On New Year’s Day Galway Alliance Against War (GAAW) held a successful peace party to welcome in the new decade – our aim is that this decade should be a much more peaceful one than the bloody one just gone. Alas, the signs are not promising. Any difference between Obama and Bush is not discernible. Ireland continues to play an active part in this bogus “war on terror”. More than €3 million per year is spent by the Irish government to protect what has become a US military installation at Shannon airport. Sure, the airport has had a financial return of €7 million on an annual basis, but at what price? The end of Irish neutrality: Ireland becoming an accessory to both mass murder and the wholesale abuse of human rights. Amnesty International have underlined this fact this week by reiterating that Shannon Airport has been directly linked to “extraordinary rendition” and the Guantanamo torture jets – for example in the case of Binyam Mohamad.
When we picketed the 2008 Green Party think-in, held in Galway, Senator Dan Boyle claimed all would change with Obama as US President that has not proved to be the case. Guantanamo remains open and reports from that internment camp would suggest that the ill-treatment of the internees has worsened in the past 12 months. There is also clear evidence that the kidnapping and torturing of people is continuing with the numbers in Kabul’s “Dark Prison” increasing. The spin-doctors on both sides of the Atlantic would have us believe that the NATO-led military campaign in Afghanistan is a “good war”. Malalai Joya, the female Afghani MP, who was expelled from the Afghan parliament for condemning the Karzai regime had another story to tell when she spoke at our event on the 1st of January.
Malalai is called the “Bravest Woman in Afghanistan”. Watch this short film to see how courageous a woman she is:
Below we reproduce her speech by telephone from a safe house in Kabul to our Galway peace event:
“In the name of Democracy and peace,
Good evening and thanks to everyone present here to raise their voice against war and for peace. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and regards to friends of Galway Alliance Against War for inviting me to this phone talk about the ongoing tragedies and disasters in Afghanistan under the occupation of the USA and NATO.
I am talking from a land of tragedies named Afghanistan, which was occupied 8 years ago by the US and allies under the banner of women’s rights and democracy, but in fact they replaced the medieval regime of the Taliban with a brutal regime of the fundamentalist warlords of the Northern Alliance, who are as criminal, ignorant, anti-women and anti-democracy as the Taliban.
The US and its allies occupied Afghanistan under the name of “war on terror” but today they themselves are terrorizing Afghan people and have deep hidden deals with terrorist groups. The “war on terror” is just a show while in fact they have pushed Afghanistan and the whole region more deeply into a haven for terrorists.
It is an open secret today that all terrorist groups from Al- Qaeda to Taliban and warlords of the N.A have been products of the US government, but the fundamentalist –fostering policy of the US and allies still continue and today they are the criminal fundamentalist who have upper hand in the Afghan government and their tyranny against my people and especially women continue. The US and allies pour millions of dollars into the pockets of warlords, drug-lords and even Taliban.
In the so called “liberated” Afghanistan, the situation of my people is tragic more than ever. Women rights situation is as catastrophic as it was under the domination of Taliban. Rapes, kidnappings, acid attacks, domestic violence and killing of women are increasing rapidly. In the Human Development Index Afghanistan is ranked 181 out of 182 countries. According to Unicef Afghanistan is worst place to born with 257 deaths per 1,000 live births, in the corruption index Afghanistan second most corrupt country in the world, Afghanistan is top producer of opium in the world and since 2001 the production of opium increased over 4400% with 93% of world opium being produced under the very nose of the tens of thousands of US/NATO troops. These are just few examples to show the kind of “freedom and “democracy” they have imposed on Afghanistan.
While the US and allies for their own sinister interests in the region changed Afghanistan into the opium capital of the world, no one can expect “democracy” and justice in a land which is in the hold of the drug-mafia.
