Interview: Undaunted, Undeterred, Afghan Activist Eludes Assassination, Fights On
“It really is a big problem just to be alive," said 35-year-old Afghan activist Malalai Joya.
By Tracy Lee, MINTPRESSNEWS, Feb 7, 2014
Female Afghan lawmaker, Malalai Joya, sits in a living room during an interview with The Associated Press in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, May 13, 2006. Malalai Joya, a female Afghan lawmaker who two years ago called powerful armed leaders “criminals” and who last week on parliament floor called some lawmakers warlords now moves houses every night because of an influx of death threats, she said. (AP Photo /Rodrigo Abd)
NEW YORK — She goes by Joya—a name used since the early days of the Taliban—and has survived seven assassination attempts. She knows her days are numbered but does not fear death. Traveling with a few armed bodyguards in Afghanistan’s underground of hideaway locations, she moves from safe house to safe house every few days so that she can continue her cause.
“It’s not easy as a human being. It really is a big problem just to be alive,” Joya said in a recent telephone interview with MintPress.
ملالی جویا در مرکز فرهنگی افغانها در برلین
کمیته دفاع از ملالی جویا، ۳۰ دسامبر ٢٠١٣
به تاریخ ۳۰ دسامبر ٢٠١٣، دوستان «مرکز فرهنگی و هماهنگی افغان ها» در شهر برلین آلمان برنامه اختصاصیای برای ملالی جویا تدارک دیده بودند. درین برنامه از هنرمند وطندوست و محبوب کشور شکیب مصدق نیز دعوت بعمل آمده بود که با آهنگ های میهنیاش محفل را شکوه بخشید.
آقای صبور زمانی رییس این مرکز برنامه را با طرح چند سوال از خانم جویا در مورد وضعیت سیاسی و اجتماعی کشور آغاز نمود. دهها تن از افغانهای مقیم آلمان درین برنامه شرکت نموده بودند که ضمن ابراز حمایت شان از ملالی جویا، پیرامون مسایل حاد افغانستان سوالات و نظرات شان را مطرح نمودند که ملالی به آنها پاسخ داد.
We Had One Enemy; Now We Have Three’—A Conversation With Malalai Joya of Afghanistan
US forces used the plight of Afghan women to justify war—but twelve years later, women are still suffering.
By Dani McClain, THE Nation., Nov.13, 2013
In 2003, Malalai Joya was the 25-year-old director of a clinic and orphanage in Afghanistan’s Farah province. She was not a scheduled speaker at a national convention on the post-invasion future of the country, but she took the mic anyway and delivered an electrifying address. Noting the warlords in attendance, she asked: “Why would you allow criminals to be present here?” Two years later, she became the youngest person elected to the Afghan Parliament. Two years after that, having refused to scale back her criticisms, she was booted from her post. An advocate for women’s rights, secularism and nonviolence, Joya argues that neither the warlords who kept her country in despair during the Soviet era nor members of the Taliban should be any part of its government today. In her 2009 memoir, A Woman Among Warlords, she writes of the dangers she’s faced as a result.
I spoke with Joya while she was on tour in the US to share her observations on the twelfth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. , This interview has been edited for clarity and condensed. —Dani McClain
Report of Malalai Joya's Tour of U.S. on Afghanistan War
By Jeff Mackler, United National Antiwar Coalition, Nov 2, 2013
Co-sponsored by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and the Afghan Women’s Mission (AWM), Afghanistan’s leading antiwar, social justice and women’s rights activist, Malalai Joya, toured ten U.S. cities and spoke at some 65 events in the course of her October 1 - 27, 2013 national tour.
The tour was organized to focus national attention on the ongoing U.S. war and occupation of Afghanistan, now beginning its 13th year – the longest war in U.S. history. Joya repeatedly called into question the U.S. assertion that U.S. participation would end in 2014, noting that nine permanent U.S. bases have been established, thousands of U.S. troops are set to remain along with tens of thousands of “personnel” in the U.S.-financed and “privatized” (mercenary) army. Joya demanded the immediate withdrawal of all U.S./NATO occupation forces from Afghanistan. She repeatedly insisted that, “No people can be liberated by foreign intervention. Freedom, justice and peace can only be achieved by our people themselves.”
