Friday, May 21, 2010

Misrepresenting Malalai Joya... Again

[image is from here, at tehrantimes.com]

It is not uncommon in the West for white activists to misrepresent, misuse, and/or exploit the political views of women of color, wherever those women of color live. Lately, it seems as though few people are willing to accurately present or represent the views and politics of radical and revolutionary feminist Malalai Joya, preferring instead to promote their own political agendas as if Malalai Joya is on their side. Time magazine has done it, CNN has done it, Hillary Clinton has done it, and now a white Australian feminist has done it.

To all: please stop it. It's deeply misogynistic and racist, it is a form of Western cultural stereotyping, appropriation, and domination that is genocidal, and it is utterly disrespectful and dishonoring to a woman who is giving so much to fight for freedom for her countrywomen, and countrymen, while getting so little back in the way of support. When will whites learn to not speak for women of color, and to not exploit and misuse their work?

What follows is a cross post from *here*. You can also click on the title of the piece below.

Main | Portraying Muslims as sub-human is not 'free speech' »
Friday
May212010

The veil is a 'war against women' and Australia should ban it too

It would seem there are some things in Australia we are not allowed to discuss. A ban on the burqa is clearly one of them. But the time has come to get over our fears and cultural fragilities – and grow up. The call to ban the burqa is receiving serious consideration in European parliaments. And it should here, too.
Belgian legislators voted last month to outlaw the burqa in public places. On Wednesday, a bipartisan resolution passed by the French parliament deploring the burqa – on the grounds of "dignity" and "equality of men and women" – was presented to the French cabinet, and a ban is expected later this year. Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Canada are also grappling with the issue.
But in Australia, in a sign of cultural timidity and intellectual weakness, we seem intent on shunning any meaningful debate about the burqa and its place in a liberal democracy.
Virginia Haussegger in The Age, 21 May 2010

Haussenegger[sic*] quotes Malalai Joya in support of her argument, omitting to inform her readers that the Afghan politician has condemned proposals to ban the veil, on the grounds that it is "against the very basic element of democracy to restrict a human being from wearing the clothes of his/her choice".

See also "Nile vows to continue fight against the burqa ", Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 2010
____________________

*And to Bob Pitt, the writer of the blogpost above, please check the spellings of women's names. What you inadvertently (?) typed is really racist and is also disrespectful to Virginia Haussegger.

3 comments:

Oops I inked said...

What?

Be more specific. This is like reading a diet advertisement where we don't really get to the trick.

Malalai is an interesting character in Afghanistan, but exactly how is the West abusing her? Where are your examples? The article you cite doesn't portray any Western lens, nor does it include the quotation you reference. This article could be made much stronger with more specific references.

Regarding the issue surrounding the veil in Afghanistan, Malalai's ideal is nice, but unhelpful in achieving the end-state of women's freedom in Afghanistan.

Julian Real said...

Hi Oops I inked,

[This will be a two-part/comment answer.]

(Love the name. LOL... that line in Finding Nemo, or that moment, was hilarious!!!)

I'll first respond to what you wrote, in parts:

What?

Be more specific. This is like reading a diet advertisement where we don't really get to the trick.


I'll offer many links, below.

Malalai is an interesting character in Afghanistan, but exactly how is the West abusing her? Where are your examples?

You ask, "exactly how is the West is abusing her?" By bombing the shit out of her country, by raping and murdering her people, by silencing her speeches, by editing her message to the U.S. All of this is readily knowable, if you want to know about it.

The U.S. has been killing civilians in Afghanistan, "non-combatants" for many years. Given that most of us, without internet, have very limited and controlled media access, what media do you have access to? Do you visit "Democracy Now" online or listen on the radio or see their reports? What independent (non-corporate-controlled) media do you read or view?

The article you cite doesn't portray any Western lens, nor does it include the quotation you reference. This article could be made much stronger with more specific references.

Do you mean I don't use Western Patriarchal Racist Imperialist corporate-controlled media? Are you saying that the only views that matter are those filtered through a corporate Western white het male supremacist lens?

Regarding the issue surrounding the veil in Afghanistan, Malalai's ideal is nice, but unhelpful in achieving the end-state of women's freedom in Afghanistan.

What do you mean, "unhelpful"? Do you mean it's not helpful for human rights activists to speak out against atrocities against their people? Do you mean speaking truth to power isn't helpful? To whom is not helpful? You? That's rather not the point, is it? If it is helpful to the oppressed people, that is the point. What perspective do you hold that allows you to say it is "unhelpful"? Do you live there? Are you an Afghan woman? In what ways do you see U.S. and NATO troops raping and murdering women being in Afghan women's interests?

Here are some links:

http://cursor.org/stories/civilian_deaths.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7Rws2VLqpY

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/4/3/noam

http://stopwarblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/chomsky-on-afghanistan.html

Julian Real said...

Part 2 of 2 in response to Oops I inked.


I also recommend reading Malalai Joya's autobiography:

http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Malalai-Joya/49986851/biography

Read and watch anything Malalai Joya has online--in her own voice, including things posted here on this blog. Just do a word search in the bar on the right or up top on the left, for "Malalai Joya". I post regularly about her and her work and efforts, so I'd hope you'd seek out other posts to augment what is written in this one.

The U.S. is extremely well-known for invading countries of color for reasons other than what they say, for utterly callous-to-humanity and self-serving reasons, serving U.S. military and corporate economic interests; in ways that are genocidal and ecocidal, and misogynistic and white supremacist. This so well documented it amazes me when someone with internet access doesn't know this.

If you don't know this, and would like to know all the grim details, please read the work of John Perkins and Noam Chomsky, for example. But before consulting the views of white men, consult the views of the women who directly experience the violence of the U.S. military and corporations.

The U.S. is interested in Malalai Joya only to exploit her as an Afghan woman activist who is anti-Taliban. The U.S. media and government are in collaboration to present a mythic idea that the U.S. military gives a shit about Afghan women's human rights. It doesn't.

It has repeatedly demonstrated, in obvious ways, in (and on) Time magazine, on CNN, that it will not tell her the U.S. public what the totality of her views are, especially and specifically when and how she criticises U.S. mass murder and oppression of women and men in Afghanistan.

The "answer" lies in her and her countrypeople's hands, not in mine, not in President Obama's, not in yours unless you are an oppressed citizen of Afghanistan.

See:

http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/2010/04/what-time-wont-tell-tthe-magazine-names.html

and

http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/2010/05/womens-day-in-australia-malalai-joya.html

and

http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/2010/05/malalai-joya-speaks-out-on-times.html

I recommend you support justice for women in Afghanistan by opposing ALL invaders, including the U.S. and NATO forces.

Let me know if this reply didn't address your concerns or questions.