We Afghans can’t expect “freedom” to be donated to us by the US, which itself is the biggest terrorist country in the world and have imposed war, destruction and mass-killings in countless countries since WW2. Afghanistan and Iraq are just two of the most current examples. A glance at the history of US government involvement in different poor countries shows that it has only overthrown democracies and supported dictators and oppressors.
I think the policies of Obama’s administration in Afghanistan are no different from that of Bush, and even more dangerous and devastating to my people because sending more troops to Afghanistan will translate into killing of more innocent people. If he had any difference with Bush, at least he should have removed the war minister Robert Gates from his post.
The US and allies are after their own strategic, economic and geo-political interests in Afghanistan and want to change Afghanistan into their military base in Asia, for which they are playing with the destiny of my suffering people and put them in more dangers. But they hide their evil plans under the nice banners of “democracy”, “human rights”, etc to deceive the world.
In the past eight years, Afghan people have been badly betrayed. They are being killed by both the Taliban and warlords on the ground and by the occupation forces from the sky. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed during these years.
Just recently on 27th of December the occupation force did a bombing in Kunar province, more than 10 innocent people were killed, 8 of them were school children.
In my home town, over 150- civilians, many of them women and children were brutally killed when US warplanes dropped 2000 pound bombs on two villages in May 2009. Thousands of cluster bombs have been dropped and the use of depleted–uranium and white phosphorus bombs in Afghanistan have caused terrible environmental and health problems in my country.
On 9th of September they bombarded Qundoz province where around 200 civilians were killed. They even bombed wedding parties.
I think the justice loving people of Ireland agree with us that democracy will never be achieved by war, by cluster bombs or white phosphorus. Irish people should know that the people of Afghanistan want peace, liberation and democracy but the current occupation is exactly against these values and have doubled our miseries and problems.
The Western governments not only betray Afghan people but their own people too. They are wasting tax- payers money and their soldiers blood for a war which only safeguards the interest of the big corporations. Not only will this war not defeat the terrorists but rather it will make them more powerful. Indeed, today the world is more dangerous than it was in 2001.
Now my people are squashed between two enemies, internal and external ones. If the US continues their policies of supporting such evil minded elements they will become more powerful as ever.
The US/NATO has secret contacts and dealings with the terrorist groups and the Taliban and even they are being asked to join the puppet regime of Hamid Karzai. The US/NATO never wanted to eliminate the Taliban and Al-Qaeda because their existence is an excuse for their permanent presence in Afghanistan to have their strong military base in the region to threaten the rising Asian powers such as China, Russia, Iran and have their hand on rich energy sources of the Central Asian Republics.
No one can believe that a Super Power with the massive military machine and most advanced weaponry is really unable to defeat a small, medieval and ignorant band such as the Taliban. But in fact the Taliban are even being indirectly supported by the US govt. through Pakistan.
I will never be tired of saying that no nation can donate liberation to another nation. History has no such examples. Only those nations who liberate themselves can be free and we Afghans are ready for any sacrifices for a long and hard struggle against our enemies to secure our freedom. So we Afghans ask for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan as they are making things more complicated for our people.
Right now there are two kinds of resistance going on in my country. One is the reactionary resistance of the Taliban and the other is the resistance of ordinary Afghan people which is increasing day by day, I think this latter resistance is the huge hope for the future of our country.
We are happy that while Western governments bomb us, the great and peace loving people of these countries stand in solidarity with us and raise their voices against the wrongdoing of their governments. We are very impressed by the anti-war movement around the world. Your solidarity and support give us encouragement and determination to fight for justice and true democracy in our country.
Please carry on your glorious anti war actions. Democratic minded elements of my country need your support and helping hand. Unlike your government, you should support democratic-minded forces of Afghanistan, who are a real alternative for a positive change in my country, but the US/ANTO and their puppets make every effort to marginalize us.
Long live friendship between democratic-minded people of Ireland and Afghanistan! Neither occupation, nor fundamentalism, a free and democratic Afghanistan! Let us join hands to rescue the world from warmongers and terrorists!”