Malalai Joya has been called the bravest woman in Afghanistan. (I suspect that may be an understatement.) She has repeatedly risked her life to speak out about the violence and poverty brought on by years of occupation and corruption.
In November, she will speak to audiences across Canada about why we must end the war and let the Afghan people decide their own future. This is a message that all Canadians need to hear, especially those who have bought the lie that we’re there for humanitarian purposes.
The Canadian Peace Alliance is co-ordinating the national tour, with local peace groups pitching in across the land. For details, go here.
Peace Alliance Winnipeg is hosting Ms. Joya’s visit to Winnipeg:
Date: Monday, November 16, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Convocation Hall (located in Wesley Hall, see map), University of Winnipeg
Malalai Joya, 31, is Afghanistan’s youngest member of parliament. She is internationally respected for openly challenging the US/NATO occupation, warlords, and the Taliban.
She spent her childhood in refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan, and returned to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, where she worked for underground organizations helping women. At a constitutional assembly in Kabul in 2003, she stood up and denounced her country’s powerful NATO-backed warlords. She was twenty-five years old.
She was elected to parliament in 2005 but was suspended in 2007 for criticizing government corruption.
Despite numerous threats and four assassination attempts, Joya actively campaigns at home and abroad for human rights and an end to the war. Her new book, A Woman Among Warlords: The extraordinary story of an Afghan who dared to raise her voice, is a must read for anyone who wants to understand Afghanistan.
Why Malalai Joya’s visit is important
A majority of Canadians oppose Canada’s military intervention in Afghanistan, but a large number of folks who aren’t normally blood-thirsty militarists and who really ought to know better have bought into the lie that Canadians are there to save Afghan women and children from the bloodthirsty Taliban. For that reason, they support “the mission” and ignore General Hillier’s description of the Canadian Armed Forces, namely: “We’re not the public service of Canada. We’re not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people. ”
Malalai Joya’s visit will provide our well meaning crusaders with an important perspective — that of a young Afghan leader who has stood up to the Taliban and Karzai’s warlord regime and concluded that there is nothing important that differentiates one from the other. Moreover, she’s concluded that the US/NATO war is making matters worse.
She wants our troops out — and she is far from alone in that sentiment. This is a message that Canadians need to hear.
I have no doubt that the meetings will be well attended, but we need to do our part to make sure that Joya’s message isn’t only heard by her supporters.
So, please spread the word, far and wide.