Afghanistan, having a parent hunted by rotating regimes, being female where that instantly means being second class -- could earn her the title.

Add to it her chosen vocation -- women's rights activist, the youngest ever Afghan parliamentarian -- and her memoir offer heartbreaking insight into today's Afghanistan.

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A Voice of Resistance in Afghanistan

She is a bold spokesperson for a current of opinion in Afghanistan that is silenced by the Karzai regime and its NATO backers.

Book Review by Suzanne Weiss, Socialist Voice, January 4, 2010

A Woman Among Warlords

A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice, by Malalai Joya, with Derrick O’Keefe. Scribner, 2009.

Afghan social activist and writer Malalai Joya is the voice of another, hidden Afghanistan – the partisans of independence, democracy, and human rights who have no voice under the corrupt U.S.-sponsored regime of Hamid Karzai.

She has survived multiple assassination attempts for her outspoken advocacy of women’s rights and withdrawal of U.S., Canadian, and other NATO armed forces. She believes the people of Afghanistan, especially the women, can organize the struggle for fundamental rights such as health care, education, control of their bodies and their lives – but only when the foreign occupiers leave their country.

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A woman among warlords

One of the most hopeful voices to emerge out of Afghanistan is Malalai Joya

By Shea Howell, The Michigan Citizen, January 3, 2010

One of the most hopeful voices to emerge out of Afghanistan is Malalai Joya. Barely 30 years old, Joya has been called “Afghanistan’s bravest woman.” Under the Taliban she risked death by running an underground school for girls. Shortly after the U.S. invasion, at the age of 24, she ran for parliament and won. She found herself one of the few women at the first constitutional assembly. Looking around, she saw a room full of the very warlords who had engulfed her country into a civil war.

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Amid dark times, meet the most inspiring people of 2009

Inspiration Three: Evo Morales and Malalai Joya. Although they were born thousands of miles apart, these two people embody what real democracy can mean.

Johann Hari, The Independent, December 31, 2009

Malalai Joya among inspiring people of 2009
Change we can believe in: clockwise from bottom left, Evo Morales, Malalai Joya, Peter Tatchell, Liu Xiaobo, Amy Goodman, and Denis Mukwege. (Getty / PA/ EPA)

It was a dark year, 2009, sealing a dark decade. It began with the world in economic free-fall and the Gaza Strip being bombed to pieces (again). We watched the vicious crushing of a democratic uprising in Iran, a successful far-right coup in Honduras, and the intensification of the disastrous war in Afghanistan. It all ended at Brokenhagen, where the world's leaders breezily decided to carry on cooking the planet.

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'Bravest' Afghan woman MP in live link at Galway peace party

The Galway anti-war alliance says Ms Joya’s address would be transmitted live from a safe house in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Lorna Siggins, The Irish Times, December 31, 2009

A FEMALE politician described as “the bravest woman in Afghanistan” is to be guest of honour via a live link at a New Year’s Day peace party hosted in Galway.

Malalai Joya, a member of the Afghan parliament, has survived four assassination attempts and is said to be hated by the Karzai government which banned her from parliament, and by the Taliban.

She is due to speak by telephone link to the Galway Alliance Against War gathering in Galway Rowing Club at 7pm tomorrow.

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