What Others say about Malalai Joya?
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Women for Afghan Women (Flushing, New York), December 19, 2003

We applaud Malalai Joya, the outspoken delegate who had the courage to raise the crucial question at the outset: why has the Loya Jirga selected as committee chairmen "those criminals who have brought these disasters for the Afghan people." Rather than determining Afghanistan's constitution, she believes "they should be taken to the world court."

While Ms. Joya was ultimately allowed to remain as a delegate despite the eruption from male delegates and despite Chairman Mojadeddi's order to throw her out, she now requires the protection of the UN because of threats to her life from the floor of the assembly. It is clear that women's views will not be tolerated when they challenge the entrenched power of the Mujahidin.

Katha Pollitt, "Subject to Debate", The Nation, December 24, 2003

Afghan women set the gold standard for courage with major conferences in Kandahar and Kabul to push for women's rights in the new constitution. At the loya jirga, 25-year-old delegate Malalai Joya electrified the world when she accused the mujahedeen who control the assembly of destroying the country in the early 1990s.

The safety of female Loya Jirga participants is in danger!
Women's network of Stockholm, January 1, 2004

The interim government established after United States´ attack on Afghanistan can not, in practice, protect its people. Backed by the international society, it is instead devoting its time to horse-trading with fundamentalist groups, such as Mujahedin Islami, Jihad Islami, Jimiyat Islami, among others. These groups have been involved in violent fights with each other for many years, which has caused great suffering among the civilian population.

On the 15th of December, 2003, 502 delegates gathered in Kabul to participate in Loya Jirga, where Afghanistan's new constitution shall be passed. The majority of the representatives has been chosen by the Afghan population, and 50 delegates have been appointed by the President himself. Already at an early stage, international supervisors warned that local warlords would try to deter the popularly elected representatives from participating in Loya Jirga. Despite the prevailing threatening picture, the delegates gathered and the discussions began.

In order to facilitate the work, the representatives were divided into ten groups. According to a proposal from the chairman of Loya Jirga, Mojadedi in Dari, a mullah was to lead the work in each of the groups. One of the youngest female participants, Malalay Joya, opposed this proposal and meant that several of these fundamentalist leaders are war criminals who should be put on trial instead of exerting influences on the formulation of the new constitution. After having expressed her views, Malalay Joya was excluded from the convention at the request of the chairman. At the same time, other delegates uttered death threats against her, and she was accused of being, among other things, a communist and an atheist. Several delegates did however express their support for the young woman. For example, 40 female delegates turned to the chairman and demanded that Malalai should participate in Loya Jirga during the remainder of the time. Thanks to the appeal of these women and to international pressure, Malalai Joya was again admitted into the convention. She is however protected by staff from the UN, and, for safety reasons, she is not staying with the other delegates during the remainder of Loya Jirga.

This is only one example of how criticism put against the fundamentalists´ powers by strong men and women in Afghanistan is being suppressed.

Women's network supports these courageous Afghans that are fighting for the rights of every man and woman, despite an energetic resistance. We encourage everyone to take action in order to prevent them from being set aside by conservative powers.

More information: www.geocities.com/malalaijoya

Maryam Aslami, Kabul

When Malalai Joya who is an ELECTED (not appointed) delegate from the Farah Province was allowed 3 minutes. She gave the most bravest speech and never name-called anyone but only said that "all these war criminals here should be punished in courts. Why are they designated chairmen of the 50 committees discussing the constitution." Can anyone disagree if there are any war criminals in Afghanistan? If we are not prosecuting them, then are we so fake to allow them participate in the constitution Loya Jirga and government.

The fact that Ustad Sayyaf took the charges personally and stepped up to the Microphone is not Malalai jan's fault. It is the fault of his guilty conscious and all the people who shouted in his support.

How can Professor Mujaddedi who was appointed by President Karzai to the Loya Jirga expel an elected delegate Malalai Joya who did not violate the procedure of the assembly just give a lively and heartfelt speech that shook the bones of Afghans even the calm and cool Ustad Sayaf.

