Afghan Activist to Visit So Cal For Numerous Local Events

The Afghan Women’s Mission
is proud to present:
“I am the Woman Who Has Awoken”
The Voice of Afghan Women’s Resistance

There will be a series of free and open lectures by Tahmeena Faryal at various campuses and spaces during Nov. 12-15 in Southern California. I encourage you to come to at least one of the events. Tahmeena’s schedule is solidly booked so there will be no additional events. Please send all press inquiries to press@afghanwomensmission.org

Absolutely NO CAMERAS allowed at any event.

Please arrive early to ensure seating.

Please leave large bags and bookbags behind.

Call 626-304-3756 for more information.

Schedule of Events

Monday November 12th 11 am to 2 pm
UCLA Campus, Ackerman Grand Ballroom
. . . . . .

Organized by the UCLA Students Against the War, and UCLA Center for the Study of Women and endorsed by UCLA Raza Womyn, UCLA Fem News Magazine, Women in Black LA, Coalition for World Peace, Amnesty International Santa Monica, and National Lawyers Guild.


Monday November 12th 6:30 pm
USC Campus, Taper Hall of Humanities (THH) 101
. . . . . .

Organized by the USC Political Violence Initiative, The Unruh Institute, The Center for Feminist Research, The Southern California Educators for Peace and endorsed by Women in Black LA, Coalition for World Peace, Amnesty International Santa Monica.


Tuesday November 13th 7:30 pm
Avery Auditorium, Pitzer College,
1050 N. Mills, Claremont

. . . . . .

Organized by the Pitzer Women’s Center with the help of Pitzer College Dean of Faculty Office and the Scripps College student organizations: Wana Wake, Asian Students Association, Multi-Cultural Resource Center, Scripps College NOW


Thursday November 15th 10 am
Cal State San Bernadino, Event Center A
. . . . . .

Organized by the The Intellectual Life and Visiting Scholars Committee, International Institute Women’s Studies Program, Sociology Club, Department of Physics


Thursday November 15th 6:30 pm
FINAL EVENT OF THE WEEK, ALSO LARGEST SEATING CAPACITY
First Congregational Church, 464 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena
Sign Language Interpreters present.

. . . . . .

Organized by Peace and Justice Concerns Committee of Fuller Theological Seminary, Amnesty International Pasadena, Caltech Progressive Coalition, Pasadena City College Students for Social Justice, Women in Black Los Angeles, Coalition for World Peace, Caltech Peaceful Justice Coalition and American Friends Service Committee and National Lawyers Guild.

The Algebra of Infinite Injustice: A Fundraiser for RAWA

A Fund Raiser for RAWA’s Malalai Hospital

In addition to the various free lectures, the Afghan Women’s Mission, in conjunction with Mia Kirshner and Track 16 Art Gallery, present “The Algebra of Infinite Injustice”, an evening of art, music, and words in support of RAWA.

Honoring Tahmeena Faryal of RAWA, Pakistan

Wednesday, November 14 2001 at 7 pm
Track 16 Gallery*, 2525 Michigan Avenue, C1, Santa Monica
(exit 10 fwy at Cloverfield. Go north. Turn right on Michigan)

Until a few years ago, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) administered the Malalai Hospital in Quetta, Pakistan. The hospital, one of the finest in the region, treated up to four hundred people a day, including landmine victims. Due to lack of funds, the hospital has been forced to shut down. The current war has only worsened conditions in Afghanistan, paving the way for a humanitarian disaster.

RAWA needs $300,000 to reopen Malalai Hospital.

RAWA was formed in Kabul in 1977 as a way to promote women’s rights through nonviolent action. Since then, this organization has evolved – it now runs schools, orphanages, mobile health-care units, self-help classes, and adult literacy classes, and it also provides emergency relief in refugee camps. The Afghan Women’s Mission was formed as the North American fundraiser for RAWA.
rsvp 310-456-5906

$100 Suggested Donation

$500 for 6PM cocktail party with Tahmeena Faryal

$2,500 Super Friends

No Host Bar

Absolutely No Photography

Make checks payable to the IHC/Afghan Women’s Mission, mail to 2460 N. Lake Avenue, PMB 207, Altadena, CA 91001. This event will sell out, get your reservation in soon.

