Outspoken Afghan women's leader Malalai Joya begins her Canadian speaking tour today:
Afghan women's leader in Vancouver: '2011 too late, Canada should end the war now'
Malalai Joya, the youngest woman ever elected to Afghanistan's parliament, is in Vancouver today to start a cross-Canada book tour for her new political memoir, A Woman Among Warlords, written with Vancouver writer and anti-war activist Derrick O'Keefe.
Ms. Joya will be appearing at several events Friday, Nov. 13, including a luncheon hosted by NDP MP Libby Davies, 12 Noon at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden, 578 Carrall Street and a talk at Langara College at 2:30p.m. Her main public event and book launch will be Saturday, Nov. 14, 7pm at Saint Andrew's Wesley church (1022 Nelson Street at Burrard). Her visit is being organized by StopWar.ca.
The 31 year-old Joya has been called "the bravest woman in Afghanistan" by the BBC, having survived five assassination attempts. In her book she recounts her life story growing up in refugee camps and working as an underground activist during the Taliban regime, and also spells out her views on the war in Afghanistan. She has a clear message for the Canadian government: "Ending the war in 2011 is too late, this occupation of Afghanistan must end now."
Malalai Joya has been a consistent critic of corruption in the NATO-backed Karzai government. Last month the New York Times reported that Ahmed Wali Karzai, President Hamid Karzai's brother -- who said to have links with drug trafficking -- has been on the CIA payroll for years.
"In Afghanistan we call this brother of Karzai in Kandahar a 'little Bush,'" Joya said about the most powerful man in Kandahar, where close to 2800 Canadian troops are currently stationed.
"On behalf of the Afghan people I offer my condolences to those Canadian families who have lost loved ones in my country," Joya added. "But I believe these troops are themselves the victims of the wrong policies of Canada, US and NATO -- these countries must stop supporting the warlords and end this occupation."