Thursday, October 01, 2009

To My Victoria Compañeros: Monday, October 5, St. Aidan's United, 7 PM: Be There.

Monday October 5th, 7 p.m., ST. AIDAN’S UNITED CHURCH, 3703 St Aidan’s Street (Richmond & Cedar Hill X Road):

Education for Afghan Women & Girls: An evening with Jamila Akbarzai, Qudsia Karimi, Marjan Nazer & my pal Lauryn Oates (and maybe even Mohammed Ishaq Faizi, if he can get his visa sorted out in time).

The evening event is co-sponsored by Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, St. Aidan’s, and the Canadian Federation of University Women (Victoria).

Jamila: During the Mujahadeen wars, Jamila fled Kabul University for Peshawar, where she worked for the International Rescue Committee (some of you may remember the IRC workers murdered by the Taliban last year - Shirley Case of Williams Lake, Nicole Dial of Trinidad, Jackie Kirk of Montreal and Mohammad Aimal of Kabul). Jamila is the founder and director of the NGO Afghan Women’s Welfare Department. In 2002, Jamila participated in the Loya Jirga that cobbled together the first post-Taliban interim Government of Afghanistan.

Marjan: Afghan-born UBC student. From a refugee family (Canada via Pakistan), a Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan activist, this past summer Marjan volunteered at the Omid-e-Mirmun Orphanage in Kabul, where I spent some time last fall.

Qudsia: Afghan-born, refugee, raised in Iran (prohibited from attending university there, because she is Afghan), studied in Malaysia before coming to Canada in 2005, where she now heads up the UBC student group of the Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee.

Lauryn: Just returned from her 15th sojourn in Afghanistan, Lauryn managed CIDA's Women's Rights in Afghanistan Fund from 2000-2006 and has directed numerous women's rights and "peacebuilding" projects in the Middle East and Central Asia at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development. Too many awards and accolades to mention. Plus she's my co-founder at the Solidarity Committee. Here's a wee story about her from today's Times Colonist. (Update: See How Afghanistan's 'rape law' got passed, Globe and Mail).

Still hoping that Ishaq will be able to leave Kabul in time to make the event. He's a great guy. Young human rights lawyer, law teacher, bundle of energy, came from a dirt-poor family of seven kids, raised by his widowed ma. His focus is on the prosecution of domestic violence, handles contentious divorce cases, has made many enemies and earned several death threats from the Taliban. Author of two books on criminal and civil law, a leading player in the first National Report on Domestic Violence Against Women. Also, with Lauryn, a driving force behind the establishment of a library in his home district of Dara. Last we heard, he'd been in a car accident on the way back from Islamabad, where he was trying to get past an extraordinary bureaucratic jerking-around about his visa.

I do hope to see everybody Monday night. Tell your friends! Do please circulate this. October 5th, 7 p.m., ST. AIDAN’S UNITED CHURCH, 3703 St Aidan’s Street (Richmond & Cedar Hill X Road).


Blogger Barbara said...

A message from RAWA:

8:53 AM  

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