Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Australian Parliament "debates" Afghanistan war

(Above, Malalai Joya speaking in Canada in 2009)

It is shameful that it has taken the Australian Parliament so long to “debate” Australian involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

I deliberately enclose the word “debate” in quotation marks because the bipartisan approach of the nearly indistinguishable Coalition and Labor parties renders any chance of real debate impossible.

The honourable exception of the Greens and certain independent politicians is recognised.

Australian troops are part of an occupation rabble that oppresses the people of Afghanistan and denies them their freedom and independence.

The Karzai regime comprises murderers, drug lords and fundamentalists. The so-called elections that justify this regime are a joke.

The calls for talks with the hated Taliban, resulting from the current military impasse, shows the moral bankruptcy of our commitment to this war.

I wonder if any Coalition (Liberal-National) or Labor parliamentarian has read the book Raising My Voice, by Malalai Joya?

Malalai Joya, now 32, was the youngest woman elected to the Afghan Parliament in 2005. Faced with threats of death, and expelled from the Parliament for speaking out against the regime’s continuing oppression of women, she declined to contest this year’s elections.

Her book is available in Australian bookstores. If you put "Joya" into the search engine above left, you will get to my review of it.

Speaking in Adelaide on March 13, 2007, Joya said that “no nation can donate liberation to another nation. Liberation is not money to be donated; it should be achieved in a country by the people themselves.”

In her book, she states that the “real purpose” behind the so-called war on terror is “for the United States and its allies to establish permanent bases to serve their strategic aims…They would like to stay in Afghanistan forever, so they can keep military bases and a presence in the region…to counteract China’s influence in particular. The superpowers would prefer to keep the situation unstable so they can stay indefinitely and use and occupy our country as part of a big chess game” (p. 237-8).

Sohaila, another young Afghan woman who spoke in Adelaide on August 8, 2007, and Suraya Pakzad, who spoke here earlier this year, have also condemned the anti-democratic, anti-women and corrupt Karzai regime.

Newspaper headlines depict us as somehow bravely refusing to “abandon” the people of Afghanistan by committing our troops for another ten years. We must reject the framing of the debate on Afghanistan in these terms.

Parliamentarians must have the courage to reject the simplistic nonsense of “staying the course”, of remaining “until the job is done”.

The people of Afghanistan want us out of their country. They have good leaders and great representatives who are more than capable of mobilising popular support for a democratic, secular and independent nation.

The efforts of those people are hindered by our presence as an unwanted army of occupation.

Politicians in this country must reject the easy populism of “We won’t abandon Afghans”.

Uphold the call of the Malalai Joyas of Afghanistan:

The emancipation of Afghan women is not attainable as long as the occupation, Taliban and “National Front” criminals are not sacked!

(Statement of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) on the International Women’s Day, March 8, 2010).

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