Malalai Joya with Noam Chomsky
On October 6, 2013 in Boston, Malalai Joya and Noam Chomsky spoke to military interventions of the U.S. and its effects on different countries, especially now in Afghanistan. October 7 marks the 12th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, the longest war the U.S. has engaged in.
Malalai Joya tour marks longest U.S. war
BY JEFF MACKLER, Socialist Action, Oct 29, 2013
Noam Chomsky and Malalai Joya in Boston. By Rachel Williams.
Afghan women’s rights and antiwar fighter Malalai Joya toured the U.S. for three weeks in October on behalf of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and the Los Angeles-based Afghan Women’s Mission. Joya’s national tour included 10 cities: New York, Boston, Amherst, Albany, Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
The tour focused on mobilizing opposition to the continuing U.S. war and occupation in Afghanistan, now in its 13th year—the longest war in U.S. history—and on the plight of Afghan women.
A Woman Among Warlords: An Interview With Malalai Joya
By Suzanne Persard, Huffington Post, Oct 25, 2013
Most publications incorrectly report the number of assassination attempts Malalai Joya has received -- the number is seven, not six; and these are only the number of plots that have been counted.
In 2007, Joya, the youngest elected member to the Afghan parliament, was expelled from the government for her denunciation of incumbent corrupt warlords. The then 28-year-old Joya advocated for women's rights, spoke out against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and their locally installed puppets, while deeming the Taliban medieval. Death threats against her immediately erupted, followed by several unsuccessful assassination attempts by the Taliban.
Following her indefinite expulsion from a parliament she has likened to a "non-democratic mafia," Joya's unpopularity, which surged at home, spread like wildfire abroad. Applying for entry to the U.S. in 2011 to promote her newly released book, A Woman Among Warlords, while continuing to speak out against the U.S. occupation and its devastating impact on the Afghan people, the State Department denied her entry, citing "unemployment" and "living underground." Public rallying, including a petition of over 3,000 signatures -- including the signature of Noam Chomsky -- prompted the department to renege and her visa was granted.
A Woman’s Journey
By Tulip Chowdhury, The Daily Star, Oct 25, 2013
Malalai Joya, the political activist, writer and critic from Afghanistan visited Amherst, Massachusetts as part of her tour of the USA. Called “The bravest woman in Afghanistan” by BBC, she was a member of the parliament in the National Assembly of Afghanistan from 2005 to the early 2007. She was dismissed for speaking out against the warlords and people she considered as war criminals in the parliament.
She is a vehement opponent of the present Karzai administration and US military occupation. In her speech at Food For Thought Books, a workers collective in Amherst, on October 8, 2013 she slated the Karzai administration as a puppet government supported by western countries including the USA. Malalai raised her voice against the drone attacks in Afghanistan by the USA and death of innocent civilians. Speaking on behalf of oppressed Afghan women she presented a film on how the Afghan women and girls are tortured and deprived of justice in her country.
Malalai Joya, Famed Afghan Politician, Speaks at the University of Minnesota
By Erik Randall, University of Minnesota, Oct 18, 2013
On October 16, the University of Minnesota hosted a lunch, lecture, and conversation with the famed Afghan politician and ex-member of parliament Malalai Joya, who has inspired many both at home and around the world with her courageous political activism. She has been a trailblazer in Afghanistan for the causes of women's rights, political transparency, and democratic reform, and her outspoken opposition to the Afghan government's tolerance for terrorism and violence has led to her expulsion from the government as well as six assassination attempts.
The first and most enduring message raised by Joya during the conference was her passionate opposition to what she referred to as American imperialism and colonialism in her country. The vaguely-defined objectives of the US "War on Terror" has led to a prolonged period of chaos and destruction in the Islamic world with a seemingly endless amount of collateral damage, of which the civilian population of Afghanistan has been a primary constituent.
Malalai Joya Visits! Our Food For Thought Event and Our New Work Together!
