Malalai Joya – Afghanistan

She is one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Linkd with our two presentations Malalai Joya’s Historical Speech in the Loya Jirga, and The Hamoon Health Center in Afghanistan.

Malalai Joya, one of the prominent winners in Afghanistan’s landmark parliamentary elections, is an outspoken critic of the country’s warlords.

She says:”Women in Afghanistan are in exigent need of peace. I believe that once peace is achieved, they can get their full rights.” And: “I hope by being a member of parliament I will be able to serve my people, especially the women. I will do my best to stop the warlords and criminals from building any laws that will jeopardise the rights of Afghan people, especially the women.”

Malalai Joya – Afghanistan

She works for the Hamoon Health Center. And she heads the non-governmental group, “Organisation of Promoting Afghan Women’s Capabilities” (OPAWC).

She is married to a Kabul-based student of agriculture and has six sisters and three brothers.

In September 2005 Malalai Joya ran for election to the 249-seat Afghan National Assembly as a representative of Farah Province and won the second highest number of votes in that province. In a recent profile the BBC called her, “the most famous woman in Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan is becoming more dangerous with each passing year. In fact, 2005 was the bloodiest year since the fall of the Taliban, with 91 US soldiers, and 1,600 civilians killed. There have also been dozens of suicide bombings in recent months – a phenomenon never before seen in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s military and political institutions are dominated by local and regional warlords and drug lords. Instead of being disqualified from running, many warlords won seats in the Parliament through elections which were wracked by intimidation, fraud, and poor attendance.

According to Malalai Joya, her task as an elected representative is: “exposing the real nature of the current parliament and informing the Afghan people from within the Parliament that the criminals … make laws for the benefit of the rich, the drug traffickers, warlords, and high level bureaucrats.”

Today Malalai Joya is one Afghanistan’s most popular elected leaders. At age 27, she is also one of the youngest. She first rose to international prominence in 2003 when she openly denounced the warlords at a gathering to adopt the Constitution. Since then she has received numerous death threats and survived four assassination attempts.

Malalai Joya is named after “Malalai of Maiwand” – one of Afghanistan’s greatest heroines, who ran onto the battlefield at Maiwand in 1880 and rallied the Afghan forces to defeat the British. (Read more on Afghan Women Mission).

The 27-year-old women’s literacy and health worker will take her seat in the 249-seat National Assembly, or Wolesi Jirga, representing the remote province of Farah.

Ms Joya, daughter of a former medical student who was wounded fighting the Soviets, rose to prominence for denouncing warlords at a constitutional forum two years ago.

She received a number of death threats after interrupting the loya jirga (grand council) with her criticism of the mujahideen, fighters who fought against the Soviet Union and then among themselves.

Ms Joya told the constitutional convention the mujahideen were responsible for Afghanistan’s civil war which only ended when the Taleban seized power in 1996.

Ms Joya continued to press her case against the former rulers of Afghanistan – last year she, together with a delegation of 50 tribal elders, persuaded President Hamid Karzai to dismiss a provincial governor who was a former Taleban commander.

She has survived at least four assassination attempts since her speech at the constitutional convention. According to reports, Ms Joya employs armed guards and travels incognito.

“I know that if not today, then probably tomorrow, I will be physically annihilated,” Ms Joya told the BBC World Service’s Outlook programme.

“But the voice of protest will continue, because it is the voice of the people of my country.”

Ms Joya has said she is used to intimidation after being threatened “again and again” by the Taleban when she started her work in the country in 1998 after returning from Pakistan and Iran where her family had emigrated during the civil war. (Read the rest on BBCnews).

Malalai Joya (25) was born in Farah. She had her early schooling in Iran and Pakistan. After the Bonn Peace Accord of 2001 and the toppling of the Taliban regime, she returned to her hometown and started to work as a social worker and women’s rights activist. She has helped to establish the Hamoon Health Center to provide free medical treatment and medicines for children and unwaged women. She advocates women’s rights and human rights issues through meetings and the distribution of leaflets. She has also worked with the disabled, providing wheelchairs and prosthesis. (See on 1000peacewomen).

From March 6 to March 24 the Afghan Parliamentarian, Malalai Joya made a information tour through the USA, from Los Angeles to New York, with 19 different events.

links:

Afghan Women Mission;

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