Afghan feminist on US army atrocities

This video from the USA is called Democracy Now: Afghan Antiwar Activist Malalai Joya Calls for an End to the war.

Another video, no longer on YouTube, was called Visa Granted to Afghan Antiwar Campaigner Malalai Joya for U.S. Trip – Democracy NOW!

By Malalai Joya, illegally expelled from the Afghan parliament for being pro-women, anti-warlord, and anti-occupation, in British daily The Guardian:

Kill teams in Afghanistan: the truth

These disgusting photos of murdered Afghans reveal the aggression and racism underpinning the occupation of my country

Wednesday 30 March 2011

The disgusting and heartbreaking photos published last week in the German media, and more recently in Rolling Stone magazine, are finally bringing the grisly truth about the war in Afghanistan to a wider public. All the PR about this war being about democracy and human rights melts into thin air with the pictures of US soldiers posing with the dead and mutilated bodies of innocent Afghan civilians.

I must report that Afghans do not believe this to be a story of a few rogue soldiers. We believe that the brutal actions of these “kill teams” reveal the aggression and racism which is part and parcel of the entire military occupation. While these photos are new, the murder of innocents is not. Such crimes have sparked many protests in Afghanistan and have sharply raised anti-American sentiment among ordinary Afghans.

I am not surprised that the mainstream media in the US has been reluctant to publish these images of the soldiers who made sport out of murdering Afghans. General Petraeus, now in charge of the American-led occupation, is said to place great importance on the “information war” for public opinion – and there is a concerted effort to keep the reality of Afghanistan out of sight in the US.

Last week my initial application for a US entry visa was turned down, and so my book tour was delayed while supporters demanded my right to enter the country. The American government was pressed to relent and allow my visit to go ahead. Ultimately it too will be unable to block out the truth about the war in Afghanistan.

The “kill team” images will come as a shock to many outside Afghanistan but not to us. We have seen countless incidents of American and Nato forces killing innocent people like birds. For instance, they recently killed nine children in Kunar Province who were collecting firewood. In February this year they killed 65 innocent villagers, most of them women and children. In this case, as in many others, Nato claimed that they had only killed insurgents, even though local authorities acknowledged that the victims were civilians. To prevent the facts coming out they even arrested two journalists from al-Jazeera who attempted to visit and report from the site of the massacre.

Successive US officials have said that they will safeguard civilians and that they will be more careful, but in fact they are only more careful in their efforts to cover up their crimes and suppress reporting of them. The US and Nato, along with the office of the UN’s assistance mission in Afghanistan, usually give statistics about civilian deaths that underestimate the numbers. The reality is that President Obama’s so-called surge has only led to a surge of violence from all sides, and civilian deaths have increased.

The occupying armies have tried to buy off the families of their victims, offering $2,000 for each one killed. Afghans’ lives are cheap for the US and Nato, but no matter how much they offer, we don’t want their blood money.

Once you know all this, and once you have seen the “kill team” photos, you will understand more clearly why Afghans have turned against this occupation. The Karzai regime is more hated than ever: it only rules through intimidation, corruption, and with the help of the occupying armies. Afghans deserve much better than this.

However, this does not mean more Afghans are supporting the reactionary so-called resistance of the Taliban. Instead we are seeing the growth, under very difficult conditions, of another resistance led by students, women and the ordinary poor people of Afghanistan. They are taking to the streets to protest against the massacre of civilians and to demand an end to the war. Demonstrations like this were recently held in Kabul, Marzar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad and Farah.

This resistance is inspired by the movements in other countries like Egypt and Tunisia – we want to see “people power” in Afghanistan as well. And we need the support and solidarity of people in the Nato countries.

Many new voices are speaking up against this expensive and hypocritical war in Afghanistan, including soldiers from the Nato armies. When I last visited the UK I had the honour of meeting Joe Glenton, a conscientious objector who spent months in jail for his resistance to the war in Afghanistan. Of his time in prison, Glenton said: “In the current climate I consider it a badge of honour to have served a prison sentence.”

So while the world looks in horror at the “kill team” photographs, Joe Glenton’s courage and humanity is an important reminder that the war in Afghanistan need not last forever.

Henry A. Giroux | Moral Degeneracy and Violence in the “Kill Team” Photos. Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: “War, violence and death have become the organizing principle of governance and culture in the United States as we move into the second decade of the 21st century. Lacking a language for the social good, the very concept of the social as a space in which justice, equality, social protections and a responsibility to the other mediate everyday life is being refigured through a spectacle of violence and cruelty. Under such circumstances, ethical considerations and social costs are removed from market-driven policies and values just as images of human suffering are increasingly abstracted from not only their social and political contexts, but also the conditions that make such suffering possible. Moreover, as public issues collapse into privatized considerations, matters of agency, responsibility and ethics are now framed within the discourse of extreme individualism”: here.

Afghan women suffering from domestic violence: here.

Afghanistan: Self-immolations increase in Herat: here.

USA: An Army investigation into the brigade commander of five soldiers accused of murdering unarmed Afghan civilians last year has concluded that he should have been relieved of duty for poor performance, but pins virtually all the blame on junior officers for failing to prevent the killings: here.

An Afghan man who was arrested for converting to Christianity and fears he may be executed, remained behind bars Wednesday, March 30, more than a month after another convert was released amid international pressure: here.

Humanitarian aid work has become increasingly dangerous in recent years. Aid workers are now often the target of attacks, rather than merely bystanders caught in the crossfire. This is a symptom of the militarization and politicization of aid, whereby assistance is used as a means to achieve non-humanitarian objectives. Pierre Krahenbuhl, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross, says that humanitarian organizations have been complicit by working closely with military forces. Krahenbuhl argues organizations should be neutral and independent to ensure they can effectively carry out their operations: here.

22 thoughts on “Afghan feminist on US army atrocities

  1. Afghan asylum seeker found dead in Australia

    SYDNEY (Agencies): An Afghan man seeking asylum in Australia has been found dead in a detention centre, officials said Tuesday, in what refugee advocates said was the fifth such suicide in the past seven months. The man, understood to be a 19-year-old from the Hazara ethnic minority who came to Australia by boat, was found Monday in his room at the remote Curtin Immigration Detention Centre on Western Australia’s north coast.

    Refugee advocates said the man had taken his own life after spending the past 10 months in immigration detention — which is mandatory for all boat people arriving in Australia while their claims are assessed. Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said the man’s friends had told her he had gone to his room when immigration officers arrived to tell people who had landed only two months ago the results of their applications. “He couldn’t understand why he was still waiting when those people who had been here two months were getting their decisions,” Curr told media. “The whole thing is very arbitrary.”

    The death comes after days of unrest at Australia’s main immigration processing centre at Christmas Island, where inmates rioted and burned down tented accommodation, prompting police to use tear gas to subdue them. Curr said detention centres were overcrowded and unable to cope with a recent influx in mostly Afghan and Sri Lankan boat people. She said it was the fifth suicide in immigration detention since a 36-year-old Fijian man jumped to his death from the roof of a Sydney centre last September. The death comes as Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen visit Indonesia, where they will discuss Australia’s proposed regional processing centre for asylum seekers to be based in East Timor. The number of people applying for asylum in Australia rose 33 percent last year, according to the UN refugee agency, after more than 6,500 boat people arrived in 2010, filling detention centres beyond capacity.


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