Social Justice , Oct 22, 2013
Two weeks ago we were profoundly honored with a visit from Roots Activist Malalai Joya. For those who do not know her, Malalai is one of the most important Peace and Justice Activists working in Afghanistan today. She tirelessly resists the War and Occupation, attacks on Women’s Rights, violence, corruption and warlords who have been handed authority over townships and Communities in Afghanistan. As many know she has survived 7 assassination attempts not to mention a constant wave of aggression coming from those that she stands against. It would be easy to caricature her as fierce and fearless, a mythical Super heroine, after all , she is called the bravest Women in Afghanistan. That she is. However, Malalai Joya like so many Activists is more than just her Activism, she is a Mother, a member of her Family and Community, and a citizen of Afghanistan. She worries, faces many fears and feels the weight of a path that is chosen but very difficult. I feel very lucky and honored to call her a friend. She is profoundly kind, gracious, loving, likes to be silly, and yes she is fierce, strong, and profoundly effective at moving mountains. We spend a lot of time checking in about the challenges when I see her but also we laugh a lot. She amazes me. I feel exhausted from doing 5 events in a couple weeks while she speaks in a different state every night for months at a time. When she is at home she must stay in a different safe house every night because of the danger to her and to her Family. Can you imagine her concern for them? For her son?
Afghan activist to share her story in San Diego
By Lillian Cox, THE COAST NEWS, Oct 16, 2013
Malalai Joya, Afghan human rights activist and author of “A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice,” will speak at 7 p.m., Oct. 21 at the Al Awda Center in Carlsbad as part of her national, 11-city book tour. No charge for admission. Donations welcomed. Courtesy photo
CARLSBAD — Malalai Joya, one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, is winding up her national 11-city tour in San Diego this month. The author of “A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice” is scheduled to address crowds from Wellesley College and NYU to Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCSD.
Malalai Joya: “For my people, peace without justice is meaningless.”
By Kate Fisher, V-Day, Oct 16, 2013
On Saturday, October 5th, 200 people gathered together for a sold-out evening at the beautiful Deepak Homebase , located in the heart of Manhattan at ABC Carpet & Home. Women, men, and youth came from throughout the five boroughs and from as far away as Buffalo to see Afghan activist and author Malalai Joya in conversation with Eve Ensler.
The Cost of Courage: Malalai Joya’s Life-Risking Activism
By Sonali Kolhatkar, Truthdig, Oct 10, 2013
Contrary to her small stature, Afghan activist Malalai Joya is a towering figure among ordinary Afghans. At the tender age of 25, she openly challenged her country’s notorious U.S.-backed criminal warlords at the 2003 Constitutional Loya Jirga (popular assembly) in Kabul.
She thundered, “It is a mistake to test those already being tested. They should be taken to national and international court. Even if they are forgiven by our people, the bare-footed Afghan people, history will never forgive them,” before her microphone was abruptly cut off. Today, after a decade of narrowly escaping numerous assassination attempts as a result of that infamous public confrontation, she remains politically active underground and continues to call out the warlords. She also demands the U.S. government immediately end its war and occupation.
“The First Demand of My People Is Justice!” // Malalai Joya comes to Food for Thought Books
Art | Peace | Education, Oct 13, 2013
At the 2003 Loya Jirga Malalai Joya, the youngest woman elected to the Afghanistan Parliament delivered this speech denouncing the war criminals who pose as representatives for the people of Afghanistan.
She was thrown out of the Parliament and has since had seven assassination attempts on her life. She lives and organizes underground with her husband, ten month old baby, and an armed escort.
Malala Yusafzai, Malalai Joya, and “the preferably unheard” in America
Full Spectrum Cromulence , Oct 11, 2013
Two heroic activists, one household name. Malala Yusafzai (l) and Malalai Joya (r)
In 2012, the world was shocked when 15-year old Malala Yusafzai was shot in the head in an assassination attempt by the Pakistani Taliban. Yusafzai’s activism went global—she is the youngest Nobel prize nominee in history, and is currently discussing her memoir, I Am Malala, on America’s most prestigious outlets. Yusafzai is an astonishingly courageous person. However, there is a reason that we in the West hear from Yusafzai and not from other women around the Muslim world. Whose voice is amplified and whose is ignored supports a deeper narrative. As Arundhati Roy says, “There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’ There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” The fact that most Americans have heard of Malala Yusafzai but almost none have heard of Malalai Joya reveals the narratives that undergird Western imperialism in the Muslim world.
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- Malalai Joya in the First Middle East Women’s Conference in Turkey
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- A Woman Among Warlords: project of a documentary film on Afghanistan
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- The Bitter Reality of Afghanistan – with Malalai Joya
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- Joya’s story is an inspiring one
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- ملالی جویا: کشور من نیازمند خروج نیرو های خارجی است
- Give Afghans self-determination: Joya
- Marxism 2012: a report from an interested party