Oct 26 2009

Malalai Joya – ‘A Woman Among Warlords’ speaking in NYC

Malalai Joya is speaking tomorrow at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.

This extraordinary woman and her story of courage and spirit is just what the World needs! During the Taliban rule Malalai Joya started underground schools in defiance of the oppressive militants. She spoke out against the war criminals and drug Lords of Afghanistan and at the age of 27 stood for parliament elections while facing death threats. Her enemies call her a ‘dead woman walking’. “I am young and I want to live. But I say to those who would eliminate my voice: ‘I am ready, wherever and whenever you might strike. You can cut down the flower, but nothing can stop the coming of the spring.” The Independant has done a great story on her while The Gaurdian features her message to the British people. After being deposed in 2007 for publicly denouncing the corrupt war Lords in the Aghani Parliament her voice sounds a signal of truth and justice at a time when words like democracy and freedom are being misused to send more troops into Afghanistan.

Malalai Joya

Malalai Joya

Watch Wide Angle’s documentary about this Woman Among Warlords. It’s an incredible story about about one woman’s conviction and strength to stand against deadly wrongs and believe in her power as an individual. If this doesn’t move you and Hollywood’s heroic tales do, then we all might as well ask Will Smith to save the World. Because according to me the cards are on the table and increasing troops in Afghanistan is America trying to star in Hollywood’s next version of ‘The Declaration of Independence.’

Come hear these women raise their voices.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27TH, 2009

THE SKYLIGHT ROOM, 3 PM—5 PM

CUNY GRADUATE CENTER, 365 FIFTH AVE @ 34TH ST.

Malalai Joya, Minister of Parliament in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. She is the author of A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice (Simon and Schuster, 2009).

Awista Ayub fled Afghanistan in 1981 for the U.S. After the fall of the Taliban, she returned to Kabul and founded the Afghan Youth Sports Exchange, dedicated to nurturing Afghan girls through soccer. Her work is the subject of However Tall the Mountain (Hyperion 2009).

Nasrine Gross, founder of The Roqia Center for Women’s Rights, Studies and Education in Afghanistan. Professor Gross’ work is profiled in Walking the Precipice: Witness to the Rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan (Feminist Press, 2009).

Moderated by: Laura Flanders, GritTV

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Sep 25 2009

Hollywood and Media- Creating reels about the real Muslim.

One of the notions I wanted to explore in the taxi dialogues was perceptions about Muslims. It’s a tough one to deal with and can come across as being ill informed. However I wanted to give the chance for this topic to surface. There is a shot of a young Hindu driver, Ram Singh asking an old Muslim passenger with a white beard this question. He asks, rather apologetically but also with a hint of curiosity, “If you don’t mind my asking, why does it seem that all terrorists are Muslims?” In fact any taxi drivers removed symbols of their faith after the 1992 – 93 communal riots in Bombay.

A taxi driver displaying symbols of his faith. Something which changed after the 1992 - 93 communal riots in Bombay.

So the taxi drivers and passengers both had some prolific comments to make. But they didn’t look at the media or cinema and how it creates images. Post 26/11 there has been enough media bashing in India and Bollywood isn’t critiqued enough by the masses anyways. However Bollywood’s grand daddy Hollywood has surely come under the radar.

Yesterday I came across this gallery about Muslim celebrities in Hollywood. There are some fine men and women featured. But there seems to be an underlying current that their work is or should be directly connected to their faith. I think it may or may not be. In the case of ‘Allah Made me Funny’, it’s perfect to use humor to break down stereotypes and perceptions. The moment you laugh or don’t laugh about something, you either realize your beliefs on something or change your take on it by the simple act of laughing.

I also came across a great event at The Asian Pacific American Institute at NYU. It will be held today, the 25th of September between 6 and 8 pm at Tisch. Dr. Jack Shaheen is having a screening of his documentary, ‘Guilty Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs After 9/11′ followed by a Q and A of his work.
Go to http://www.apa.nyu.edu/ to RSVP. It’s open to the public.

And please keep commenting on the blog itself and not on Facebook :)

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