Ms. Malalai Joya Lecture

Ms. Malalai Joya
Elected Member, Afghanistan's National Assembly

will be addressing the Vancouver Institute on October 27, 2007 at 8:15 p.m., Lecture Hall No. 2 in the Woodward Instructional Resources Centre, University of British Columbia.


Warlords, Women's Rights and Foreign Troops:
An Afghan Experience

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(Bio not received yet—please see "Background" below.)

Background Information

(These references were compiled by the webmaster in the hope that they will prove interesting to some readers. The web being what it is, some of them will have vanished by the time you go to look them up, and there is—of course—no guarantee of their accuracy.)

Her web site
Includes audio and video clips.
Wikipedia entry
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.
  • "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 article includes links to many additional sources.
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 warlords."
    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 removed?
    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 target civilians.
  • 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 proceedings.”
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.” ...