ORGANIZED BY

Mia Kirshner, Pilar Perez, Sonali Kolhatkar, Steve Penners, Cindy Ojeda and Natasha Gregson Wagner

EVENT COMMITTEE

Bonnie Abaunza, Lida Abdullah, Roya Adjory, Kooshy Afshar, Ann Archer Artists for Amnesty, B+, Mariana Botey, Exene Cervenka, Susan Clark, Robbie Conal, Peter Coyote, Alfonso Cuaron, John Cusack, Dana Delany, John Densmore, D.V. DiVincentis, Robert Downey, Jr., Cheryl Dunn, Dave Eggers, Eve Ensler, Deliah Ephron, Nora Ephron, Jodie Evans, Susan Feiniger, Helen Fielding, Anne Fishbein, Bill Fishman, Stephen Frears, Eve and Bill Gerber, Dana Gluckstein, Marsea Goldberg, Ryan Gosring, Melanie Griffith, Guerrila Girls, Tom Hayden, Leslie Hope, Stephen Hopkins, Nick Hornby, Khaled Hosseini, Roya Hosseini, Arianna Huffington, Steve Irvin, Cynthia Janos, Glenn Kaino, Earl Katz, Diane Keaton, Sally Kellerman, Gita Khashabi, Lisa Love, Ustad Mahwash, Rebecca Marder, Ali McGraw, Dylan McDermott, Mary Sue Milliken, Sedika Mojadidi, Viggo Mortensen, Amitis Motevalli, Meena Nanji, Manuel and Sherry Ocampo, Will Oldham, Tom Patchett, Marisa Pearl, Rosie Perez, Sarah Polley, Katha Pollitt, Bonnie Raitt, Mary Anne Reyes, Shiva Rose, Arita Shahrzad, Laurie Steelink, Nancy Stevens, Eric Stoltz, Tara Subkoff, James Taylor, Ed Templeton, Benicio del Toro, Robert and Jill Wagner, Dan Waters, Chloe Webb, Mike Welch, Carol Wells, Barbara Williams, Alfre Woodard

*On view at the Gallery (beginning Nov. 10):

HERE IS NEW YORK
Images from the Frontline of History: A Democracy of Photographs

A VIEW FROM A GRAIN OF SAND
Images of RAWA’s Projects and the Lives of Afghan Refugees by Steve Penners, AWM President

OVERFLOWING
Lida Abdullah, Gita Khashabi, and Amitis Motevalli

Afghan Women’s Mission to U.S. Government: Halt Bombing Immediately

Hundreds of thousands will starve if not helped by mid-November

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Voice: 626-676-7884
E-mail: info_at_afghanwomensmission.org

The Afghan Women’s Mission calls upon the government of the United States to immediately suspend military air strikes on Afghanistan in order to allow convoys to deliver food and medicines to millions of Afghans before winter sets in.

“Hundreds of thousands of Afghans are on the verge of starving to death. We cannot look the other way,” said Sonali Kolhatkar, Vice President of Afghan Women’s Mission.

The Mission joins Oxfam International, Islamic Relief, and other international relief agencies in warning of the potentially catastrophic consequences of the bombing if humanitarian deliveries continue to be cut back.

In an October 23 statement, the president of the United Nations Security Council emphasized the “importance of ensuring that emergency supplies are delivered to Afghans in need as quickly as possible.” The Afghan Women’s Mission welcomes the UN’s demand on the Taliban to “stop preventing aid from reaching the Afghan people and stop threatening the safety and security of aid workers,” but this is not enough, because aid deliveries are also threatened by air strikes. The safe distribution of materials and administration of medicines to the vulnerable Afghan people requires an end to the bombing campaign.

Over 4 million Afghans depend on international aid to survive. In addition to over two decades of continuous war, the Afghan people are experiencing a three-year drought, the worst in over three decades. Oxfam estimates that even before the tragic events of September 11, 5.5 million Afghans were “already at risk of severe food shortages.” After September 11, the threat of a US attack on Afghanistan caused aid agencies to withdraw their international staff from the country. The already fragile infrastructure of aid distribution has begun to break down, and hundreds of thousands of Afghans teeter on the brink of starvation with borders on all sides of the country virtually shut down.

After the bombing began on October 7, any remaining aid convoys were curtailed dramatically, since “truck drivers are…unwilling to take to the roads to deliver goods…because of fear of US-led bombing or attacks by one or another of the factions,” said Refugees International. This has been exacerbated, according to Oxfam, by the breakdown of law and order in some parts of the country where NGOs and the UN operate.

“The missile strikes make our job harder to do,” said Stephanie Bunker of the United Nations, mentioning a “six week race against winter,” after which it will be extremely difficult to get aid into the country. According to UNICEF, “as many as 100,000 more children will die…this winter unless food reaches them…in the next six weeks.” Two million people do not have enough food to last the winter, and 500,000 of them will be unreachable after snow begins to fall in mid November.

