The U.S. government denied a travel visa to Afghan women’s and democracy activist, Malalai Joya. In 2005, Joya became the youngest person ever elected to the Afghan parliament. She was suspended in 2007 for her denunciation of warlords and their cronies in government.
Joya had been planning a three-week U.S. tour to promote a new edition of her memoir.You can read Joya's "A Voice for a Crying Afghanistan" published on The Mantle here.
Below is the text of the speech Joya delivered to Left Forum via Skype:
Respected Friends of the Left Forum,
I would like to thank you all dear friends and supporters of Afghan people for inviting me to this forum, but I am sorry that I could not join this gathering because of visa refusal. A few years ago, the US puppet regime in Kabul imposed a ban on my travel abroad, but they could not stop me from spreading my message around the world against the war and for freedom and democracy in Afghanistan. Now the US government tries to stop me from entering the USA, but they can never block my voice to reach to great peace-loving people of the US. Technology provides the needed means so our message could cross borders without any need for visa. Now, no tyrant and undemocratic regimes can stop us from spreading the truth.
Many Afghan criminals not only get visa, but even citizenship and scholarships in the USA, so why I am regarded dangerous for the US government and blocked? Because I tear apart the mask of US government and try to show the real face of US regime and its brutal war in Afghanistan; I inform the US people what their policy-makers are actually doing in my crying Afghanistan under their name. I inform them that billions of tax-payer money is wasted to impose war on our poor people, and instead of our ordinary people, they are supporting infamous criminals and drug dealers in Afghanistan. I try to convince the US public that the ten years of war has pushed Afghanistan from frying pan into the fire. This is something the warmongers in the White House can’t bear, as they try hard to use their huge propaganda machine—the corporate media—to hide these bitter realities from your eyes.
I am targeted by both the US government and its Afghan lackeys, because unlike some other Afghan so-called intellectuals, they could not shut my mouth by dollar and high official posts. They could not stop me by any means from raising the agony voice of my suffering people.
Denial of visa to me has already outraged tens of thousands of Americans and my supporters. They get it as an example to better feel the realities about the true nature of their government, what I am trying to convey to the justice-loving people in the US through my book, speeches, and interviews.
Respected friends, while Western governments bomb us, I am happy that the great and peace-loving people of these countries stand in solidarity with us and raise their voice against the wrongdoings of their governments.
As a woman, I would like to start my talk about the disastrous situation of the women of my country.
There are many media hypes in the West about improving women’s conditions but the women of Afghanistan in many provinces do not even have a human life. Rapes, kidnappings, killings, self immolation, acid attacks, and domestic violence are increasing rapidly.
The Time cover story of Bibi Aisha is a clear example of misusing the plight of women as war propaganda. The headline asks “What happens if we leave Afghanistan?” but it should have read “What happens while we are in Afghanistan?”
Many people ask me how they should support women of Afghanistan. Firstly, war will never help women. Secondly, if we have the opportunity, Afghan women can liberate themselves and progressive Afghan men will help us. We must unite and fight for our own liberation. As long as these warlords are in power, there is no hope for any positive change.
During these nine years of occupation, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed by US/NATO and most of them are innocent children, women, and men.
When Obama took office, the first news to my people was more conflict and war. Unfortunately, Obama proved himself as a warmonger during these two years. To prove this fact, it was during Obama’s office that the civilian death toll increased by 24% and the drone attacks on Pakistan has taken many innocent lives too. Obama surged troops and the outcome is more innocent civilians’ massacres, violence, destruction, pain, and tragedies.
It seems that shedding blood of countless innocent people was not enough in Iraq and Afghanistan that Obama administration again used the UN as their umbrella to invade Libya under the same familiar false banners of “democracy” and “human rights.” While the US people are suffering as a result of the economic crisis and living conditions are getting worse, the Pentagon wages another brutal war which will only benefit the US corporate and billionaires to loot the oil and other riches of Libya. Obama raises hue and cry against Qaddafi’s regime and his crimes, while is supporting much more dirty Qaddafi’s and criminal regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and many other countries of the world.
