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Book Review: “Raising My Voice” by Malalai Joya

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Malalai Joya’s book is rich in detail of the conditions under which the poor and disenfranchised sections of the people live.

By Mike, ServeThePeople Blog, September 21, 2009

The military leaders of US imperialism are currently pressuring the Obama Administration and its allies, including Australia, to increase troop strength in Afghanistan.

Australian version of

This demand must be vigorously resisted and all foreign troops in Afghanistan withdrawn immediately.

Why? The answer is in the recently-published autobiography of Malalai Joya, a courageous and fiercely independent woman who toured Australia a couple of months ago.

Standing on a platform that espouses an end to foreign occupation of her country, and a secular democracy with full rights for women, Malalai Joya was elected to represent the men and women of her home province of Farah in western Afghanistan in that country’s parliament.

She was illegally stripped of her right to represent her electorate following her outspoken criticism and exposure of the fundamentalists and warlords who sit in the parliament and collaborate with US imperialism. “... war criminals wear the mask of democracy and sit in our Parliament where they are free to pass an amnesty bill to ensure they will never be brought to justice”, she writes on p. 240.

Joya spares no time on President Hamid Karzai, accusing him of weeping crocodile tears when she details to him the suffering of the people, yet working with warlords, fundamentalists and opium lords like his own brother Wali Karzai to prolong their suffering and to betray the women of Afghanistan in particular,

Indeed the corrupt electoral process that allowed warlords and criminals to bribe and intimidate their way into the parliament has been further exposed with confirmed widespread ballot-rigging in the recent Presidential elections.

The Afghan government is simply a corrupt dictatorship full of women-hating Islamic fundamentalists who differ from the Taliban only in that they are prepared to serve as puppets for US imperialism.

Victim of US bombs in Bala Bluk of Farah Province in Afghanistan

(This child was bombed by the US imperialists in Bala Baluk village of Malalai Joya's home province of Farah. On 5th May 2009, the US airstrikes targeted people’s homes, killing more than 150, mostly women and children. This is another war crime but Pentagon shamelessly includes Taliban as the perpetrators too and announces the civilian deaths being only 12!)

And what does Malalai Joya see as the real purpose behind the so-called “war on terror”? She clearly believes that “its real purpose is for the United States and its allies to establish permanent bases to serve their strategic aims…They would like to stay in Afghanistan forever, so they can keep military bases and a presence in the region…to counteract China’s influence in particular. The superpower would prefer to keep the situation unstable so they can stay indefinitely and use and occupy our country as part of a big chess game” (p. 237-8).

In addition to strategic geo-political considerations, control of resources and the routes along which they flow are cited: “Central Asia is also very rich in oil and natural gas resources. One of the reasons that NATO wants to stay in Afghanistan is to ensure the West has better access to these riches…The West does not want these resources flowing through Iran or Russia” (p. 238).

Malalai Joya’s book is rich in detail of the conditions under which the poor and disenfranchised sections of the people live. It also shows the extraordinary lengths to which Joya herself must go to outwit the assassins who have tried a number of times to kill her.

In the final pages of the book, she calls upon the international community to end the war; to send real humanitarian aid; to demand an end to the rule of the warlords; and to withdraw all foreign troops. She acknowledges that there will still be years of fighting after foreign troops leave, but maintains that only the people of a given country can secure their own independence and freedom. Their power, she says, “is like the power of God” (p. 104).

(For further information, see the links to the Malalai Joya Defence Committee and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan in the column to the right.)