Being a woman and speaking out against corruption in Afghanistan

Sat 3 Sept 2011
Tonight I heard a woman who inspired me by her courage and her persistence. I went to the Melbourne Writers Festival to hear Malalai Joya, an Afghan woman who was elected to parliament in 2005, and expelled in 2007 for criticising the presence people she described as warlords and war criminals in the Afghan parliament. She has survived four assassination attempts. This going to be a very rough and inadequate first draft of this blog entry, because I’m writing it straight after returning from listening to her speech, and I will need to Google a lot of the names and groups she mentioned, since I can’t speak Pashto and don’t know the correct spellings. Look forward to a better version as I Google and read her book “Raising My Voice”.
She claimed that a lot of the ‘foreign aid” being channelled into Afghanistan is ending up in the pockets of tribal warlord and not helping ordinary people. She spoke of gang rapes committed by groups in police uniforms. And who do you complain to? The courts are run by people who are interlinked with the same warlords and religious factions that commit crimes in the first place. She described families selling babies for $10 because they couldn’t feed them. Some in the Afghan parliament, she said, were puppets of Iran, including the Minister for Electricity and Water (I couldn’t get his name down as I couldn’t get the pronunciation).
She said that the US and NATO had “pushed us from the frying pan (the Taliban) into the fire (tribal warlords.)”
She had a lot to say about the Taliban being invited to join the Afghan government for the sake of “National Unity” – and she didn’t like it.
I’ll blog more on this as I read her book.
Her Wikipedia entry is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malalai_Joya
Her book is sold under two titles in English-speaking counties: “A Woman Among Warlords” in the US and Canada, and “Raising My Voice” in other English-speaking countries
More to follow as I read the book.

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