Let Malalai Joya speak in the United States!
We, the undersigned, call on the US State Department to grant a visa to Malalai Joya for entry to the United States. We protest the denial of a travel visa to Joya, an acclaimed women's rights activist and former member of Afghanistan's parliament. Ms. Joya, who was named one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2010, was set to begin a three-week US tour to promote an updated edition of her memoir, A Woman Among Warlords, published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. We agree with Joya's publisher at Scribner, Alexis Gargagliano, who said, "We had the privilege to publish Ms. Joya, and her earlier 2009 book tour met with wide acclaim. The right of authors to travel and promote their work is central to freedom of expression and the full exchange of ideas." Joya's memoir has been translated into over a dozen languages, and she has toured widely including Australia, the UK, Canada, Norway, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, and the Netherlands in support of the book over the past two years. Malalai Joya's voice is one that must be heard in the United States. When the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, government officials put forward their concern for the rights of Afghan women as a central justification for the invasion. Today, we have the opportunity for an Afghan woman to speak to American audiences about the present and future of her people. We call upon the State Department to grant Malalai Joya a visa so that she can contribute her much needed, but rarely heard perspective to a timely discussion about the US' involvement in Afghanistan.