Reena, a member of the Revolutionary Association of the women of Afghanistan (RAWA), will address American audiences via live video stream from Afghanistan.
Download the flyer here.
AWM Co-Director Sonali Kolhatkar will lead the conversation with Reena via video streaming in front of a live audience. The event will be webcast live on AWM's website. Questions will be drawn from the in-person audience and the online audience via Facebook.Watch a live webcast of the entire event on AWM's website. Click here to find out the time of the webcast in your city. RSVP to the event on Facebook!
Organized in collaboration with PCC's Students for Social Justice. KPFK is a media sponsor.
"Ten years of war has not made Afghanistan safer for anybody except the fundamentalist warlords in the Afghan government, and the Taliban," said Reena. This anniversary event, in collaboration with PCC's Students for Social Justice, will raise serious questions about the official story of the longest war the U.S. has ever officially waged, and will offer the unique perspective of an underground Afghan activist who has witnessed first-hand the impact of the war.
"Using the latest technology available, we are thrilled to be able to broadcast RAWA's voice well beyond the confines of our physical event," said Kolhatkar. "We invite people from all over the world to mark the tenth anniversary of this war by tuning into our live web video stream of our conversation with Reena."
Nineteen year old Reena has been a member of RAWA for the past 5 years, and is involved in RAWA's social activities, which focus on women's rights, human rights, and exposing the fundamentalist crimes of warlords in power, as well as the Taliban. As the oldest women's political organization in Afghanistan, RAWA has been promoting human rights and democracy for more than 30 years. Their work is extremely dangerous - all RAWA members use pseudonyms, do not reveal their faces, and live and work underground.
On September 14th 2001 RAWA issued a statement warning the US against waging war on Afghanistan, saying "vast and indiscriminate military attacks on a country that has been facing ...disasters for more than two decades will not be a matter of pride."On October 11th 2001, four days after the bombs began dropping on Afghanistan, RAWA once more urged the US to do the right thing, predicting accurately the outcome of the war in a statement: "he continuation of US attacks and the increase in the number of innocent civilian victims not only gives an excuse to the Taliban, but also will cause the empowering of the fundamentalist forces in the region and even in the world." A month after the war began, when the Taliban were rapidly pushed out of Kabul, RAWA realized that the US was ready to replace the Taliban with their ideological brethren, the Northern Alliance (NA) warlords. They issued yet another international appeal, warning: "he NA will horribly intensify the ethnic and religious conflicts and will never refrain to fan the fire of another brutal and endless civil war in order to retain in power." Sadly RAWA's warnings were ignored and the last ten years have borne out their predictions.
Civilian casualties as a result of the ten year long Afghanistan war have been estimated at 17, 611 - 37, 208, with more than half killed directly as a result of U.S.-led military actions (Sources: UN Assistance Mission Afghanistan, Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch, and Associated Press). A recent report by Open Society Foundation found that night raids conducted regularly by US and NATO forces in Afghan villages result in indiscriminate detentions and widespread abuse. Politically things aren't much better. Afghanistan's government, dominated by the US-backed NA warlords whom RAWA warned against, is ranked the second most corrupt in the world after Somalia (Transparency International). Through the Afghan parliament, warlords have passed laws exempting themselves from prosecution for war crimes, curtailing press freedoms, and promoting women's abuse. Women in particular continue to suffer. A survey by UNIFEM in January 2011 revealed that a shocking 87% of Afghan women are victims of domestic violence. A UK based charity, Womankind, found that "between 60 and 80 percent of Afghan marriages are forced, with more than half of all girls married before age 16." While women can run for office in the Afghan parliament, they are only allowed to serve if they accept the status quo. The well-known and popular activist, Malalai Joya, a representative of Farah province, was kicked out of Parliament for criticizing the US-backed warlords and has survived numerous assassination attempts. According to RAWA member Reena, the first thing that needs to happen is for Americans to "call for the withdrawal of the troops, as the military presence has not helped Afghan people in any way." Her opinion is supported by a majority of Americans: a Washington Post-ABC News poll in March showed that 64% of poll participants somewhat or strongly felt that the war has not been worth fighting.