Today is the two-year anniversary of Malalai Joya's suspension from the Afghan National Assembly. Here is a statement marking the occasion by Friends of Malalai Joya -- Canada. Today's anniversary coincides with Codepink's National Media Day of Action on Afghanistan in the U.S. (rabble has been following the Joya story throughout, and we will keep you posted on the PMO's response ... it's been all tumbleweeds so far.)
If you want to help remind politicians of this milestone in Canada's 'exporting democracy,' the Canadian Peace Alliance has a page of resources and contact information.
Friends of Malalai Joya -- Canada
On May 21, 2007, Malalai Joya – the young MP dubbed “the bravest woman in Afghanistan” by the BBC – was unjustly suspended from the Afghan National Assembly. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Afghanistan on that day and, two years later, has still yet to make any statement about Joya’s mistreatment.
“Canada’s participation in this war in Afghanistan has been justified with rhetoric about women’s rights, yet Harper and the Conservatives remained silent when Malalai Joya was ousted from her elected position and again did nothing meaningful when Karzai signed the anti-women provision which sanctioned rape in marriage,” said Parvin Ashrafi, a women’s rights activist with the Iranian Centre for Peace, Freedom and Social Justice and a member of Friends of Malalai Joya -- Canada.
Joya, 31, who has survived at least four assassination attempts in recent years, continues to protest her suspension form Parliament and speak out against the NATO war and criticize both the western-backed warlords and the Taliban.
Last week, Joya released a statement condemning recent deadly NATO air strikes in her home province of Farah and denouncing plans to expand the war, “We ask for an end to the occupation of Afghanistan and a stop to such tragic war crimes.”
Malalai Joya has received broad international support calling for her reinstatement and protection from women’s rights activists, intellectuals and political leaders from a number of countries.
Libby Davies, NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver-East, reiterated her support for Joya’s case. "The Harper Government claims they are supporting women's rights and democracy in Afghanistan. Why, then, have they been so silent on MP Malalai Joya's undemocractic two-year suspension from the Parliament of Afghanistan, where she has been a staunch advocate for equality and democracy," said Davies.
While Joya has been suspended and lives under threat of assassination, the Afghan government and National Assembly is full of notorious warlords. The Inter-Parliamentary Union, bringing together elected officials from 135 countries, has noted, “…the discrepancy that while the remarks made by Ms. Joya have led to a serious punishment, her treatment by some fellow parliamentarians that she has publicly denounced has reportedly not drawn any response from Parliament.”
Opposition MPs in Canada and elected officials in Germany, Italy, the UK, Spain and beyond have protested Joya’s expulsion. After two years, Harper and the Conservatives’ silence around her case speaks volumes about the sincerity of their commitment to women’s rights and genuine democracy in Afghanistan.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.