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Young Afghan feminist Malalai Joya spoke in Berlin about her fight against Warlords and occupation

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Courage of the Despair

By Jana Frielinghaus, Junge Welt, September 21, 2007
(translated from German into English by DCMJ)

Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya in Berlin

It is an unpleasant irony that the Burka, which counts for the west as the most obvious symbol of the women’s suppression in Afghanistan, has got a life-preserving function for Malalai Joya. There is no better hiding place for the just 29-year-old women when she travels in her country, Afghanistan. In spite of many assassination attempts against her, she is so brave to speak about her country all around the world traveling to USA, Australia and Europe. She ahs also founded a health clinic for women and children in her hometown Farah province.

On Wednesday she spoke on a conference organized by one of the left parliamentary groups in the German Parliament where the all seats were full in a large room. She spoke bluntly about the situation of the women in Afghanistan and about what is the policy of the U.S in her country. “The USA and her Western allies have freed Afghanistan from Taliban, but brought into power other fundamentalist criminals, called Northern Alliance.” She said. They are Warlords and drug lords that even US based Humanly Rights Watch organization called them war criminal. Instead of prosecuting in international criminal courts, they are high rank members in the Hamid Karzai’s government.

Matin Baraki a professor in Marburger University, shared Joya’s remarks and added that The U.S because of her geo-strategic interest would have attacked Afghanistan, like Iraq, even if the terrorist attack was not happened in September, 11, 2001.

Joya become famous when she was elected in the Loya Jirga in 2003 and challenged powerful warlord and wanted them to be prosecuted in international criminal court which put her in danger and got many life treat from strong warlords. However, in Afghanistan where the majority of the people traumatized and frightened from decades of war and suppression, she gets a lot of support for her incredible courage. After an harsh speech in May 2007 she was expelled from the Afghan parliament by warlords where she was elected in 2005. Thousands demonstrated over and over again for her to be reinstated to the Parliament.

In Berlin Malalai Joya answers all questions in fluent English and said “although there is some improvement regarding women rights in big cities, generally women don’t have any rights. Even in the parliament women were beaten. The problem of the women is not the Burka. They need water, food, health care and above all education.” She said. It is fully understandable how much she fought for women when you look at her past. She returned from studying in Iran and Pakistan in 1998 to teach women and children secretly during the Taliban era where women were forbidden to go to school in Afghanistan which was an extremely dangerous work.

She speaks of herself only when it is asked directly. “Our people have been through so much shocking experiences that I believe somebody have to stand up and say that is enough. I don’t do any thing for myself.” She seem to be the only one who raises the voice of Afghans and also explains Germany bluntly that what it should be done in Afghanistan. The German soldiers did an excellent job helping construction works, probably we should not leave them but we have to change our policy toward reconstruction and help the Afghan people, Heike Hansel, development policy spokeswoman for the LEFT PARTY parliamentary group said. He added that from 660 million Euros spent on military efforts where just 88 million spent on development projects.

The Left collects fund for the health clinic runs by Joya and the money goes to the Organization of Promoting Afghan Women Capabilities (OPAWC). The account number of fears in party executive is, 0013225731 at the Berlin savings bank, bank code number 100 500 00, code-word is: Malalai Joya

Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya Speaking in Berlin on September 19, 2007