“It is evident now that we cannot, in reasonable safety, get food to hungry Afghan people,” said Oxfam director Barbara Stocking.

More information about the plight of Afghan refugees is also available on the Afghan Women’s Mission website, http://www.afghanwomensmission.org, and the RAWA website, http://www.rawa.org.

AWM Participates in Public Forum on Media and Terrorism

10-19-2001 – Sonali Kolhatkar, Vice President of the Afghan Women’s Mission was a guest speaker for a series of events sponsored by the Pacifica Campaign this weekend.

The events took place at University of California at Los Angeles, First Congregational Church in Long Beach, University of California at Irvine and the Unitarian Universalist Church in North Hills, CA.

Kolhatkar focused on the history of Afghan women’s rights, the current Afghan humanitarian crisis, and the role of the United States. The events were well attended and highlighted the struggle of the Pacifica Campaign and the need for non-commercial media now more than ever.

Corrosion of Conformity to Screen DVD to Benefit Afghan Women

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Voice: 626-676-7884
E-mail: info_at_afghanwomensmission.org

Corrosion of Conformity, Raleigh’s Grammy Award-nominated rock band, will hold a special screening of its Live Volume DVD at the Rialto Theater, 1620 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh, on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. All box office and merchandise profits from the event – titled Live Volume: The Movie – will go to benefit the Afghan Women’s Mission.

Based in Pasadena, CA, the mission is the charitable arm of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. Originally formed to resist Soviet military occupation, RAWA today defies fundamentalist Islamic Taliban policies that prohibit women from participating in public life, earning a living or even seeking education. This organization of courageous, pro-democracy Afghan women has established schools for girls and boys, has founded a hospital for refugee Afghan women and children, conducts literacy education and provides information about the situation in the country to human rights and news organizations. Its members do so at great personal risk, as the penalty for undertaking these things is death.

“On Sept. 11, Americans experienced unspeakable terror,” said COC’s Pepper Keenan. “But it’s come to my attention since then that the women of Afghanistan have been living under terror day in and day out, for years. Mothers are responsible for teaching children. If the mothers of Afghanistan aren’t allowed to learn themselves, how can they teach?”

Added bassist Mike Dean, “Due to the overwhelming response that the relief efforts have received since the attacks, there are some causes that have slipped off the public’s radar screen. This is an important one.”

The Live Volume CD and DVD were recorded on April 20 at Harpo’s in Detroit, Mich. The CD – COC’s first official live recording – was released Aug. 7 by Raleigh-based Sanctuary Records, and the DVD is scheduled for release on Oct. 9. Sanctuary also put out America’s Volume Dealer, COC’s first studio effort for the company, on Oct 10, 2000. The band previously recorded for the Columbia, Relativity and Metal Blade labels.

Formed in 1982 by Raleigh drummer Reed Mullin, guitarist Woody Weatherman and bassist Mike Dean, COC was one of the first bands to combine the ferocity of hardcore punk with heavy metal. A longtime underground legend, COC gained mainstream recognition in 1994 after the release of its Deliverance album with the singles “Clean My Wounds” and “Albatross.” James Hetfield of Metallica contributed guest vocals to the song “Man or Ash” on Wiseblood, COC’s 1996 effort, and Metallica invited the band to join its nine-month tour of the U.S. and Europe. “Drowning in a Daydream,” Wiseblood’s first single, garnered a 1997 Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance.

After undergoing several personnel shifts through the decades, COC last year arrived at the current line-up showcased on Live Volume: Keenan, Weatherman, Dean, and Jimmy Bower of renowned New Orleans dirge rockers Eyehategod on drums. COC continues to honor its heavy roots, but it has branched out to cover a broader range of expression. Warren Haynes, formerly with the Allman Brothers Band and now with Gov’t Mule, contributed a soulful slide guitar part to “Stare Too Long” off AVD, which also includes tracks with Keenan on acoustic guitar and Dean on piano.

While COC’s studio work has won accolades, the band is especially well known for the energy and intensity of its live performances, effectively captured on the Live Volume DVD. The Rialto screening represents the 88-minute DVD’s first public showing. Tickets for the event are , with all profits going to the Afghan Women’s Mission. The DVD will be available at the event for .95, along with other COC merchandise. Doors open at 7 p.m., and band members will be available to sign autographs before the 8 p.m. screening.

Advance tickets will be available for sale at the Rialto box office starting Monday, Oct. 8.

For more information on RAWA and the Afghan Women’s Mission, visit www.rawa.org.

For more information on COC, visit www.corrosivecabaal.com.

