Afghan MP Malalai Joya to Speak in Ottawa on Thursday

Media Advisory
November 23, 2009

Ottawa – In the midst of an emerging torture scandal and growing opposition to the war in Afghanistan, outspoken Afghan MP Malalai Joya’s cross-Canada speaking
tour will culminate in Ottawa this week. She will speak at a press conference and public forum in Ottawa on Thursday.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has documented nearly 400 cases of torture in Afghanistan since 2001, 47 of which occurred in Kandahar,
where Canadian troops are stationed. According to Joya, “It is an open secret that this happens. The Canadian government is still supporting this.”

Press conference with Malalai Joya
WHEN: 9am, Thursday, November 26, 2009
WHERE: Charles Lynch Room, 130-S Centre Block, Parliament Hill

A Woman Among Warlords, public forum with Malalai Joya
WHEN: 7pm, Thursday, November 26, 2009
WHERE: Centretown United Church, 507 Bank Street

“In 2005, I was the youngest person elected to the new Afghan parliament. Women like me, running for office, were held up as an example of how the war in
Afghanistan had liberated women,” writes Joya, an outspoken critic of the Karzai government and NATO occupation. “But this democracy was a facade, and the
so-called liberation a big lie.”

Malalai Joya, often compared to Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, has emerged as a symbol of Afghans’ desire for freedom from corruption, warlordism and foreign
occupation. Her father, who lost a leg fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, named her after a 19th century hero in the fight against the British Empire, Malalai of Maiwand.

“Afghans are sometimes represented in the media as a backward people, nothing more than terrorists, criminals and henchmen. This false image is extremely
dangerous for the future of both my country and the West. The truth is that Afghans are brave and freedom loving people with a rich culture and a proud
history. We are capable of defending our independence, governing ourselves and determining our own future.”

Malalai Joya has already addressed packed halls in Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Toronto. She will speak in Montreal on Tuesday and at the Ontario
Federation of Labour convention in Toronto on Wednesday. Her new book is A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared To Raise her Voice (co-written with Canadian Peace Alliance Co-Chair Derrick O’Keefe).

The Ottawa events are organized by the Ottawa Peace Assembly and the Canadian Peace Alliance.

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