Malalai Joya wraps up her cross-Canada book tour in Ottawa Friday. Her tour started two weeks ago in Vancouver with a launch attended by about 1000 people at Saint Andrew's Wesley Church. Having travelled on the first half of the cross-Canada trip -- I co-wrote the book, A Woman Among Warlords, with her -- I can testify to the great response she has received at packed meetings against the war in city after city. The success of her tour bodes well for the anti-war movement in Canada, especially at this moment where the Harper government is mired in scandal over its complicity in the torture of Afghans.
Over the past 15 days, Joya has spoken to big crowds in Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg, Toronto, Halifax, Montreal and Ottawa. On Nov. 25 she addressed 1000 delegates in Toronto at the Ontario Federation of Labour convention. Today she will speak to the Canadian Federation of Students' national gathering. In Halifax, she was able to participate in a protest outside the International 'Security' Conference which featured John McCain and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, along with our own Minister of War, Peter MacKay. rabble.ca was one of the sponsors of this cross-Canada speaking tour.
The media coverage has been very significant. GlobalTV BC, CTV News Channel, CTV Canada AM and CBC News Network have all featured live interviews; a story in the Ottawa Citizen was syndicated in many of the CanWest papers. The Globe and Mail ran a feature interview. The National Post ran a feature story with a headline that summed up Joya's timely message: 'Leave my country: Afghanistan's bravest woman spearheads anti-war movement.' In Ottawa, she confirmed that, for Afghans, Richard Colvin's revelations about torture are "an open secret."
The anti-war movement certainly has a lot of work ahead, especially with Obama's announcement of a major escalation of the war forthcoming. Joya has been a spearhead, but also an inspiration with her energy, courage and determination to struggle, in the face of mortal danger, for peace and justice in her wartorn country.
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