Thursday, May 13, 2010

Malalai Joya: 'TIME distorts truth about US occupation in Afghanistan'

Reminds me of a similar story about Malalai Joya discussed earlier: see here.

"TIME distorts truth about occupation"
PressTV, May 11, 2010

Afghan political activist Malalai Joya has criticized TIME magazine, saying it has "painted a false picture" of her.

At the end of April, TIME named Malalai Joya one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010, but the write-up in the issue where the annual list was published did not mention her struggle against the US and NATO occupation of Afghanistan and even went so far as to lecture her and advise her that she should begin supporting the occupiers.

"I am very angry with the way they have introduced me. TIME has painted a false picture of me and does not mention anything at all about my struggle against the occupation of Afghanistan by the U.S. and NATO, which is disgusting. In fact every one knows that I stand side-by-side with the glorious anti-war movements around the world and have proved time and again that I will never compromise with the US and NATO, who have occupied my country, empowered the most bloody enemies of my people, and are killing my innocent compatriots in Afghanistan. What TIME did was like giving an award to someone with one hand and getting it back with another hand. I have sent my protest through my Defense Committee, but TIME did not bother to even answer the protest letter. Perhaps this is the kind of freedom of expression exercised by TIME and the US. But I'm happy to see that many of my friends and supporters have objected to the write-up and expressed it by posting their comments on TIME's site or sending me many emails," Joya said.

She made the remarks in an interview with Sonali Kolhatkar on Uprising Radio, which is broadcast on KPFK, the Pacifica network's radio station in Los Angeles.

The interview was posted on the internet on May 3.

The Defense Committee for Malalai Joya published the following response to the TIME magazine write-up:

"We strongly object to the inaccuracies in the write-up by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Malalai Joya here.

"We believe it is disrespectful of Ms. Joya not to make clear her consistent and vocal opposition to the NATO occupation of Afghanistan. In fact, it is her opposition to war which has made her influential throughout the world, since in the vast majority of NATO countries public opinion is also opposed to the war.

"Hirsi Ali criticizes Ms. Joya's views on the NATO occupation of Afghanistan without ever actually letting the reader know what they are. Surely the TIME 100 honorees have all earned the right to have their own views represented in a non-patronizing, accurate manner to your readers.

"The very first sentence — 'To be a woman growing up in Afghanistan under the Taliban and to survive is in itself a major feat' — betrays an unfamiliarity with the subject's biography.

"In fact, Ms. Joya grew up in refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan. The Taliban only came to power in the period of 1994-1996, and Joya only returned to her homeland in 1998, at the age of 19.

"The whole tenor and content of the write-up plays into the common misconception in the United States that the only fundamentalist, reactionary political forces in Afghanistan are the Taliban.

"There is no reference to the civil war and the massacres carried out by fundamentalist warlords — many of whom have been returned to power under the Karzai regime."

Elsewhere in the Uprising Radio interview, Ms. Joya said:

"The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has an office that carefully monitors all media in Afghanistan and if they find any of them reporting against U.S. interests, they try using different means to stop it. Bribes are a very common means used. For the U.S. it's not just fighting a war through military means, but also on the propaganda front. I think propaganda plays a major role. They are trying to show the war is justified. When they kill civilians they immediately deny it and say that all the people killed are Taliban. When there is no chance for any independent confirmation, the lies are the only things reflected in the world media. There are only a few cases where some brave and justice-loving journalists like Jerome Starkey have come forward to unmake their shameful lies."

"But I will continue the struggle as long as these criminals are in power, these sworn enemies of democracy, women's rights, human rights, and as long as these occupation forces are bombing from the sky, and supporting the enemies of my people and killing innocent people of my country," she added.

No comments: