We are the EnemyMy friend Malalai Joya, Afghan politician, pro-democracy, human rights and womens rights campaigner, has been rightly labelled by the BBC as one of the bravest people in the world.
And living in one of the world’s most (man-made) dangerous places, Malalai Joya has to be brave. Just staying alive is an extraordinary act of individual and collective bravery and defiance for Malalai and for all of the Afghanistan people.
Malalai first achieved world notice as a young woman who walked into the misogynist and contrived Afghanistan parliament and denounced from the public “gallery” all of the “criminals on the benches.”
Those criminals, are the “war lords” (read militant “drug-money, gun-running provincial robber – bandit – lords”) who sit in parliament to this day under protection and financial support from the international occupation forces of the United States and its 42 allies, including its super-glued ally, Australia.
Shortly after that courageous denouncement, in an extraordinary demonstration of public bravery and defiance by the ordinary Afghanistan people, Malalai was elected to that same Afghanistan parliament – despite being young, and even despite being a woman. Only to find herself criminally expelled from the parliament two years later, for boldly speaking out too often, for giving a voice to the deliberately held voiceless, in a “show trial” parliament where “freedom of speech” is strictly verboten.
“Time magazine has called Malalai one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Under the Taliban she operated secret underground schools providing an education for the country’s girls. She’s an outspoken critic of Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai and of the US-led occupation. But speaking out has come at a cost. There have been six attempts on her life. The most recent scare came just last month when gunman attacked her office in Kabul.”
I was fortunate to catch up with Malalai several times during her current visit to Australia.
This is Malalai’s fourth mission to Australia to ask the Australian government and the Australian people to remove our occupying forces from her country. The Dutch, the first NATO forces to withdraw, did so over a year ago.
I can’t help but feel the hypocrisy. If the Lady of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi were to visit Australia, I can see Suu Kyi being invited (even begged) by the Australian Government to address sittings of the Australian House of Representatives and of the Australian Senate. And I and 22M other Australians would quite rightly laud and appreciate every word Suu Kyi would say to us.
No such Australian government recognition or invitations to address the Australian House of Representatives or the Australian Senate for my friend Malalai Joya, the Lady of Afghanistan though. De-occupation and self-determination is not on the US-led NATO occupation’s agenda for the Afghanistan people.
Two modern day Joan of Arcs. Two similarly indigenous populations. Both indigenous populations geo-politically recognised, including by membership of the United Nations. Both seeking restoration to self-determination and home rule. Two similar tragic histories of British colonial occupation and British, Westminster and external rule. Yet two totally different perceptions and treatments on the world stages of modern government and modern media. Why the double standards?
Suu Kyi is the Lady of Burma, a nation with amazing histories of tragedy and tyranny, histories very like Australia’s (from indigenous and from working class perspectives). Burma’s histories of tragedies and tyrannies, like Australia’s and like Afghanistan’s and like fifty other ex-British places (New Zealand, Kenya ..) all stem from the same wellspring of the crookedness of British colonial occupation and exploitation.
All forms of junta are bad, whether they are military, economic, lawyerocracy or all two or three in nature.
Today’s Burma is a nation that the West chooses to condemn for its explicitly militaristic junta and too obvious oppression of its people. And Burma, geo-politically speaking, will never be as strategic a possession as, say, Hong Kong, or Afghanistan, Panama, Egypt, or even the Falkland Islands, Vietnam, Korea ever were or are.
But at the grass-roots level of ordinary daily human existence, are the Burmese under the triple hammer of military – lawyerocracy – economic junta worse off or better off than the Afghanistani’s under 3 layers of military – economic – lawless enemy occupations?
As Malalai explains so tellingly, Afghanistan is a nation occupied by 3 enemies. The weakest of these enemies is the Taliban, an enemy with local Afghanistan roots. The stronger enemy with even stronger local Afghanistan roots, (within their own regions and provinces) are the tribal war lords. But by far the strongest and therefore most-to-be-feared enemy of all, playing “god father” protector of the war lord elites is the 42-nation, US-led occupying force under the banner of NATO.
Malalai Joya’s messages, messages which may in all probability cost her her life, are simple.
“Give Afghans self-determination.”
“No nation can give freedom or democracy to another nation. Every people has to earn its freedom for itself.”
“We are as bad off under the US-led occupation as we were under the occupation of the war lords and the Taliban. We want the “Americans” to leave us to sort out our own problems with the war lords and the Taliban. We know it will be hard. Many will be hurt. But we are hurting now. It will be easier to sort out our problems with our own war lords and criminals, and territory hungry neighbouring countries, once the Americans are gone.”
All Westerners look like Americans to Afghan locals. Thanks to centuries of occupations dating back to the dawn of the British Raj, Westminster occupation interrupted only briefly by a period of Soviet Russian occupation in the 1980s, today Afghanistan has some of the lowest rates of education, literacy and living standards in the world. Illiteracy exceeds 50% for men and boys, and exceeds 70% for women and girls.
Malalai also explains that President Obama’s promise to withdraw the US and NATO (including Australian) troops from Afghanistan in 2014 is just a convenient lie. The Afghanistan people expect that far from a complete withdrawal of foreign troops, “due to a change in circumstances” the build up of US and NATO forces is going to increase.
