Malalai Joya: Brave women of Kurdistan a source of inspiration

The united and organized struggle of the brave women of Kurdistan, against the ISIS brutes and dictator regime of Erdogan is a source of hope and inspiration.

Malalai Joya is an Afghani activist, writer and former politician. She served as a deputy in the Afghani parliament from 2005 until early 2007. She has publicly denounced the presence of warlords and known war criminals in the Parliament. Which lead to her suspension in May 2007. 

Protests and appeals for her reinstatement have been signed by high-profile writers, intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky as well as politicians. Malalai Joya was recently in Italy and she spoke to ANF about the situation in Afghanistan. 

She had warm words for Kurdish women, who, she said, “are a source of hope and inspiration”. 

First of all can you draw us a picture of Afghanistan today?

After the 9/11 tragedy, the US and NATO occupied our country under the name of “democracy”, “women rights” and “human rights”, and replaced the barbaric Taliban regime with fundamentalist warlords who are the brethren-in-creed of the Taliban and fought a civil war from 1992 to 1996 destroying Kabul into ashes and killing over 70,000 civilians. The government was also composed of western-bred technocrats who in exchange for Dollars and power, compromised with these medieval-minded warlords.

After over a decade of “war on terror” by the US and NATO, and spending over $100 billion, sadly, our country still lingers of top of the indexes of war, poverty, unemployment, drug-production and addiction, corruption, illiteracy, maternal and infant mortality, unhappiness and others. The foreign occupation has only added to our problems.

Today, bombs, suicide blasts, drone attacks, public executions, rape and gang rape, abduction, and other tragedies threaten the life of our people every second. People don’t feel safe anywhere, inside or outside their homes and terrorists are more powerful today.

In this picture is there any opposition to the warlords who seem to have more power than ever?

For decades, the progressive forces and individuals in Afghanistan have struggled and resisted fundamentalism and foreign occupation. These figures and movements are hope for the future of Afghanistan as they have always raised their strong voice for justice and peace, against criminals and traitors, despite facing risks of imprisonment, torture and death. Although they are under threat and week now, but their slogans and objectives are that of common Afghans. A progressive party in Afghanistan named Solidarity Party of Afghanistan, is run by brave youngsters. It is a secular and democratic party strongly supported by people.

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan(RAWA)is a women’s organization which is active by underground. Their leader, Meena, was assassinated by fundamentalists.

My message to justice loving people of the world has always been to support them as I believe they are the only alternative for a bright future of Afghanistan. 

How is the situation of women in Afghanistan today?

After over 16 years of the so-called “liberation of Afghan Women” by the US and NATO, sadly, Afghan women are still the prime victims of the disastrous situation. The condition of Afghan women is as catastrophic as it was during the ignorant and misogynist regime of Taliban. You may have heard the shocking killing of the 27-year-old Farkhunda, who was savagely beaten up to death by a bunch of ignorant gangsters and her body was burnt publicly just a few kilometers from the presidential palace. The killing showed that the big claims of the US and western governments, media and their Afghan puppets about women rights in the country are just big lies for justifying the ongoing war and occupation.

Unfortunately, we witness killings, rape, stoning to death, cutting of ears and noses, public beating and flogging of women, prosecution for “moral crimes” by the government, drug addiction, forced and child marriages, acid attacks on girls, domestic violence, attack on schoolgirls or their poisoning, and others. Yet there is no prosecution for the perpetrators of these barbaric acts because the fundamentalists and traitors in power are equally misogynist. And the animalistic misogyny of the savage Taliban and other lackeys of Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are well known to everyone.

The only difference of the post-Taliban era in my country is that now there are a handful of women in the government, parliament, and the so-called Civil Society who serve as showpieces for western propaganda in proving the “liberation of Afghan Women” to the world. Most of these women do not represent our ill-fated women, rather they represent the savage warlords in power whose only purpose is serving their foreign masters to gain Dollars. Women rights has no importance for them as they are part of the problem.

You opened the way to empowering women, how would you say women react to your attempt. How do they organize?

I received strong support from women of different generations, especially families who have been victims of the four decades of war. My message to the women of my country has always been that the key to the freedom of women is in gaining awareness and organization; that women have to break the chains on their hands and feet and minds, and unite to attain their rights like the brave Kurdish women whose struggle is epic. The efforts to organize women whose sufferings are tenfold is an extremely difficult task. These women suffer from illiteracy, lack of consciousness, and are bound by countless other painful forms of oppression in the male-chauvinist, feudal society. The first step to organizing these women is education and awareness, political and social and engaging them in the economic sectors. Unfortunately, our women are very far from attaining these basic requirements and organizing into a powerful, unstoppable force. This however does not mean that it is impossible or far from reality. If we believe that change is inevitable, we also have to believe that change comes from the revolutionary struggle of the people, especially women. This cannot and does not happen without successful organization.

There is much talk about the need for a global women organization, a network which would be able to be active whenever something happens in one or another country. Do you feel we are getting there? In other words, do you feel there is enough solidarity and concrete support from women organizations around the world to the problems and issues Afghan women are dealing with? Do you feel women in parliaments in other countries, for example, are doing what they should as to support Afghan women (or Middle East women)?.... Which brings me to a more personal question: Do you feel alone? 

I strongly believe in international solidarity of men and women around the world and expect them to join their hands with the oppressed people of Afghanistan especially progressive forces and individuals. I never felt myself alone in this important struggle. Fortunately, the wonderful people of many countries around the world have not left me alone, and their strong support always gives me more hope and determination. On behalf of my people, I have received the support of peace loving, antiwar, secular, leftist, feminist organizations and figures from different countries of the world.

That said, women of the world still have to build this important network and we are quiet short of getting there. Most of the women of the western world are brainwashed by the vast propaganda of their dishonest media, which steers them away from the reality of our country, and so they don’t stand by the suffering and struggling Afghan women. There are very few organizations who have not turned a blind eye to the pain of Afghan women and support them in different ways. We have to remember that international solidarity shortens the long distance of the struggle to attain different goals.

It is worth mentioning that the networking of international NGOs and bodies like the UN has been futile in improving the situation of Afghan women for several reasons. While they raise slogans for the literacy and empowerment of women, their projects and aims are short-term and in the line of the strategic interests of their donor countries like the US, UK, France, Germany naturally they don’t resolve the root cause of the disastrous situation. These bodies are against political struggle which is the answer to the problems of Afghan women. There is no democracy, freedom, and progress without women gaining consciousness and fighting for their rights politically, so they can change the situation of the country in their favor.

People are trying to organize themselves, perhaps the best example of this is lived today in Northern Syria, were Kurds are implementing, together with the other identities in the region, a new model, called Democratic Autonomy. Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel? 

Yes, there is always light and hope, no matter how dark and long the tunnel. It is my belief, and history has shown, that oppression cannot prevail forever, there will always be revolutionary struggle by the masses that will break the back of oppressors, no matter how mighty and powerful they are. Today, the proof of this, and a source of hope and inspiration is the united and organized struggle of the brave men and women of Kurdistan, against the ISIS brutes and dictator regime of Erdogan. There are similar struggles everywhere in the world, such as Latin America, India, Iran and others.

Can you tell us a little about your personal situation? How do you live?

My life is still difficult as I continue my struggle. I still cannot live with my family and son because I change houses frequently. I cannot travel freely, despite the need to do such. I also cannot participate in activities like protests and interviews all the time, to raise my voice, which is my entire purpose. Despite all this, I feel that my life would lose meaning without my struggle, and these difficulties are a speck on the path I am on.