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Mar-29-2011 01:09printcomments

Former Afghan Parliament Member Malalai Joya Will Visit Willamette University

Joya is an outspoken critic of the Hamid Karzai administration and its western supporters.

Malalai Joya

(SALEM, Ore.) - UPDATE: This is the link to the coverage of this event: Click here.

Covering the war in Afghanistan in late 2006 and early 2007, I was shocked to discover how impacted these people were by the chain of deadly wars, including the current one.

Courtesy: RAWA

Americans should take every opportunity outside of mainstream news, to learn more about this dire conflict and their nation's role in it.

One person who can speak at length and with authority about the needs of Afghanistan, is a former member of the Afghan Parliament named Malalai Joya, who was named by Time Magazine as One of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World. The BBC dubbed her 'The Most Famous Woman in Afghanistan' which is no small thing.

This prominent Afghan feminist and war critic, will visit Willamette University on April 3 to speak about the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and its impact on the country's people. Her lecture is at 7:00 p.m. in Smith Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Regardless of what the politicians would like you to believe, Kabul is a portrait of impoverished devastation. One of the first things I noticed in Afghanistan's capitol city, were the buildings that were blown up and destroyed by U.S. forces in the beginning of the war.

Five years had passed and parts of this city were largely in ruins. I was taken aback by the poverty, the lack of food, and a long list of other terrible conditions that a country is left with after 30+ years of endless violence. A recent right wing trend circulating in America was that winning the hearts and minds of Afghan people is a waste of time. That kind of attitude, expected to some degree in a war started by a man like former Pres. George W. Bush, is exactly what it takes to kill the validity of a war such as this.

See Kabul's back alleys in this video shot in 2006

The most tragic part of Afghanistan surely is the plight of the children. Kids should never be so heavily deprived of the basic needs. They die very young, the death rate for infants is extremely high. Healthcare is marginal for all but the wealthy, and they are few and far between.

And while they struggle they also have a war taking place around them that is viewed as a war of occupation. Malalai Joya is clear about this; like so many she is tired of the death count and the horror stories that continue to emerge, involving U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

This is not a popular view among many in the U.S. and Joya was almost unable to come to the U.S. for her speaking tour, including her visit to Willamette, because her visa application was initially denied by the State Department.

People who wanted to hear her speak complained to the department and signed an online petition on her behalf. Joya's visa was granted last week.

Amazon.com

Joya, who is only 32-years old, was elected to Afghanistan's parliament in 2005. Having visited the country the following next two years, I can tell you that women in Afghanistan were, and still are, almost completely subjugated. In place like Kabul, you do see women who are not wearing a burqa, but it is very rare.

Don't believe anyone on FOX News telling you that life is all sunny for Afghan women since the arrival of U.S. forces; this is simply not true.

Unwilling to accept what she was witnessing in Afghanistan's government, Joya spoke out and was later suspended from the parliament, assaulted and threatened with death after publicly describing other members as war criminals.

She is an outspoken critic of the Hamid Karzai administration and its western supporters. So are almost all of our writers at Salem-News.com. I hope people will take a rare opportunity and support Joya's visit to Salem's Willamette University. She is touring the U.S. to promote her book, "A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice."

The event is sponsored by the The Lilly Project

Salem-News.com articles & reports about women and Afghanistan:

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Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club in Southern California.

Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 76 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Ted April 4, 2011 9:50 am (Pacific time)

Correction to the article: I visited Afghanistan in early 2002 and saw the ruins to which Tim refers. They were the ruins of the Afghan civil war, particulalrly the 1995 artillery and rocket duels during which the opposing forces of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Northern Alliance indiscriminately shelled the city. U.S. forces did not shell Kabul during the 2001 capture by Northern Alliance forces or at any time after that. If one needs independent verification of the 1995 shelling, read Ahmed Rashid's Taliban. I visited Kabul again in 2010 and found the city transformed. Poor, yes, even desperately so, but rebuilt.


Anonymous April 2, 2011 8:44 am (Pacific time)

Good for her! and good for salem-news to post the article.

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