Today Vanessa and I had the honor of hearing Malalai Joya speak at Western Washington University. This was part of the Fairhaven College world issues forum. The speech was given in Arntzen 100, a very large lecture hall yet over a 100 people could not come in because there was no room. All available standing room and sitting areas were full.
Talk about perspective. Malalai is an ex-communicated member of the Afghan Parliament who has been attacked five times yet survived. She speaks for the true "justice-loving" people of Afghanistan. The views she expressed were hard to hear for an American. She states that we need to be out of Afghanistan. Our presence is hurting women and the rights of all democratic minded individuals. She spoke of the false elections and our "democratic hypocrisy." We denounce terrorism yet deal with Karzai who she says has committed atrocities. Being in that room, and hearing her speak one can do nothing but believe. She discussed the great injustices towards woman; rape, battery, denial of education.
Photos were passed around of disfigured children and citizens who have been killed by occupation forces, the local warlords, and the government of Afghanistan. She pointed out glaring inconsistencies with elections and the Afghanistan Constitution, yet our US leaders have said nothing about the issues she raises. She is a member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. Please go to the website and click on the Photo Gallery. There are very disturbing photos, but they are the truth of what is happening in war. Malalai frequently stated that there is no "good war." How can we disagree?
Her words are powerful and her story is incredible. She recently published a book, which I hope to read, called A Woman Among Warlords. Here you can listen to an NPR interview. The interview is decent from minute 9.5 onwards you can hear something similar to what I heard at Western. The time she spent answering questions was wonderful. From all viewpoints questions were asked and she did a great job responding with solutions, not just rhetoric.
Malalai often spoke of various provinces in Afghanistan. I know very few of the provinces and she worked hard throughout her talk to stress how mainstream media is not allowed into the outer provinces. Reports are not being made about the brutality and the disintegration of rights in these areas. I hope more of her work reaches the decision-makers of mainstream media and they strike out into these areas. Are you listening Anderson Cooper?
Thank you Malalai for speaking at WWU, may the solidarity of all peace loving people strengthen your position and bring change and end to war in your country and all countries.
News surfaced again this week about tensions between Georgia, Russia, and NATO. As usual, The Economist has an excellent write-up on the skirmishes.
I do not want to see more conflict in this region. The people need a break. The world needs economic recovery and this cannot occur when needless wars are happening, particularly around oil lines. To ease the need for oil, Tata Motors of India has announced it has received, 203,000 advance orders for their new car the Nano. It achieves approximately 72MPG out of a two cylinder engine. Sold only in India at the moment because of emission, safety, and other standards the car is poised to be a success.
The belief that more fuel efficient cars is the answer to the peak oil issue is wrong, but everything can help. The Nano invariably gives easier access to automobiles in India due to it's price. We will have to see if this is good or bad.
In a recent article published on the Economist's website I discovered that the borders are changing in the Swiss Alps. Not because of conflict or politics, but because of shrinking glaciers. "[I]n some places by as much as ten metres,” that is approximately 32 feet. I find that amazing.
(2009, April 19). A Moveable Border. The Economist.
More information can be found at CNN.
This is cool, I ran across it on GoodSearch.com. Carlos Santana has just launched, Architects of a New Dawn. It is site based on the principle that the time for peace has come and we are the generation to do it. The introduction video on the home page is great.
Another interesting tidbit is that the site is developed within the NING social network. Ning has been around for several years and is a platform for making your own social network. Carlos's new movement is a great example of how far you can extend the ning platform.
Powerful, moving, and frightening.
Read it everyday and keep this man in your thoughts.