From the communiqué of the Afghan Women Association in Southern California, Dec.22, 2003

In these days where the fate builder meeting of the Afghan nation i.e. Loya Jirga continues in Kabul in a male dominated and fanatic environment, unfortunately unpleasant reports of ill mannerism are being heard which bears a great deal of grief and even despair. Especially the insulting conduct of the head of Loya Jirga reflected in world media further depressed us. A daring and courageous sister, who deserved a respectful consideration of her statements with wise and rational reasons, was the target of this conduct.

Afghan Women Association in Southern California which admires our respected sister Malalai Joya as a national hero and steadfastly defends the rights of Afghan women, is hopeful that Mr. Sibghatullah Mujadadi will certainly reconsider his behavior against the Ms Joya and as an aged and knowledgeable person will reject a personal view of someone whom he doesn't appreciate with rational reasons and in complete cold blood.

The events of the meeting where Malalai Joya was threatened may ignite some feelings, which may result in endangering the life of this sacrificing and spirited lady in Afghanistan, therefore the Afghan Women Association in Southern California sternly asks the Interim Government of Afghanistan, the United States of America, the United Nations and the Human Rights institutions and expects all of them to assist in providing security in saving the life of this bold lady whom we introduce to the world as a patriotic and heroic combatant.

Wahid-u-llah - Norway
Round Table, Dari section of Radio Voice of America, Dec.22, 2003

I just wanted to tell my sisters in Loya Jirga that as far as I follow the events of Loya Jirga I think they act very passively. I don't know if the environment of Loya Jirga doesn't permit them or they themselves are sort of scared from what happened to sister Malalai Joya. I followed one of the interviews of sister Joya half an hour back where she spoke with bravery. Her speech was so daring that not only women but even we men were inspired by her. The lady who now spoke from the US, I think, well they do work, but I heard sister Joya talking about the clinics they have in Farah, I think one must help those women who really work for the betterment of our people and nation.

Zuhra Yousuf Daud, member Afghan Women Association based in Southern California
Round Table, Dari section of Radio Voice of America, Dec.22, 2003

I believe what Ms Malalai Joya did was an extraordinarily heroic act and I can call her a real fighter. When we get together in a national gathering for a national cause, and discuss it, I think all participants, both male and female reserve the right to express their pains and agonies, and the main point in democracy is freedom of expression, and if we fail in securing freedom of expression in this situation, I m dead sure we wont be able to implement any of the constitutional articles in future.

This is a fact that infightings continued in Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996 and in such a way, where some people were involved in bloodshed of Afghan nation, and they must be tried. And when a courageous Afghan woman rises and speaks the truth, unfortunately the head of Loya Jirga, Mr. Mujadidi, criticizes her rudely and puts her microphone off. And others condemn her with slogans of Allah-u-Akbar (God is Great), which I believe is very sad. This is the time to defend women's rights. Afghan women have struggled and suffered a lot throughout history, and today when they speak with courage, people at least must have the stamina to give an ear to them, and if reject rational reasons must be given.. The head of Loya Jirga must stay calm and not only condemning her was wrong, but sounds like as discussed that women don't have the right to raise their voice, for instance they are told not to equate themselves with men, and that it is said in Quran that two women are equal to one man. I think this is not rational. We defend Malalai Joya by all means.

Taimoor - Germany
Round Table, Dari section of Radio Voice of America, Dec.22, 2003

First of all as a member of Afghan community, I declare my 100% support to what Ms Malalai Joya said. All she said are the pains of the people of Afghanistan. She is really very brave. And those who want to grasp power once again with the help of foreign masters must know that the people of Afghanistan are not sick and tired of wars, brother killing, and tired from being puppets of Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. They want to establish an independent government for themselves. We defend Malalai Joya.

