Asks Canada to Stop Supporting Warlords, Mafia

By Geordie Gwalgen Dent, Toronto Media Coop, November 23, 2009

Joya in Toronto Malalai Joya Speaks In Toronto. Photo: Enid Godtree

Torontonians gave a standing ovation to Malalai Joya, a member of the Afghan National Assembly who spoke on November 18th in Downtown Toronto. Joya, who was suspended from the Afghan National Assembly in 2007 is on a cross Canadian tour supporting her new book, A Woman among Warlords which was edited by Derrick O'Keefe, an editor with Rabble.ca. 300-400 people attended the event.

Joya's presentation, organized by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, was similar to others she's delivered across Canada and included guest speakers such as St. Paul's Church Minister Vicki Obedkoff, York University activist Neela Zamani, Member of Parliament Olivia Chow and the first US woman to refuse deployment to Iraq, Kimberly Rivera.

After tearfully thanking Rivera for not being a war criminal, Joya spoke of her rise to prominence in 2005 and the details surrounding writing her first book.  She criticized the Canadian government and media for a not reporting on the current rape, murder and kidnapping of women in Afghanistan. She also highlighted Canada's current support of Warlords and the drug trade in Afghanistan.

On Women's Rights in Afghanistan:

"The only difference between the Taliban and now is now they are making legal their crimes [against women]. They are making it illegal for Shia women to refuse sex from their husbands. 

"Afghanistan has more women in Parliament than your government and the US, but they are only symbolic and sympathizers of Warlords.  These women are there to put dust in your eyes."

On the Afghani Economy:

"The Taliban almost destroyed opium production.  Now opium production has skyrocketed.  Most Afghans live on $1 a day, while Canadian aid in Afghanistan goes to warlords, the mafia and the drug trade."

On the NATO Occupation:

"Since 2001 less than 2000 Taliban have been killed but 8000 civilians have been killed.  Afghanistan is trapped between two enemies, [NATO] bombs from the sky and warlords on the ground."

On the Election of Barack Obama:

"Obama has disappointed by refusing to bring George W. Bush to the International Criminal Court and his continued bombing of Afghanistan."

On the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan

"You have pushed us out of the frying pan and into the fire.  Now you must leave my country as soon as possible!

"End the occupation. Stop supporting the Warlords.  Support democratic people in Afghanistan. Put pressure on the surrounding [Central Asian] nations which are supporting Warlords in Afghanistan.

"We need the helping hands of Canadians, not occupation.  We are asking Canada and NATO to leave so we can fight one enemy, not two.  No nation can deliver freedom to another nation.  They will only lead them to slavery."