Women of Courage

While I was in the SP_USA I defended women’s Rights. I tried to organize women’s sweat shops with UNITE! Equal Pay was also defended. I found out Lilith Wilson was our Socialist Representative from Reading, PA serving in the State Legislature. I also knew Jane Peters, who met Norman Thomas and started worker co-ops. I believe foreign feminists have an even tougher battle. Here are two recent heroes.

Malalai Joya has written a lucid book called “A woman among warlords-The extraordinary story of an Afghan who dared to raise her voice.”.In it she tells of her upbringing during the war in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. She describes how the family had to flee the fighting and live in dangerous conditions in Iranian refugee camps where many Afghans where persecuted. Then the family took refuge in Pakistani refugee camps where many of the Afghan orphans would later be recruited into the Taliban. After the Russians are driven out of Afghanistan with support from America the country is left to be ravaged by opposing factions of brutal warlords. The stories that Malalai reports here are incredibly brutal, with rape and murder becoming a commonplace thing in the Afghan scenery at this time. Some of these warlords who fought for power between 92 and 96 when the power vaccum developed would later become part of the new Afghan government under Hamid Karzai that America and Nato now support. Of course after the Taliban fell in 2001 the first thing that happend was that people went out and bought DVD players and stereos, with music blasting on every street corner.

Later Joya met with Afghan president Hamid Karzai. He listened to her and even shed tears when she told her thebrutal stories about the women she had cared for who had been raped. She also met with his wife who wanted to start a womens group with her. This was never followed through and Malalai Joya makes her point clearly that she sees now Karzai as being a puppet for the American with the real power behind the throne being Zalmay Kalilzad who was at the time the US ambassador to Afghanistan. Who according to Joya “many people in Afghanistan considered the architect of misguided US policy in Afghanistan”. It is Joyas opinion that America was repeating it’s old mistake of supporting Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan. Due to a movie made about Malalai called “Enemies of Happiness” her message started to spread around the world. The film won some prizes so she was invited abroad to speak about the war in Afghanistan. This lead to her reputation as a peace activist growing. Eventually she was thrown out of the Afghan parliament and has become even more unpopular because of her outspoken against the corruption and former war crimes of some of the parliament warlord members.

The Americans and NATO forces who have put them in power and support them have become very disliked because of this in
many Afghan peoples eyes. Even vice president Joe Biden said “America has replaced the Taliban with the warlords. Warlords are still on the US payroll but that hasn’t brought a cessation of violence. Not only is the US failing to rein in the warlords, we are actually making them the centerpiece of US strategy.”

Mazeeha Saeed Hussain: By: Timothy Spence Nearly three years after the Arab Spring spread to the small Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, journalist Nazeeha Saeed Hussain is still holding out for justice in the beatings she suffered at the hands of police officers.

The veteran correspondent for Radio Monte Carlo and France 24 was on the front lines covering the government’s deadly crackdown on protests that began in February 2011. Then, on May 22, she was ordered to appear at a police station. She and her lawyers say that after an initial interrogation, the journalist was repeatedly beaten by several police officers.

“I remember the first slap on my face, the humiliation I felt,” Saeed wrote in a personal recollection of the events published last month by the Media Legal De fence Initiative (MLDI) in London, one of the International Press Institute’s strategic partners. “I was blindfolded, beaten and had electric shock treatment. All the time, they were mocking me and accusing me of being a protester and lying in my reports. Eventually, 13 hours later, I was released after signing a document. I don’t know what was in it. I was so frightened,
I just wanted to get out. I was in great pain and could hardly walk.Bahrain’s human rights record regressed further in key areas in 2013 and the government made little real progress regarding reforms it claimed to pursue.Security forces continued to arrest scores of individuals arbitrarily in towns where anti-government protests regularly take place. High-profile critics of the government remain in jail on charges that relate solely to exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. The judicial system, headed by ruling family members, has yet to hold any senior official responsible for serious human rights violations that have occurred since 2011, including torture-related deaths in detention.

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