On the chess board of international world domination, the strategic position of Afghanistan (one of the four innermost squares on the board) makes it too vital (especially with unavoidable loss of Hong Kong to the Chinese) for the US and its allies ever to cease occupation of Afghanistan – as a couple of centuries of British-Russian-US occupation of Afghanistan demonstrate.
Malalai’s request for self-determination for the Afghanistan people can be summarised as a simple plea to the military West to “please leave us alone, to sort out our own lands and our own problems, rather than invading us and bringing your bigger overwhelming problems with you.” It is a powerful argument. And the US-led NATO occupation is totally indefensible.
I was fortunate to see a Television interview on the Australian Broadcasting Commission‘s program “Lateline” this week. Interviewed by presenter Emma Alberici, Malalai Joya powerfully delivered her messages from the occupied Afghanistan people to the occupying Australian people.
There is a magical moment in this interview where Malalai explains to the ABC host, Emma Alberici that Afghanistan is occupied by 3 enemies, “the Taliban, the War Lords and the US occupying forces (including Australia).” Emma Alberici responds, with shocked disbelief (at first) that the Australian soldiers in Afghanistan are considered “an enemy” by Malalai and the Afghan people: “.. are you calling AUSTRALIA the enemy ..?” .. The growing awareness across Ms Alberici’s face, the dawning of the truth of Malalai’s words of truth, this moment is truly inspiring.
Malalai Joya may have achieved in that moment no small victory for her Afghanistan people, and for my Australian people.
The Australian Broadcasting Commission is the publicly funded broadcasting arm of the Australian Government. I know and could (but won’t) list some amazing individual journalists, presenters, producers and the like who could be described as “counter revolutionaries” in the pursuit of truth over political spin and unspeak.
Actually, I will single out just one, Andrew J Fowler, the author of the Julian Assange biography “The Most Dangerous Man in the World”, whose ABC 4Corners program “The Comeback Kid” on Julia Gillard’s lying game of politics and her puppeteers’ treacherous June 24, 2010 coup against the elected Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, triggered Kevin’s doomed February 2012 challenge to the Australian Labor Party to reinstal him as a legitimate Prime Minister of Australia: click here.
The journalists, presenters and producers hired by the Australian Broadcasting Commissioner are, generally speaking, people of extremely high quality. But despite all this, in the main the output of the Australian Broadcasting Commission is inevitably – because of its political mastery and funding source – no more than the Politburo, the PR and propaganda arm of an Australian Government. And under our Australian government of unelected bureaucracy chiefs, unelected chief judiciary and token-elected but unrepresentative parliamentarians, the ABC is little more than a government agency that, with few magical flashes aside, is a chief government means of brainwashing the brainwashed Australian public.
And from that televised magical moment, between Malalai Joya and Emma Alberici, at least one Australian Broadcasting Commission presenter (and hopefully many Australians in the televised audience watching) will have glimpsed the great wall of brainwashed and brainwashing that is the Australian government and its powerful propaganda and PR, and seen the wall begin to fall. We must bring down this wall.
From that magical moment, hopefully a life-changing moment for Emma Alberici amongst others, the Australian people can now see, thanks to Malalai Joya, that when the Australian government sends our soldiers (and/or federal police) to invade and to occupy diverse nations such as Afghanistan, East Timor, West Papua, Papua New Guinea, the Solomons, Bougainville, South Africa etc etc (let alone historical white-washing of past foreign invasions such as Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Laos, Korea, Turkey, 19th century Boer Sud Afrika etc etc) we are indeed an invading army, we are indeed the enemy.
We must bring down this wall. The stone wall of the “Ministry of Truth” PR and propaganda, the brainwashing of the brainwashed Australian people by the brainwashed of the Australian media, this wall must be brought down. Julian Assange’s Wikileaks is just the first battering attempt. And only we Australians can bring down this wall of disinformation and lies. As in Afghanistan, nobody can do us our freedom for us.
And we must accept that we are the enemy in Afghanistan. Yes us naïve, sun loving, fun loving, sports loving Australians have been manipulated by our Australian political masters, who in the international chess game of world domination have super-glued us to the United States of America (a super power whose militancy increases as its economic might declines). Us naïve Australians have been manipulated by our political masters and their foreign allies, into becoming the enemies of the Afghanistan people.
We 22 million Australians must accept that we have no national interests in the affairs of the peoples of Afghanistan. We are not wanted there. We do not belong their. We must apologise. We should be held accountable for our wrongful invasion and acts of aggression. We should be compelled by our own consciences to pay compensation to the indigenous people of Afghanistan for our, tresspasses and our decade long aborigination of them in their own homeland.
We are the enemy of the Afghanistan people.
And being so, we are the enemy of ourselves.
As Whitlam did for Vietnam when he was elected as Prime Minister of Australia for the first time in 1972 we must support the Afghanistan people by bringing our soldiers out of Afghanistan (and East Timor, South Africa etc etc). We must bring them home, now. We must bring them back onto our own soil and keep them here. Our soldiers should be home here in Australia, where they too are safe from harm and where they are saved from doing harm unto others.
James Johnson, Independent Federal Candidate for Lalor (in the) Australian House of Representatives