AWM Releases Statement in Wake of Attacks in New York, DC and Pennsylvania.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Voice: 626-676-7884
E-mail: info_at_afghanwomensmission.org

The Afghan Women’s Mission strongly denounces the acts of cruel violence committed on September the 11th, 2001, resulting in the loss of thousands of American lives. We join the country and world in grieving for those who were killed in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania.

However, we strongly urge the US Government and it’s allies to not carry out military attacks on Afghanistan in retaliation for these violent acts. Afghanistan is a country devastated by more than two decades of war, starting from the late 1970s when fundamentalists called the Mujahadeen, armed and trained by the US government and other countries, fought the Soviet occupation of their country. After the Soviet withdrawal in the early 1990s, in-fighting between the various Mujahadeen groups resulted in the destruction of most of the infrastructure in cities such as the capital Kabul. When the fundamentalist Taliban took over most of Afghanistan in 1996, the situation only worsened for Afghans. As we all know, the Taliban are the most repressive government in the world today, and do not represent the Afghan people.

Afghans have been suffering the results of extreme war, poverty, disease, hunger, lack of education, health care and shelter for too long. Afghans comprise the second largest refugee group in the world today. In addition, there are millions of internally displaced Afghans who are living on the edge of survival throughout the country. To attack Afghanistan now would be to attack a weak and defenseless people who have no control over those that rule them with violence and terror. While we insist that those responsible should be identified and tried in a court of law, we urge the United States government to not answer violence with violence.

The Afghan Women’s Mission also urges our fellow Americans to remember the values of freedom and respect for diversity that make this country great. We need to remind each other of the reactionary backlash towards Americans of Japanese descent who were unfairly targeted in 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In the wake of the tragedy on September 11th, let us treat each other with respect and dignity, regardless of national origin or religion.

The Afghan Women’s Mission works to support long term positive change in Afghanistan via health and educational projects.

Afghan City of Yakawlang Destroyed by Taliban

Thousands of Innocents Flee for Refuge as International Community Remains Silent

The lives of the people of Yakawlang have been devastated by the massacre of 300 town residents in January, 2001, followed by see-saw battles between Taliban and United Front forces during the past several months with terror tactics by troops from both sides, in addition to the destruction of the nearby Bamiyan Buddha statues. To make matters worse, Afghans must endure the worst drought in decades.

According to a UN official, “The Taliban carried out a heavy aerial bombardment of the city during the fighting and, after entering it, ground troops set fire to every building. The town has burnt to the ground.” Pakistani reporter, writer, and human rights advocate Ahmed Rashid writes, “Most of Yakowlang’s residents are now believed to be in the mountains of Hazarajat without food or water.”

Only a few months ago the International Community was outraged by the Taliban’s destruction of ancient Buddhist statues in the city of Bamiyan, just west of Yakawlang. Today, little is reported in the press about Yakawlang. 0nce eager to negotiate the fate of the statues with the Taliban, Foreign dignitaries and heads of state now remain silent as a human tragedy unfolds.

Read more about the Yakawlang Refugee Emergency

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan in conjunction with the Afghan Women’s Mission has set up an emergency fund for the Yakawlang refugees who have arrived in Pakistan and are in desperate need of assistance.

Please RAWA’s special appeal on our website here

Read Ahmed Rashid’s article about the situation in Yakawlang here.


Background on Yakawlang
Excerpt from 14 June 2001 Human Rights Watch Report


http://www.hrw.org/press/2001/06/taliban-0614.htm

Control of Yakaolang has shifted several times over the last six months between the Taliban and Hizb-i Wahdat, a largely Shi’a Muslim and ethnic Hazara party in the northern-based United Front coalition. During a brief occupation of the district last January, Taliban forces summarily executed about 170 civilians in an apparent effort to punish and deter collaboration with Hizb-i Wahdat. On June 5, Hizb-i Wahdat recaptured Yakaolang, ending a month-long occupation of the district by the Taliban. After retreating, Taliban forces countered with a series of air raids in which their planes reportedly bombed the administrative center of Yakaolang, including the district hospital and an aid agency office. They entered the administrative center on June 10, where the following day they were said to have carried out widespread burning of houses and public and commercial buildings. About sixty civilians who had taken refuge in outlying regions of Yakaolang were reportedly arrested, and their whereabouts remain unknown.

Yakawlang Refugees Need Urgent Help

yakawlangThe lives of the people of Yakawlang have been devastated by the massacre of 300 town residents in January, 2001, see-saw battles between Taliban and United Front forces during the past several months with associated terrorization by troops from both sides, the nearby destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues, and drought. Additionally, the Hazarajat region of Afghanistan is the most economically deprived region in Afghanistan.

