War on Terror

Afghan Women Speak Out Against U.S. Occupation

| by Code Pink

The women
of Afghanistan, after eight years of occupation, offer conflicting
advice, depending on their position in society. If the women are in
Kabul, are educated and affluent, and have family members in office or
are part of the government, they sometimes say, “our safety is in
danger if U.S. troops leave." If the women are in the countryside (and
90% are) they say, “get the troops out now. Our rights, our freedoms,
our safety have not improved in eight years of occupation — and the
occupation fuels the insurgency.” In this complex war-torn nation,
both opinions are valid. But according to MP Dr. Roshnak Wardak, all
women in Afghanistan still lack basic rights except on paper, and all
women in Afghanistan live in an ever-escalating war zone.
As another brutal winter approaches, the humanitarian crisis of
Afghanistan worsens—people resort to eating grass and they shiver in
canvas tents.

During October, RAWA (the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan)
sponsored a speaking tour of the U.S. RAWA is the oldest women’s
organization in Afghanistan, founded in 1977 to work for women’s rights
and education, and is a very credible source. Their members risk
personal safety and dedicate their lives to improving conditions for
all Afghan women; many have been assassinated, included RAWA’s founder,
Meena.

Zoya is a RAWA member whose parents were killed by extremists in
Afghanistan when she was in her teens. She honors her mother’s work for
women’s rights by continuing in her footsteps. Education of women,
often in refugee camps and orphanages, has produced a generation of
women like Zoya who are able in turn to educate us about conditions in
their country. On an October 25 conference call, Zoya said, “It’s the
same now as RAWA was saying eight years ago. It is impossible to import
democracy. Democracy must be achieved by the people. Thousand of troops
and billions of dollars have not achieved any positive change.
Democracy cannot be practiced in a country ruled by warlords and drug
lords.” She has seen the U.S. supporting the war criminals of the
Northern Alliance against the Taliban, but “the Northern Alliance are
also terrorists, and so they are happy with the presence of the
Taliban. They may even be helping to arm the Taliban. We are tired of
this deception.” She added more on this topic during a speech at Boston’s Oct 17 antiwar rally in Copley Square.

Zoya thanked antiwar activists for speaking out and supporting
self-determination for Afghanistan. She said she has met many Americans
who are not aware of the true situation because “the media misled
them.” Her call? “Educate! Organize! Expose the truth of the
occupation!”

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Malalai Joya is an Afghan woman who rocketed to fame when she was
ejected from Afghanistan’s constitutional assembly in 2003, silenced
for complaining that there were war criminals among her fellow
delegates. She was later elected to Parliament and then thrown out in
2005 for making the same statement. On tour in the U.S. during October,
in an interview with Laura Flanders on GritTV,
Malalai had this advice for antiwar Americans: “First you should raise
your voice very strongly against occupation in Afghanistan, against the
war crimes of your government. Support the democratic kind of people in
my country…morally support them, financially support them, and support
education. And, why not put Bush in the International Criminal Court?”

Both Zoya and Malalai must live in safe houses and move frequently,
as their truth-telling has resulted in death threats against them. Yet
asked what she fears, Malalai said: “I don’t fear death. I fear
political silence against injustice.” And from her website Malaijoya.com
this statement, echoes fears raised during the rise of fascism in 20th
century Europe: “The silence of good people is worse than the actions
of bad people.”

In January, 1980 during the first month of what would be a decade of
Soviet occupation, an Afghan man in Kabul told me fiercely: “As long as
there is ONE Afghan still alive, the Russians will NEVER rule our
country!” Empires that have failed to subdue Afghanistan include the
Macedonians under Alexander, the Safavid Persians, the Romans, the
British, the Russians, and now, the U.S. Although our robotic killer
drones strike wedding parties and funerals, crossing into Pakistan
freely, the insurgency grows. We are creating terrorists faster than
we can kill them. But maybe that’s the real goal?

Speak up and expose the so-called war on terror for what it really is: a marketing strategy for corporate profits.

Call on your government to ground the drones and bring the troops home now!