[act-ma] URGENT: US government denies entry visa to Afghan women’s rights activist and author Malalai Joya

Keith Rosenthal keithmr81 at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 17 12:59:41 PDT 2011

Malalai Joya is 
scheduled to speak at Harvard University alongside Noam Chomsky on March 25th 
This event will 
still be going ahead as scheduled either way, but in the meantime we need to 
flood the State Department and our Congressional representatives with 
phone-calls demanding the reversal of this flagrant and insulting act of 



US government denies entry visa to Afghan women’s rights activist and author Malalai Joya
                March 17, 2011


	For Immediate Release –

The United States has denied a travel visa to Malalai Joya, an 
acclaimed women’s rights activist and former member of Afghanistan’s 
parliament. Ms. Joya, who was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most 
influential people in the world in 2010, was set to begin a three-week 
US tour to promote an updated edition of her memoir, A Woman Among 
Warlords, published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. 

Joya’s publisher at Scribner, Alexis Gargagliano, said, “We had the 
privilege to publish Ms. Joya, and her earlier 2009 book tour met with 
wide acclaim. The right of authors to travel and promote their work is 
central to freedom of expression and the full exchange of ideas.” Joya’s
 memoir has been translated into over a dozen languages, and she has 
toured widely including Australia, the UK, Canada, Norway, Germany, 
Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and the Netherlands in support of the 
book over the past two years. 

Colleagues of Ms. Joya’s report that when she presented herself as 
scheduled at the U.S. embassy, she was told she was being denied because
 she was “unemployed” and “lives underground.” Then 27, Joya was the 
youngest woman elected to Afghanistan’s parliament in 2005. Because of 
her harsh criticism of warlords and fundamentalists in Afghanistan, she 
has been the target of at least five assassination attempts. “The reason
 Joya lives underground is because she faces the constant threat of 
death for having had the courage to speak up for women’s rights – it’s 
obscene that the U.S. government would deny her entry,” said Sonali 
Kolhatkar of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a U.S. based organization that 
has hosted Joya for speaking tours in the past and is a sponsor of this 
year’s national tour. 

Joya has also become an internationally known critic of the US-NATO 
war in Afghanistan. Organizers argue that the denial of Joya’s visa 
appears to be a case of what the American Civil Liberties Union 
describes as “Ideological Exclusion,” which they say violates Americans’
 First Amendment right to hear constitutionally protected speech by 
denying foreign scholars, artists, politicians and others entry to the 
United States. 

Events featuring Malalai Joya are planned, from March 20 until April 
10, in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Maryland, Massachusetts, 
Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, 
Washington and California. Organizers of her speaking tour are 
encouraging people to contact the Department of State to ask them to 
fulfill the promise from the Obama Administration of “promoting the 
global marketplace of ideas” and grant Joya’s visa immediately.

Malalai Joya is available for a limited number of interviews. Contact
 Sonali Kolhatkar (626-676-7884), Prachi Patankar (917-415-0659), or 
Natalie Reyes (562) 319-3046).

* * * 

Praise for Malalai Joya and A Woman Among Warlords:

‘The youngest and most famous of all the women in the Afghan parliament…a powerful symbol of change’

- Guardian

‘A courageous female MP’

- The Times 

‘… one of the few symbols of hope for Afghanistan’s future.’

- New Statesman

‘Quite simply the most passionate and devastating critique of Western intervention in Afghanistan I have ever read.’

- Peace News

‘[Has] spoken her mind as few Afghan women dare to do’

- New York Times 

‘Malalai Joya leaves us with hope that the tormented people of 
Afghanistan can take their fate into their own hands if they are 
released from the grip of foreign powers.’

- Noam Chomsky

‘Unwavering in her mission to bring true democracy to her 
country…Women have been known to walk for miles just to touch her. For 
them, she is their only real hope for a better future’

- Telegraph

‘Joya is a model for women everywhere seeking to make the world more just.’

- Six women Nobel Peace Prize laureates

‘Joya’s pain and bravery are genuine and can be felt on almost every page’

- Christina Lamb, Sunday Times 

‘A fascinating account of Afghanistan’s political reality…Malalai Joya has been compared to Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi’

- Irish Times

‘Malalai Joya is a staunch defender of human rights and a powerful voice for Afghan women.’

- Human Rights Watch


- John Pilger


- The Independent 

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