A young boy from Kabul
Interview with Persian section of Radio BBC (Dec. 18, 2003)

On behalf of myself and free minded people and all those who want to have a stable Afghanistan, a prosperous and advanced Afghanistan, I express my gratitude and esteem to the only brave Afghan woman and the only courageous Afghan woman, Malalai Joya that really could unfold the realities in the public gathering. Because she could tell the realities in the presence of those who drew Afghanistan into destruction. The Afghan people remember their past; they forced the people to migration, made them homelessness and now are sitting at presidency seats.

A woman from Syed Khail district
Interview with Persian section of Radio BBC (Dec. 19, 2003)

I am from Jabal Siraj district, have come from Syed Khail. Yesterday I heard the speech of Malali jan in Loya Jirga. We faced that oppression and tyranny; we have seen a lot the tyranny Malalai jan was talking about. I got to bus early at 8 O'clock in the morning, searched Sarayi Shamali area and finally could find BBC office at 2:00 in the afternoon, came here to express my sayings so that you should convey them to others that why women's rights are being abused; why our Afghanistan is being deceived; why a woman is being expelled; why they should do it; they don't have the right to encage a woman and expel her; even her expel is tolerable that should beat her. Thousands people from Syed Khail made me their representative; collected my transportation fare, gave it to me and send me to BBC office and I came here. How long that warlordism will last. Free the people from this oppression and tyranny; replace the darkness with brightness.

A man from Kabul City
Interview with Persian section of Radio BBC (Dec. 19, 2003)

Being as a father to this woman; having the age of her father; I praise her, she enlivened the memory of Malalai [of Maivand war] in the mind of Afghanistan people that this country has such Malalais.

A girl from Kabul City
Interview with Persian section of Radio BBC (Dec. 19, 2003)

I study in computer and English course with 40-50 students. We all agree with Malalai and our message to Malalai is that you are not alone; we are all with you. We wanted to hold a rally in front of that tent of Loya Jirga to protest why they condemned Malalai so much; on what, what she did say wrong?

A man from Kabul City
Interview with Persian section of Radio BBC (Dec. 19, 2003)

It was nice to hear such words from her; we were extremely excited, delighted that we have such women in our society, such heroes who dare to speak out and defend their homeland.

A girl from Kabul
Interview with Persian section of Radio BBC (Dec. 19, 2003)

And when she talked about traitors, she didn't mention the Jehadies but they thought so. She should never feel to be alone, we are all with her.

A girl from Kabul
Interview with Persian section of Radio BBC (Dec. 19, 2003)

When we are talking about democracy, when the environment is democratic, no body has the right to insult the others in such manner. And doesn't allow her to speak while he himself speaks and then calls it Islam; we have tolerance, we accept. It is true you did forgive but whom you did. You tortured and suffered those people who tasted the pain and tyranny. And I say that Miss Joya said very less in this regard.

Fareed, California, USA

I commend her on the speech. It's about time someone speaks against these corrupt people who ruined Afghanistan. May God give her more power and sucess.

Durkhanai Ranzooryar, Canada

Malalai is a symbol of bravery and a role model for other oppressed women around the world who are mentally paralyzed to give their opinions or defend their rights.Power is in truth and may more of us speak it out to fight the evil! May Allah bless Malalai and give her and others who represent the barefooted, hungry and weak people of our dear Afghanistan more strength to follow the right but hard path of fighting the evil powers.

Amir Kamiab, Iran

It is great. It is appreciable to speak especially for our girls. We should say what we need, what do we want to request. It is not enough to shout only.

Syed Asif Mahboub, Kabul, Afghanistan

I fully support Malali on what she raised in Loya Jerga. Malali was speaking the voice of her generation who were burnt by the evil flames of those tryant and felons (worse than a dragon). However, I would say that it was not the right time and the right place to mention this. Once the consistitution is in place, any criminals or the WAR will face the music. Even if they try to aovid it. History will not forget and our barefooted orphans and widows not forgive them!!!!

