Malalai Joya – who at 28 years of age is Afghanistan’s youngest Parliamentarian – regularly reminds her fellow law-makers that they sit with warlords who should be tried for war and drug crimes, rather than wield power in Parliament.
So it was not news to hear that she told a TV interviewer in Kabul that the Afghan Parliament was ‘worse than an animal stable’, on returning from a successful international tour in May. What was news was the response. From that single interview, the Afghan Parliament and Senate moved quickly to silence her by banning her from Parliament for three years, ordering the High Court to file a case against her, and ensuring that she is not allowed to travel outside Afghanistan. This brave woman – who has regularly received death threats and says she expects to be killed – is now in great danger. However, her case is starting to receive international attention. In June this year – after a series of protests across Afghanistan – Joya’s supporters in Italy, the US, Spain, Canada and Australia staged protests in front of Afghan political missions to demand her reinstatement.
Hear Malalai Joya talk about her extraordinary life as a young woman in Afghanistan’s Parliament on Radio New Internationalist – a weekly audio adventure linking you up with progressive people from every corner of the globe. www.newint.org/radioNew Internationalist Editorial