The documents released by Wikileaks expose the treachery of the US government and proved what I have been saying about war in Afghanistan. The US/NATO forces have had many more massacres than we know about and they shamelessly decrease the number of civilian deaths and call them “insurgents.” That’s why more and more people protest against the US occupation and this increases with the passage of time. Now for my people Obama is a second and dangerous Bush.
Karzai’s puppet regime is full of corrupt warlords, drug lords, and criminals who have killed, tortured and looted our people for decades.
According to the mines minister, Afghanistan is sitting on around $3 trillion of mineral deposits but because it is the second most corrupt country in the world, the income of these mines would fill the pockets of the government officials and warlords.
In these nine years, they have changed Afghanistan into a centre of drug mafia. Since 2001, the production of opium increased over 4400%, and the US/NATO are engaged in this dirty business, which puts hundreds of billions of dollars into the pocket of Western institutions engaged in it.
US/NATO try to fool Afghans and their own people by saying they will start leaving Afghanistan by mid-2011, but on the other hand, the puppet regime of Karzai is speaking about permanent military bases in Afghanistan. We know that the US and its allies are there for their own strategic, economic and regional interests and will never leave Afghanistan that soon because it is the most important geopolitical point for them in the game of big powers in Asia. The plan for handing over responsibilities to Afghan army and police is just a trick to use Afghans as cannon fodder to decrease their own soldiers’ casualties.
They want to change Afghanistan into their military and intelligence base in Asia and I agree with Noam Chomsky who called the Baghdad Embassy “the huge city-within-a city.” This name suits the US Embassy in Kabul too, which is expanded every day.
Karzai’s regime wants to negotiate with Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar under the name of peace reconciliation where one terrorist group, like Northern Alliance, invites Taliban and Hekmatyar to share power; the outcome of this will be more bloody and tragic for my people, especially women. But it’s not of any importance for the US if a more corrupt, mafia-ridden and dirtier government than the current one comes to power and Afghanistan remains backward.
No one can believe that a superpower with a massive military machine and most advanced weaponry is really unable to defeat a small, medieval, and ignorant band of killers such as the Taliban. But in fact brutal Taliban are even being indirectly supported by the US government through Pakistan.
To deceive the world that the US puppet regime is a legitimate one, they held a show called “election,” which was full of fraud. Over the past nine years, the US and their allies made the warlords so powerful that they easily hijacked the election results. It was a selection, not an election. Most members of parliament are law breakers, drug-dealers—not law makers.
I think justice-loving people of the world will agree with me that democracy never comes by bombing innocent civilians, supporting a corrupt government, and empowering a bunch of brutal and dark-minded warlords. We don’t want such democracy, and if the Western powers continue to impose this kind of dictatorship under the name of democracy on our people, our people may have no option but to rise against occupation.
Right now, there are two kind of resistance going on in my country. One is the reactionary resistance of Taliban which the US has made a mountain out of a molehill, and another is resistance of ordinary Afghan people, both young and old, which is gaining momentum—I think it is a big hope for the future of our country.
I believe that the only solution to Afghanistan is that the troops should withdraw because their presence is making our fight for justice much harder by empowering reactionary, brutal, and dark-minded forces that are great obstacles for the true democratic elements.
Afghan people are squashed between three enemies: Taliban, fundamentalist warlords, and troops. If the foreign enemy leaves Afghan grounds, my people would face two internal enemies and it would be easier to fight against them. Some saythat Taliban may get back to power and a civil war will break out, but my people, despite being wounded, tired, and hopeless of all the wars, will fight steadfastly until the end against warlords and Taliban because of the hatred they have for them. The history bears witness that only the nations can liberate themselves.
So now I would like to ask all peace-loving, justice-seeking, and democratic organizations, groups, parties, and individuals to join hands with progressive and democratic-minded forces that need your support and solidarity. Therefore, my message to you is to empower my people educationally, because education is a key towards emancipation.
I have a lot more to share with you about Afghan catastrophe; the US governments jokes with my nation, but I had to cut many parts of my speech when I could not deliver it in person.
Heartfelt thanks for your solidarity and support which gives me strength and puts extra obligations on my shoulders to fight for justice and democracy. I vow not to be silent for a moment.
Malalai JoyaAfghanistan, Left Forum 2011, Malalai Joya