“Bravest Woman in Afghanistan” speaks Friday in Minneapolis

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March did not come in like a lamb in Afghanistan. On the first day of the month, in the northeastern province of Kunar, ten boys aged seven to twelve were shot while gathering wood. Nine died. According to the surviving child, two attack helicopters picked them off “one by one.” A NATO spokesperson called the incident a “terrible mistake” caused by “miscommunication” with helicopter crews.

Friday, April 1, 7 p.m.
Malalai Joya: “Ten Years Into the U.S. War: An Evening with the ‘the Bravest Woman in Afghanistan'”
St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis – Tickets: $10.00.
Sponsored by: the Twin Cities Peace Campaign (TCPC) and WAMM.
Info and Tickets: 612-522-1861 (TCPC) or contact the WAMM office.

March ends with more disturbing news as Cpl. Jeremy Morlock is convicted for the sport-murder of fifteen year-old Gul Mudin. It’s a morbid tale of staged assault and severed pinkie-finger souvenirs. Stories of soldiers passing around thumb-drives loaded with corpse photos leave many wondering if the U.S. has in lost its moral compass. That’s Morlock’s excuse for his own dark descent. More Americans are considering whether the phrase applies to the U.S. presence in Afghanistan as a whole.

Paying attention to what is happening in Afghanistan is not a cheerful business. But, to chart a course out of the morass, it may be necessary. This Friday, April 1, Twin Cities residents have an opportunity can get an inside perspective from human rights activist, and former member of the Afghan Parliament, Malalai Joya.

Joya seldom minces words. She’s an outspoken critic of violence by the Taliban, the warlords and the U.S. She gained international attention in 2003 by challenging a constitutional assembly filled with elderly men. “Why would you allow criminals to be present at this Loya Jirga?” the twenty-five-year-old Joya had asked before she was shouted down and forcibly removed. She’s been asking hard questions ever since. She has survived assassination attempts, and is revered in her native Farah Province.

Joya is in Minnesota on a book tour.  Because the State Department initially denied her visa application, she appeared via Skype during the east coast portion of her tour. Supporters organized an email and phone campaign. Representatives Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum signed a letter on Joya’s behalf. Her visa has now been approved and Joya will appear in person.