Erika Goff, USA

Malalai was very brave to speak the truth at the Loya Jirga and to not allow anyone to intimidate her into apologizing or into being silent since then. She has had some very interesting ideas (for instance, making the national anthem of Afghanistan a multilingual poem for unity), and I hope that her suggestions are being given the consideration they deserve. I wish her continued success in her work at the Loya Jirga and in Farah province!

Ashraf Pass Yosofi, California USA

I am proud to have such a brave and patriotic lady as Malalai Joya as an Afghan. She definitely rekindles the bravery of the great Afghan national hero(Malalai). I believe Ms. Joya's heroic statment at the Loya Jerga, is not only a national obligation of every conscience Afghan but also it is a national responsibilty at this turning point in the history of our nation.

M. Hamid Saboory, Kabul, Afghanistan

I would like to thank her being so brave. She demonstrated once again that we still have women can remind as of our Malalai of Maiwand battle. Of course, those she spoke about were the ones who fought against the red Army but what they have done to our country right after coming to power, I even cant imagine to remember them. only some one who really lived in Afghanistan during the civil war can really understand her and as I also lived during the civil war and Taliban regime so I can really understand her and I want to tell her that she is not the only Afghan who hates them. The whole nation and every single Afghan with a bright conscience condemn their acts and would urge the international society to help Afghans and provide them with justice. I want to pass my support to her and tell her they are not important anymore for Afghans and Afghanistan but what is really important form now on is that we have to keep our new generation which we well surely need in the future and its the point for all of us. All the best and long life Afghanistan.

Elham Shaheen, Kabul, Afghanistan

The voice of Malalai is the voice of all silent Afghans who live under pressures of those people that have done crimes against women, against humanity, and still have power. In this moment, brave woman like Malalai Joya gave hope, for all who were silent, and broke the fear. The international comunity has to bring the criminals to the justice and not let them come back to power.

Shila Samemi, member of Afghan Women Gathering - Kabul

We completely have the same opinion as Malalai Joya. Puppets, Mujaheddin and Taliban have criminals in their ranks. Those who have committed crimes should be trialed. Their hands are stained with the blood of our people. Now our people have the courage to express their views unlike the past. But there are still people who use gun to silence the voice of people, unfortunately the chairman of Loya Jirga was unable to control the proceedings and asked security personals to help. After the short speech of Malalai Joya a limited number of members rushed towards the table of chairman and attacked Malalai with their words.

Is this the right of woman, is this democracy, and is this what we call Human Rights. Islam gives no one the right to insult or threat a woman. I have complain regarding women setting in Loya Jirga, they haven't defended Miss. Joya, although there is a doubt that majority of them have taken money and forced to come here by lord words. Among women perhaps limited number are the real representative of our people who are defending the rights of their depressed and painful sisters. We should clearly say that our people will not be deceived anymore. We are among those women who want to bring up the realities. We will not accept anymore the slogans in defense of women rights. The people chanting these slogans should prove it with their actions that how they are serving and defending women rights.

Amina, one of the staff of Jamhoriat Hospital- Kabul

In meetings and conferences such things can happen, but there is no doubt in current Loya Jirga democratic values are not observed even if someone talks in the boundaries of this democratic conditions, she/he faces threats. In the current situation that still factional fighting is going on I don't think someone will get the chance to tell the reality.

Miss. Malalai Joya hasn't gone too far from telling the reality. She thought there is a democratic atmosphere in the Loya Jirga and didn't close her eyes on the facts but she didn't know there is the rule of dictatorship instead of democracy. Everything Malalai said was nothing but just facts and I truly support her. She shouldn't have been insulted in such a way and should have been given the title of "Malalai the second". There was no need of threats given by Mr. Mujaddedi, if he wanted to force Malalai out of the Jirga then he should have taken the same decision regarding Hafeez Mansoor and kick him out of the Jirga too.

