If you were planning on attending Noam Chomsky’s joint presentation with Malalai Joya, there might be a chance one of the speakers cannot make it. It turns out the U.S. government has denied a request for a traveling visa to Ms. Joya on grounds that she is “unemployed” and “lives underground.”
As pointed out on the Defense Committee for Malalai Joya website, she lives underground because “she faces the constant threat of death for having had the courage to speak up for women’s rights.”
For those who have not heard of “the bravest woman woman in Afghanistan,” here is the link to her profile on Wikipedia–I encourage you to read about this remarkable woman.
Why is the U.S. government afraid to grant her a traveling visa to speak around the country? As Democracy Now! points out, she has “criticized President Obama’s escalation of the Afghan war.”
“They say war of Afghanistan is good war, war of Iraq is bad war, while war is war and impossible to bring democracy, women rights, human rights by war. And unfortunately, Obama’s policy and Obama’s message for my people is quite similar, like his foreign policy like Bush administration. He wants to surge more troops in Afghanistan, which will bring more conflict, more war.”
Ms. Joya is unemployed because she lost her position in the Afghan parliament for having the courage to criticize it “for failing to accomplish enough for the Afghan people.” Ms. Joya lives underground to protect her life from threats to it for having the courage to speak out for women’s rights in Afghanistan. And now, Ms. Joya isn’t allowed to travel in the United States because she had the courage to criticize the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
Organizers of her speaking tour are encouraging people to contact the Department of State to ask them to fulfill the promise from the Obama Administration of ‘promoting the global marketplace of ideas’ and grant Joya’s visa immediately.