"I Don't Fear Death - I Fear Political Silence"

By Laycock, Kate | New Statesman (1996), January 2, 2012 | Go to article overview

"I Don't Fear Death - I Fear Political Silence"


Laycock, Kate, New Statesman (1996)


The young man from the German Left Party is apologetic. "Malalai won't be able to meet you at 11. Her symbolic presence is needed on the boat," he explains. The boat turns out to be a small, two-storey river vessel decked out in peace flags and anti-war slogans. Bonn is once again playing host to an international conference on Afghanistan - ten years to the day since the first - and the nearest protesters have been able to come is a boat in the middle of the Rhine. I find Malalai Joya sipping herbal tea on the second deck. She looks tired. "I'm not tired. I am strong and fearless," she jokes.

The role of "symbolic presence" is not new to Joya. This slight, earnest-looking woman from Farah Province first came to international attention in 2003, when she stood up in Afghanistan's constitutional assembly to denounce the presence of "criminals" on its benches. In 2005, she became the country's youngest ever parliamentarian, only to be dismissed two years later for criticising the corruption of her colleagues. Despite repeated death threats, Joya has continued to speak out against what she calls Afghanistan's "corrupt, puppet-mafia regime". She is, she says, "surprised to be alive".

Like so many of the country's activists, Joya lives underground, moving from safe house to safe house, never staying in the same place for more than a few nights. Despite the peril of her situation, she has become a point of contact for women fleeing domestic violence, rape or forced marriage. "I try to help them," she says, "but it's a drop in the ocean." When Joya talks about the young women who seek her out, her voice softens and her eyes light up. It is, she Sctys, people, not ideology, who give her the strength to carry on. Ideology is suspect in Afghanistan. "They occupied my country under the banner of democracy, humanrights and women's rights," she explains. "They misuse the stories of the women in my country to justify their warmongering."

Sick man of Asia

The boat judders to a crawl. Through the windows, we can make out the white outline of the Hotel Petersberg, where the future of Afghanistan is being debated. "It's a conference of propaganda and lies," Joya says bitterly. "It's as though my country were a sick body, with everyone fighting over the pieces."

In December 2001, the hilltop hotel hosted the first international conference on Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai was installed as leader of an interim government and Germany's then chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, promised the country "peace and prosperity" after "all the years of war ... and humiliation". In the intervening decade, there have been many more conferences and Joya has repeatedly campaigned to be admitted as a delegate.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"I Don't Fear Death - I Fear Political Silence"
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.