Ms. Malalai Joya Lecture
Ms. Malalai Joya
Elected Member, Afghanistan's National Assembly
will be addressing the
Vancouver Institute on
October 27, 2007 at
Lecture Hall No. 2 in the
Woodward Instructional Resources Centre,
University of British Columbia.
Warlords, Women's Rights and Foreign Troops:
An Afghan Experience
(Bio not received yet—please see "Background" below.)
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Her web site
Includes audio and video clips.
Malalai Joya (Pashto:ملالی جویا) (born April 25,
1979) is a controversial Afghan politician. A member of the
Afghan Parliament, she has been both celebrated by many as an
advocate for women's rights and publicly denounced by some fellow
politicians for her criticism of those she considers "warlords"
and "drug-lords" in the current Afghanistan government.
The article includes links to many additional sources.
"Never again will I whisper in the shadows of
intimidation. I am but a symbol of my people's struggle
and a servant to their cause. And if I were to be killed
for what I believe in, then let my blood be the beacon
for emancipation and my words a revolutionary paradigm
for generations to come."
"They will kill me but they will not kill my voice,
because it will be the voice of all Afghan women. You can
cut the flower, but you cannot stop the coming of spring."
The Dominion article, September 2006
Afghanistan's youngest and arguably most famous member
of parliament began an address to McGill students last
week by saying that she was "deeply impressed with the
sympathy expressed by Canadians" for the situation of
the Afghan people.
The kind words for Canada's involvement, however, ended there.
Joya's message to Canadians was unmistakable for its
repetition: "Canada must have its own policies in
Afghanistan, and stop supporting fundamentalist
Canada, said Joya, must "prove that it is a friend of the
Afghan people." To do that, it must "act independently
of US war policies," she said, adding that, "as long
as Canada cannot act independently of the Pentagon,"
it will be inevitable that Canadian troops will die.
PBS Interview, March 2007
This week, NOW interviewed Malalai Joya to learn how she's been
faring in her parliamentary position and get her thoughts on
Afghanistan's struggle toward democracy.
NOW: Have you made any progress in your hopes of having the warlords
It seems that the U.S. government and its allies want to
rely on them and install them to the most important posts
in the executive, legislation and judicial bodies. Today
the whole country is in their hands and they can do
anything using their power, money and guns. They grab
billions of dollars from foreign aid, drugs and precious
stones smuggling. ...
You were elected as a delegate to the Wolesi Jirga,
or National Assembly, in 2005. How has it been working
day-to-day in the parliament since then?
The Afghan parliament is the most disgusting and corrupt
parliament in the world. Over 85 percent of the MPs
[Members of Parliament] are those who should first of
all appear in the court for their crimes against our
people. They are trying to use this body for their own
interests and benefits. Most of the time the warlords
present are arguing to increase the benefits given
to MPs. They are bargaining for their salaries to be
increased, but they have no intention or willingness to
work on laws for the betterment of Afghan people. ...
NOW: Do you believe that the NATO troops in Afghanistan
are helping to improve security?
The U.S. is not concerned with the main cause behind
terrorism in Afghanistan. That is why our people don't
consider the U.S. as the "liberator" of our country. Even
they have killed thousands of our innocent civilians
during its so-called "war on terror" and continue to
NOW: You traveled to America to talk about women's
rights in Afghanistan. What was your impression of the
United States and Americans?
I felt that, unlike the U.S. government, its people are
kind and caring and have great sympathy with Afghan
women and try to help. I was very much impressed by
their show of solidarity and support.
I also found that the media plays a very negative role
in the U.S. and keep people in the dark about the events
going on in other parts of the world and especially in
Afghanistan. Most of the facts and realities I was talking
about, were quite new to them. They had a completely
different and bright picture of events in Afghanistan.
Human Rights Watch article
(New York, May 23, 2007) – The Afghan parliament should
immediately reinstate Malalai Joya, a member suspended for
criticizing colleagues, and revise parliamentary procedures that
restrict freedom of speech, Human Rights Watch said today.
On May 21, 2007, the Lower House of the Afghan parliament voted
to suspend Joya for comments she made during a television
interview the previous day. It is unclear whether Joya’s
suspension will run until the current parliamentary session ends
in several weeks or whether she will be suspended for the
remainder of her term in office, which ends in 2009. In addition
to her suspension from parliament, several legislators have said
that Joya could be sued for contempt in a court of law.
“Malalai Joya is a staunch defender of human rights and a
powerful voice for Afghan women, and she shouldn’t have been
suspended from parliament,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at
Human Rights Watch. “Joya’s comments don’t warrant the
punishment she received and they certainly don’t warrant court
Joya had criticized the parliament for failing to accomplish
enough for the Afghan people, saying, “A stable or a zoo is
better [than the legislature], at least there you have a donkey
that carries a load and a cow that provides milk. This parliament
is worse than a stable or a zoo.” ...