RAWA has reported to us that several families have just arrived from the Yakawlang area of Afghanistan and are appealing to them for aid. More are still arriving daily. These people are arriving in Pakistan in the worst possible condition – with absolutely no means for survival, with shattered lives. Pakistan has closed their doors to new Afghan refugees, so little, if any, help can be expected from them. It is up to us to make a difference in their lives.

Please make a generous donation today by clicking here.

Make checks payable to “IHC/Afghan Women’s Mission.” Be sure to write “Yakawlang” in the memo section of the check. Your donation will be used to provide shelter, health care, food and other basic necessities for these people. Mail checks to:

Afghan Women’s Mission
PO Box 40846
Pasadena, CA 91114
USA

Note: Donations are tax deductible to the extent of the law. More information will be posted as it becomes available.


For more background, read Ahmed Rashid’s report on Yakawlang here.

Taliban Destroy Town That Was Rebel Stronghold

Taliban destroy town that was rebel stronghold
By Ahmed Rashid in Lahore
June 13, 2001

RAMPAGING Taliban troops have razed a town in central Afghanistan, the home of 60,000 people, after capturing it from the opposition United Front. Tens of thousands of people have fled the fighting, adding to the refugee crisis in Afghanistan, as the Taliban continue to restrict United Nations relief agencies from operating freely.

UN officials confirmed yesterday that the Taliban had burnt down Yakowlang, in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, after capturing it from United Front forces on Monday.

A UN official said: “The Taliban carried out a heavy aerial bombardment of the city during the fighting and, after entering it, ground troops set fire to every building. The town has burnt to the ground.”

Western relief workers said that at least 60 people were missing, but the number of casualties could not be confirmed because there are no relief workers or UN officials in the region. Most of the town’s inhabitants had already fled as fighting intensified around it in the past few days.

Yakowlang has been bitterly fought over for several months and the Taliban lost control of the city on June 6. The town is due west of Baimiyan, where in March the Taliban destroyed two giant Buddha statues.

Yakowlang is a major base for the opposition Hizbe Wahadat party, part of the United Front. Most of the inhabitants are of the Hazara ethnic group and are Shia Muslims, whom the Sunni Taliban loathe. In January Taliban troops under the command of Mullah Dadullah massacred more than 300 Hazara people in Yakowlang after the Taliban had lost and then recaptured the town.

Diplomats said Dadullah was again in command of Taliban troops at Yakowlang and gave the order for the burning of the town. Dadullah’s force includes hundreds of Arab extremists loyal to the Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden and militants belonging to anti-Shia groups in Pakistan.

The Taliban’s motive for burning the town appears to be to set an example to United Front strongholds still holding out in north-eastern Afghanistan and to crush all Hazara Shia resistance.

Most of Yakowlang’s residents are now believed to be in the mountains of Hazarajat without food or water. Hazarajat is already the most economically deprived region of Afghanistan and the new exodus joins one million Afghans on the move seeking shelter and food from UN agencies.

Last week two UN agencies, the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, said five million people in Afghanistan could be facing starvation amid “mounting evidence of emerging widespread famine conditions”.

The Taliban continue to restrict the activities of UN relief agencies and on Friday the WFP will have to close more than 100 bakeries in Kabul because of the Taliban’s refusal to accommodate its demand for a fair distribution of bread to the most needy civilians.

The Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has threatened the UN with severe repercussions if it places officials on Afghanistan’s borders to monitor an arms embargo against the Taliban imposed by the Security Council in January.

“In case someone is appointed as controller on the Afghan border, the Islamic Emirate would look at it as an aggression and treat them like enemies on the front line,” Omar said on state-run Radio Shariat last week.

AWM President Visits Afghan Refugee Camps

In mid-April 2001, the President of the Afghan Women’s Mission, Steve Penners, visited Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan where he spent a month among refugees and members of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). Steve personally witnessed the desperate conditions of Afghan refugees in the newer camps as well as more established camps in Pakistani cities. He also closely observed the crucial work of RAWA’s many health, educational and relief programs for Afghan refugees.

The Afghan Women’s Mission is proud to announce the first series of images from this trip which include images from Jalozai Refugee camp in Pakistan where more than 80,000 Afghan refugees are living in conditions of extreme squalor and desperation. We invite you to view Mr. Penners’ photo report here.

View latest images from Jalozai

These stark photos are an important reminder that the plight of Afghan refugees continues to worsen and is a challenge to our consciences.

Accompanying the images, is a letter from the President of Afghan Women’s Mission, describing RAWA’s work from a firsthand perspective:

http://www.afghanwomensmission.org/letters/ [FIX!]