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Friends: Malalai Joya and Tal Haran

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Young woman like Malalai Joya can daily confront so powerful enemies

Toni Álvarez, Catalunya, September 2010
Translated from Catalan by Maria Romano


It is well known that women have been, again and again, the main figures in the armed conflicts that have occurred in the course of modern history (a well as in not so modern history).

Most of the times, women have been triple victims, as mothers, partners or just by themselves. Sometimes, they have also been decisive opponents to the wars that were slaughtering them.

Unfortunately, a false gender equality regarding women’s rights has caused that many women take part in military operations, thus questioning the feminine innate anti-warmongering.

This time I want to talk to you about two friends that have recently been in Tarragona, explaining us their fights against war. The first of them is a woman who was awarded last June by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, because of her persistent resistance to the Afghan war lords and the NATO forces in Afghanistan, entities which are not that different from each other in practice.

It is hard to believe that a small young woman like Malalai Joya can daily confront so powerful enemies. And she does using her words and her attitude as an arm. This arm must be, at least, a bit painful for them, because they have tried to kill her five times. And still some people think of anti-militarists as naive.

June 23, 2010, Spanish daily El Mundo awards Yo Dona International award of (premio a la Labor Humanitaria) to Malalai in Madrid

El Mundo gave the award to Malalai Joya in order to publicly acknowledge her political work. However, a set of ideological incoherencies made that Esperanza Aguirre, the right-wing member of the Spanish political opposition, gave the prize to Malalai and emphasized in a speech the experience of this “Afghan politician who fights for freedom and against oppression”.

As you can imagine, the award ceremony was a chance to organise a party and invite the most influential political and bourgeois sectors of the Spanish society. Nothing unexpected can happen in those kind of parties, so the organisers asked Malalai Joya to attend the ceremony dressed up smartly. Malalai has said several times that wearing a hijab in Afghanistan allows her to develop her political activity discreetly and relatively quiet. And she went to the party in the way that all anti-militarists would have liked to attend: wearing a T-shirt with the message “No to NATO”.

There is a photograph that remains for the newspapers libraries and for our anti-militarist memory, showing Malalai Joya and Esperanza Aguirre, together for a moment. The first one is proud; the second one seems to be aloof. Both of them are smartly dressed up.

The other friend of us who recently came to Tarragona is Tal Haran. She fights to break down the Israeli walls, and she usually says that the invisible anti-militarist strings unite the thoughts and the action of millions of people around the world.

These invisible strings create a net that, sometimes, becomes visible and reminds us to carry on weaving it and remembering.

We are lucky to have Malalai and Tal, our non-invisible friends.