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Conference by Malalai Joya: Montreal, 24 November
The Collectif Échec à la guerre and the Fédération des femmes du Québec invite you to former Afghan MP Malalai Joya’s conference in Montreal:
TUESDAY 24 November, at 7 pm in UQÀM’s Marie-Gérin-Lajoie auditorium (metro Berri-UQÀM)
as part of her current tour in the US and in Canada to mark the publication of her memoirs s A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Speak Out (
In the aftermath of Afghanistan’s presidential elections, marred with massive fraud, corruption and collusion with the country’s warlords, this conference by Malalai Joya, which has been called « the bravest woman in Afghanistan » by the BBC, could not be more timely. As early as 2003, at a constitutional assembly in Kabul, she stood up and denounced her country’s powerful NATO-backed warlords. Two years later, she became the elected representative from the poor province of Farah in the Afghan Parliament:
« In 2005, I was the youngest person elected to the new Afghan parliament. Women like me, running for office, were held up as an example of how the war in Afghanistan had liberated women,” writes Joya, an outspoken critic of the Karzai government and NATO occupation. “But this democracy was a facade, and the so-called liberation a big lie. »
In 2007, she was suspended from Parliament for her persistent criticism of the warlords and drug barons and their cronies… who were sharing Parliament seats with her! An illegitimate suspension which she is still challenging. She has survived four assassination attempts to date.
Often compared to Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Malalai Joya has emerged as a symbol of Afghans’ desire for freedom from corruption, warlordism and foreign occupation. Her father, who lost a leg fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, named her after a 19th century hero in the fight against the British Empire, Malalai of Maiwand.
Her book tells the story of her life in the context of three decades of war. Joya details her reasons for opposing NATO’s war and suggests concrete steps for building an independent and genuinely democratic Afghanistan. And she hopes her book will « correct the tremendous amount of misinformation being spread about Afghanistan »:
« Afghans are sometimes represented in the media as a backward people, nothing more than terrorists, criminals and henchmen. This false image is extremely dangerous for the future of both my country and the West. The truth is that Afghans are brave and freedom loving people with a rich culture and a proud history. We are capable of defending our independence, governing ourselves and determining our own future. »
Malalai Joya’s conference tour in the US and Canada takes place as president Obama is about to announce an increase in US troops in Afghanistan and as the Harper government is musing about extending Canadian involvement in the war in Afghanistan beyond July 2011.
Her conference in Montreal and the discussions we will have with her will be a key moment of information sharing and reflection as we prepare for the People’s Summit Against War and Militarism (19-21 March, 2010) and for the actions of the World March of Women 2010 that will be launched this coming March 8th.
An event not to be missed! To be shared with your colleagues, parents and friends.
for the Collectif Échec à la guerre, Raymond Legault
for the Fédération des femmes du Québec, Alexa Conradi