“The First Demand of My People Is Justice!” // Malalai Joya comes to Food for Thought Books

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.

As part of an international tour marking the 12th anniversary of the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan Malalai Joya stopped at Food for Thought Books on Tuesday to share some of her experiences since 2003, why the US presence in Afghanistan is only making things worse, and what we can do to support the freedom fighters and justice seekers of Afghanistan.

Malalai Joya with body guards who were hospitalized after an attack on her life.
Malalai Joya with body guards who were hospitalized after an assassination attempt.

The Taliban

The presence of US troops in Afghanistan has only helped strengthen the terrorism of the Taliban. The US and NATO have shown with their gruesome torture and mutilation of the Afghan people that they are not interested in actually helping to rebuild the country at all. This terrorism gives some credibility to the Taliban’s lies that they are also trying to rebuild the country and the collapsed social infrastructure has left a void in leadership that the Taliban was quick to fill. Many members of Parliament in Afghanistan are known warlords and members of the Taliban.

Men and pro-Taliban women now make up a majority of the Parliament and Government offices in Afghanistan.
Men and pro-Taliban women now make up a majority of the Parliament and Government offices in Afghanistan.

Opium
“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that the Taliban may have earned as much as $700 million from the poppy crop in 2011. Nearly 900 tons of opium and 375 tons of heroin are trafficked from Afghanistan every year.
(Afghanistan’s Opium Plague, Vice)

According to reports one million people (8% of the population of Afghanistan) are now addicted to opium. (vice.com)
The US Government has a massive role in funding the Opium trade which makes them millions of dollars a year and leaves more Afghanis addicted to heroin or dead. US military trucks will come under the guise of delivering food to the troops and smuggle out opium.

Since 12 years of war has ravaged the country many poor farmers start growing poppy opium as it is often the only resource left to them for survival.

In 2001 after 9/11 Bush invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of destroying Al-Qaeda and capturing Osama bin Ladin to hold him accountable for the collapse of the twin towers. Except. Osama bin Ladin stated that he was not responsible for 9/11.
No matter, the U.S. was at war. Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction and Afghanistan needed to be liberated from Terrorism.
12 years into it and it’s not looking like anyone has an exit strategy. In fact, the U.S. military is currently building 9 new bases in Afghanistan. They run about $34 Million dollars per base.

JOYA 2


$ $ $ $

The US spends $4 billion a month in Afghanistan.
With the current government shut down that’s forcing veterans off of their benefits, leaving people in the US starving and cutting off fuel assistance, it’s easy to imagine better places that money could be going to re-build communities in America.

So what do we do?

“The only solution is withdrawal of troops as soon as possible. No nation can donate liberation to another nation. Let the people of Afghanistan breathe and control their own destiny. They will create the bright future of Afghanistan.”

“When Imperialism and Fundamentalism join hands […] we must fight back!”
-Malalai Joya

                                                                                                           TAKE ACTION!

BOOKS
Organize a reading group in your community. Read and discuss these books about the history of Afghanistan and share the information with other members of your community who may not know the truth about Afghanistan.
(The underlined books can be purchased at Food for Thought Books in Amherst)
Devil’s Game – Robert Dreyfuss
Bleeding Afghanistan – Sonali Kolhadhkar
A Woman Among Warlords – Malalai Joya
I is for Infidel – Kathy Gannon

Film
A Woman Among Warlords
IndieGoGo campaign to fund a documentary about the people of Afghanistan, send them some dollar bills!

Rad, Revolutionary People of Afghanistan

The Little Black Fish – Samed Behranghi
http://www.iranchamber.com/literature/sbehrangi/works/the_little_black_fish.php

 

The event was sponsored by Roots to Resistance, the United National Anti-War Coalition and the Afghan Women’s Mission.

For more photos from Malalai’s talk at Food for Thought Books: (flickr.com/drvonskillet)
Video: (youtube.com/OrangeInk)

Peace&Solidarity!
Vanessa
@drvonskillet

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