“If I should die, and you should choose to carry on my work, you are welcome to visit my grave. Pour some water on it and shout three times. I want to hear your voice.”
If you’re under stress, or having a bad day, I hope things improve—or you can wrap your mind, positively, around whatever the problems are, and even let them go, or at least get them in perspective.
I am not the best at these sorts of things.
Either way, this woman from Afghanistan—Malalai Joya—can put one’s own dilemmas in perspective in an inspiring yet utterly humbling heartbeat. And she’s so worth knowing about.
Joya is symbolic of those eternal groups of freedom-seeking people all over the world, who are never or rarely given voice in geopolitical confrontations where the deepest truths are systematically obfuscated by Power and Relentless Interests—from within or without.
Although as Joya says: “You can’t eat symbolism.”
I don’t know all of her political views (she speaks out against the Taliban and the war lords and drug lords, saying they are the same in their oppressive makeup), but she is courage incarnate, relentlessly speaking out for human rights and against the corruption and oppression in Afghanistan and from outside Afghanistan.
It must be remembered, in my opinion, that even one as remarkably courageous as Malalai can’t speak out or make change without significant solidarity. Fighting the Powers-that-be, Joya is protected in secret safe-houses, applauded privately and sometimes publicly in Afghanistan, similarly supported and backed by other Afghanis, men and women, who are also profoundly courageous. So it goes for perhaps all great voices that we know of, and the movements with which they are recognized. Solidarity, community, a belief in human rights, vital—but gathering across even differing views for bigger causes is perhaps the most vital for change.
Joya’s stance here is unequivocal:
“I realised women’s rights had been sold out completely…Most people in the West have been led to believe that the intolerance and brutality towards women in Afghanistan began with the Taliban regime. But this is a lie. Many of the worst atrocities were committed by the fundamentalist mujahedin during the civil war between 1992 and 1996. They introduced the laws oppressing women followed by the Taliban—and now they were marching back to power, backed by the United States. They immediately went back to their old habit of using rape to punish their enemies and reward their fighters.”
Here’s the speech that first brought her to international attention.
For a quick read about Malalai, here is the Defense Committee for Malalai Joya, press here for an excerpt from her book (on the RAWA site), and here for the bio. And here’s a very recent interview on Democracy Now.
May your day be full of inspired efforts and good will, and lots of love,