Arifa- Kabul

We can't believe this incident will going to happen in Loya Jirga and one of our sisters will be threatened. I hadn't expected those women taking part in Loya Jirga to be silent and not stand in support of Joya. Indeed they left Malalai alone; her voice is the only cry of the Afghan women. The speech given by Joya targeted those people who played years and years with the destiny of this country. There was no reason for

Mr. Mujaddidi to react in that way. He told the reporters that I took such decision to stop any action against her in the council but I will say any action which might happen was not an unintentional action but much deliberate and planned.

I say why Mr. Mujaddedi didn't react in this way against a person who insulted someone by naming him? Why no one said anything to him? It looks like our sister has no support on her back and the other person had lots of gunmen to support him.

This lady hasn't named anyone and neither directly targeted anyone. We will accept a real democracy only when there will be freedom of speech.

Mohsin- Sweden
Talking in round table conference from voice of America, 22nd Dec 2003

I will support the speech given by Malalai Joya on the fourth day of Loya Jirga. There is no doubt she is a very brave lady to have said all that. My question regarding this issue is why Mr.Siaf thought her words are striking him and chanted slogans against communism and infidelity at a time when Miss. Joya hasn't named anyone from Mujaheddin?. My second question is when Mr.Siaf and the Chairman of Loya Jirga called her infidel and wanted to kick her out of the council, for instance if someone tells the facts to the people can we name it infidelity? And if it is Infidelity, my question is that Mr. Siaf said they have committed crime against those leaders who are interpreters of Koran then those who went to Mukkah and swear by god that they will take the country out of all miseries but continued the same crimes against the humanity, so have they committed infidelity or Malalai Joya?

Dr. Daadfar Spanta, Political Science lecturer in Achen University, Germany
“Andesha-e-Rooz” program of Radio BBC in Persian, 18th Dec 2003

Enough is enough! And it was proven on the fourth day of Loya Jirga. A bold female elected representative from Farah Province raised her voice against the presence of criminals in Loya Jirga. Although she didn’t name anyone from Mujahideen but I wonder why the Jihadi leaders got annoyed and began firing their accusations against her.

A common Afghan phrase, “Thief has a feather in his hat“. It is one of the wonders of today’s world that the chairmen of Loya Jirga who hasn’t been selected by the people wants to kick out the elected representative of people from the council and when faces the reactions of other members -as he named it- argues with that lady. Whatever reaction was shown today against the people of Farah is nothing else but just the continuation of policies by the Mujaheddin leaders from 1992 to1996 in Kabul and else where in Afghanistan. The main difference is that today there is presence of international forces in the country and if the situation got out of control, for sure, they will reply this upper hand aristocracy with gun. With all this, today the accusation and not giving-ear-to policy of those who looted the achievements of the resistance movement and Jihad of the people of Afghanistan has been exposed once again. The convulsive meeting with arguments and excuses and continuation of worlordism in a way with making commissions inside the Loya Jirga presented a new policy. A policy which was initiated in Bonn Conference and has vowed to fight warlordism aided by warlords; Talibanization with the help of Taliban ideology and the shameful tribalism with the assistance of evident tribalism. The draft of new constitution and the forces which are trying to approve it by making alliance with each other shows that the security which the people of Afghanistan, international and Afghan intellectual community is persuading will never come true with these methods and expressions.

The history of all nations that were in chains of terror, oppression and aggression shows that there will be always those who will rise and say “No, not in our name”. The cry of young rebellious elected lady in front of those who don’t like any other voice but their own, is the voice of residents of the burned deserts of Sistan, cry of graveyard residents of Kabul and is the voice of a generation of innocent Afghans. Afghan women have suffered the most during the last years, and that is why they courageously rise and rocket-down walls of compromise.

Sounds like history repeats itself in this country. The forerunner of the freedom lovers of Afghanistan, freedom-fighter Aman-u-llah Khan was accused and forced to leave. The lady knight from Farah was accused and apparently forgiven. His crown was presented to a bandit and now one must see who will be presented with the life of this beloved lady.


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