Política: What does Democracy look like?

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Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya
Afganistán

What does Democracy look like?

When you really believe in democracy, it’s not something that can be given as a gift, and nobody will be able to take it away by force. You have it in your heart. Human rights are not something that someone can donate to us. Donated democracy doesn’t bring positive changes, especially through the language of gun or through troops.

During the Thirty Years’ war in Afghanistan, the Taliban mixed politics with Islam and used it as a weapon against our people, and most of all, against the women of our country. Today, the government is so afraid of secularism because, if we have a democratic and secular government, they will not be able to continue their fascism under the name of Islam.

After the Thirty Years’ War in Afghanistan, there’s no question that we need the helping hand of democratic people around the world. But unfortunately, after the tragedy of 9/11, the U.S. and allies of the U.S., because of their own strategic policies, brought into power their own puppets—these fundamentalist Northern Alliance who are like Taliban. And that’s why, day by day, our people understand that this is a mockery of democracy and mockery of the war on terror.

Our history shows that we don’t accept occupation. And it’s true that no nation can donate liberation to another nation. It is the one sovereign obligation of our people to bring these values to our country, like women’s rights and human rights. These troops must leave Afghanistan as soon as possible, as people are demonstrating and resisting, calling for a voluntary exit from Afghanistan.

Some say that civil war will take over Afghanistan, but nothing can be worse than today, which is like a civil war.

IMOW Team
IMOW Team
Estados Unidos

Listen to August's Podcast with Malalai Joya

Hear more from the "Bravest Woman in Afghanistan," Malalai Joya, in the Women, Power and Politics August podcast on Democracy. The controversial Afghan Parliamentarian, who is currently on suspension for her outspoken views, addressed a packed house in San Francisco as part of I.M.O.W.'s Extraordinary Voices, Extraordinary Change Speaker Series.

M
Estados Unidos

Democracy - A Gandhian route

Hi Malalai Joya:

You make a poignant case on democracy. I agree that democractic minds form a democratic nation. I can relate to the ordeal experienced by common Afghani folks as I hail from world's largest democracy - Republic of India which is officially secular but still battles ethic infightings at regular intervals. Today, in India, certain factions of society, to meet their parochial goals, are using socioeconomically challenged Hindus and Muslims aganist each other, escalating the incredible divide, hatred, thereby making abominal parody of secularism that forms the very basis of Constitution of India. This is lamentable as democracy in India never came cheap. It took a Gandhian movement to dismantle the British Raj's iron grip over my country. Gandhi, the loin clothed sage woke up the nation's peasants, kings, merchants, poets, writers, sweepers, men, women and children to carry forward the Non-violence movement he started. The critical mass effect was so powerful that it sent shivers through the spine of tough Brits. Gandhian charisma, inspiration and motivation was all that was required. Maybe Afganistan needs to find its very own Gandhi to wake up its masses and create a new world of secular Afganistan. The selfish players will remain in the game as long as Afgani's relent. Once they stop relenting, the oppressors will have to bend. As in the end, the "Truth alone Triumphs" (or as they call in Hindi "Satyamev Jayate")

Lynn Feinerman
Estados Unidos

GREETINGS MALALAI!

Hello Dear Malalai!
Did you ever get a chance to hear the program from the WOMEN RISING RADIO PROJECT in which you were featured? It is program number 7 (seven) on radioproject.org. There you will hear yourself and two other amazing women, US Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and Beijing Deputy Wu Qing. LOVE AND BLESSINGS TO YOU.

Lalita Raman
Lalita Raman
Hong Kong

The Feel and Look of Democracy

Hello Malalai Joya, you raise a very relevant point in that Democracy is not something that can be given as a gift nor something that can be taken by force.

True form of democracy exists when each one in a country is able to live without any barriers, is respected for who they are and able to live without fear on a day to day basis.

This forum is a good means for some of us like minded people to work together and make democracy possible in Afghanistan. Although, I live in Hong Kong, I would like to help and work towards this goal.

Democracy can be achieved only when basic values exist in any society each of us live in and each individual is respected for who they are irrespective of their gender, cast or creed.

Wangui Banks
Wangui Banks
Estados Unidos

Meghna, I agree with you that many nations governed by totalitarian regimes should seek inspiration from such leaders as Ghandi and may I add, Nelson Mandela. They proved that a nation could get its independence without having to go to war.

We need to stop thinking that we have to fight for liberty, freedom and democracy. We need to strive for these ideals and understand that even the totalitarian leaders are not enemies and that in some way, they believe that what they are doing is right.

What is going on in Zimbabwe is a good example, there is actually a power sharing deal being discussed presently by Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Who would have thought such a thing would have ever happened? Let's remember that such a deal was inspired by the deal between the Kenyan President and the opposition leader who is now Prime Minister and they now both share executive powers. It is sad that it had to take bloodshed for them to agree to talk but it is an example that in the end, it wasn't the fighting and the killing that brought peace and unification but actual dialogue and respect of both sides.

Let's be sincere when we talk about respect of everybody, because that also includes the totalitarian leaders whom we disagree with but also have a place in peaceful unification.

Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya
Afganistán

Are Elections an End In and Of Themselves, or Just the Beginning of the Democratic Process?

Our country has been occupied under the name of values like democracy, woman rights, and human rights. Unfortunately, after many years of war in Afghanistan and after 9/11, most of the uneducated and suffering people of Afghanistan have a very bad view of democracy.

