Dubbed "the bravest woman in Afghanistan" by the BBC, Malalai Joya speaks tonight, November 8, at the Scotiabank Memorial Auditorium (6135 University).
If you've never heard of Malalai Joya, you haven't been following your Canadian news feed this week. Joya has been making her way across the country to speak about Canada's role in the ongoing NATO mission to Afghanistan—she stopped by The Hour with George Strombo on Tuesday, for example.
Joya, a women's rights activist and a former member of the Loya Jirga (the Afghan National Assembly), was ejected from parliament last May after comparing it to a zoo and a stable during a televised interview. (Translated: "A stable is better, for there you have a donkey that carries a load and a cow that provides milk...the parliament is worse than a stable.") She's also criticized other Afghani parliamentarians for having ties to warlords and drug dealers and branded some of her political counterparts in Afghanistan as criminals.
Targetted for her outspoken nature, Joya has survived no fewer than four assassination attempts, criticized fundamentalism in Afghanistan and become a divisive figure in her native country and beyond.
In the midst of her cross-Canada tour, she also found a moment to speak with The Coast over the phone from Toronto—as she told our reporter Angela Day, "The people who are in power now committed many crimes against women and innocent people in Afghanistan when they were in power between 1992 and 1996." For the full article (and a primer for tonight's event), visit thecoast.ca.