Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Anna Politkovskaya Award of 2008

The Nation has the address Afghan social activist and ("suspended") member of parliament Malalai Joya gave on receiving RAW in WAR(Reach all Women in War)'s second annual Anna Politkovskaya Award.

My own life and hardships speak for themselves about the obstacles Afghan women face today. I've been threatened with death; I've survived a number of assassination attempts; and every effort is made by the fundamentalists to silence me. But I am happy to enjoy support of the peace-loving people of the world. I am especially grateful to Reach All Women in War (RAW in WAR) for considering me for the Anna Politkovskaya Award of 2008.
. . . .
Seven years after the US invasion of Afghanistan, our devastated country is still chained to the fundamentalist warlords and the Taliban; the country is like an unconscious body breathing its last.

The US government and its allies exploited the plight of Afghan women to legitimate its so-called "war on terror" and attack on Afghanistan. The medieval and brutal regime of the Taliban was toppled, but instead of relying on Afghan people, the United States and its allies pushed us from the frying pan to the fire and brought the infamous criminals of the "Northern Alliance" into power--sworn enemies of democracy and human rights, who are as dark-minded, evil, anti-women and cruel as the Taliban.

Only few months ago, US National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell told the Senate Armed Services Committee that 70 percent of Afghanistan is lawless. The Afghan government has control of only 30 percent of the country, and where the Taliban and local warlords hold power, there is no rule of law.

Our nation is still living under the shadow of war, crimes and brutalities of the fundamentalists, and women are the primary and silent sacrifice of this situation. Justice doesn't exist in Afghanistan. Every sector of life in Afghanistan today is a tragedy, from women's rights to security, law and order and domination of a drug mafia.

Women suffer especially. The rates of self-immolation and suicide due to domestic violence and poverty, of forced marriages and violence against women are higher than ever. In the first six months of 2008, forty-seven cases of self-immolation among women were reported in a single hospital in the western city of Herat. Reports come every day of gang rapes of young girls, especially in the northern portion of Afghanistan, where pro-US warlords have full power and a free hand. But the rapists are not prosecuted. Last month President Hamid Karzai ordered the release of two men who were sentenced to eighteen years in prison for raping and killing a girl.

Read the rest of her address here.

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