NOTE: location details below
|Noam Chomsky and Malalai Joya at Memorial Church|
March 26 - In two jam-packed appearances this weekend, Afghan feminist leader Malalai Joya reached at least 1500 people with her denunciations of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. She spoke with Professor Noam Chomsky to 1200 people at Harvard's Memorial Church Friday night and to 300 in Jamaica Plain this afternoon. The Harvard event was the largest single Boston area event focused on opposing the Afghanistan war since the war's start almost ten years ago.
The U.S. State Department initially denied Joya a visa, even though her publisher, Simon & Schuster, and antiwar groups had lined up a three week speaking tour with dozens of speaking engagements coast to coast. After letters from at least a dozen Members of Congress, the American Civil Liberties Union, American Association of University Professors, and PEN, as well as 3000 online petition signatures and a phone-in day to the State Department last Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy relented and granted Joya a visa.
Joya said that the Administration did not want to give her a visa because her message exposes the lies that justify the U.S. war in Afghanistan. She told her audiences that after 10 years of U.S. occupation and "development aid", Afghanistan ranks next to last among all countries on the UN Human Development Index, and that the conditions of Afghan women have not improved.
Warlords and drug lords dominate Parliament and the Karzai government, Joya said, while U.S. troops kill civilians and rain destruction from the air. Afghan women and democratic people are caught between three enemies: the misogynist Taliban, the fundamentalist and misogynist warlords and Karzai regime, and the U.S. occupation forces. If the U.S. occcupation forces leave her country, Joya said that it will be easier, because Afghans will only have two enemies to fight, instead of three.