The presidential election was Afghanistan’s first experience of democracy. Parliamentary election was the second experience. It showed how much the political consciousness of people improved. During the Thirty Years’ war in Afghanistan, we lost everything, but we gained a positive thing in that the political knowledge of people improved a lot. They can recognize the enemies and friends.

In the presidential election, most of our people voted. After many years of war, it was so hopeful. Our people wanted to show their hatred for these warlords and drug lords, that’s why most people assisted the presidential election and voted. Everyone seriously followed that election. So, between bad and worse, they voted for Mr. Karzai. They showed that they want democracy, that they believe in democracy. But in the parliamentary election, most people didn’t vote because they’d become hopeless after the presidential election. Many lost their hopes because Karzai was not honest, he again started to compromise with warlords and gave them high posts. Our people are like hostages in the hands of these warlords, drug lords, and criminals.

It’s true that this country is a backward country, a war country, and male-dominated. But the main problem today is the non-democratic government. If we have a democratic government, this male-dominated society and backward country will improve.

Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya
Afganistán

Without Democracy, Can There Be Justice?

In Afghanistan, there’s no justice. When they expelled me from Parliament, I sent a letter to Supreme Court saying that this is an illegal act and against freedom of speech.

This is not the duty of Supreme Court, who put this law in practice, since only Parliament is able to make laws. They used their power against me: they censored my interview and used it against me. Democratic MPs in Parliament are very few. We are very few. Today they expel me. Tomorrow, they will expel another democrat. Because of lack of money, I was not able to have a defense lawyer. Finally, I have a defense lawyer, but as there’s no justice, and they don’t want me to go back, it’s just a waste of time.

They say that if I apologize, I can go back. Still, people are demonstrating and protesting but not being heard.

Wangui Banks
Wangui Banks
Estados Unidos

Hang in there

Dear Malalai,

I can feel your frustration with the situation in your country and the autocratic regime that is trying so hard to silence your voice. I am glad to see that they are trying to little avail and that you are a greater force than they ever expected.
Remember however that this is the country that produced the great leader that you are and that by demeaning it you are in a way demeaning yourself and all your people. Although the current situation is abominable for many, I still feel that one should not regard their own nation as a backward one. You carry the hope for your country and if you have given up on it, who else is left to hope for real justice and equality.

Hang in there.

image
Usuario borrado

Why Democracy?

I wanted to let you all know that the Why Democracy? project has made, some years back, a series of 10 documentaries that explore the meaning of democracy in 10 countries around the world. I suggest you see the documentaries because they're absolutely incredible.

The Women, Power and Politics exhibition has featured one of their films in the exhibition. It is a film about Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her first year in office as the first woman president of the country. It's called IRON LADIES OF LIBERIA. This exhibition article is a must see and a must read.

Wangui Banks
Wangui Banks
Estados Unidos

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Wow Sanja, thank you for sharing the link. Watching Ma in action was so inspiring and such a treat to see. She is amazing and we have alot to learn from her wisdom and love for her people. She really is the mother of her nation. I just read an article about the Rwandan parliament where 55% of MPs are women! The first country to have a majority of women in its parliament.

Women are on the right track and the world is better for it.

IMOW Team
IMOW Team
Estados Unidos

Read about Rwandan Women in Politics

Thank you Wangui! You can also learn more about women's representation in Rwandan politics in our community story from Norah Bagirinka.

http://www.imow.org/wpp/stories/viewStory?storyId=1507

Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya
Afganistán

Is education intimately tied to civic duty?

Most men in Afghanistan are afraid of a woman who gets an education, because they are afraid that when they get real knowledge, they will know about their rights and they will not kill themselves and be silent. They will resist, stand up and struggle.

After the election, one woman came in my office in Farah province. She was so happy and crying. I said, “Why you are crying?” She said, “I am happy I attend the election.” I said, “Yeah, it’s good. You did good job. You did your responsibility. This is democracy.” She then said, “No, you know, my husband didn’t allow me to vote for you, and threaten me to not go vote in the election, but when he went out, I wear burqa and I voted for you and came back. My husband knew and beat me a lot.” She showed me that her hands were bruised. But she was so happy. This is a simple memory, but that an uneducated woman knows about democracy, wants to play her role, and recognizes enemies gives me hope. This woman’s trust and vote was a big responsibility on my shoulders.

Rhetorical Approximation

I think What Does Democracy Look Like is a very important question, as the very word itself is thrown around enough that it can become a meaningless rhetorical approximation. We are led to believe that the current political system in the United States is a democracy, when in fact at best it is a democratic malfunction known as tyranny of the majority, and is probably actually much worse than that.

Wangui Banks
Wangui Banks
Estados Unidos

"Right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant"

Oh Malalai, thank you for sharing that inspirational story with us. This brave woman's story reminded me of one of my favorite Martin Luther King quotes:

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

Hi

his is lamentable as democracy in India never came cheap. It took a Gandhian movement to dismantle the British Raj's iron grip over my country. Gandhi, the loin clothed sage woke up the nation's peasants, kings, merchants, poets, writers, sweepers, men, women and children to carry forward the Non-violence movement he started.

Regards,
rachelzank
[URL=http://prettravaux.net/pret-travaux/des-pret-travaux-pour-tous-les-gouts]Prêt travaux[/URL]

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