Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, February 26, 2007

Documentary chronicles achievements of female Afghan politician

In Enemies of Happiness, Danish filmmaker Eva Mulvad chronicles the final days of Malalai Joya’s life-threatening campaign to win a seat in the National Assembly in Afghanistan. Prior to her campaign, Malalai Joya was the director of a women’s rights NGO in the western provinces of Herat and Farah. In the documentary you witness this young female freedom fighter become elected delegate. However, the documentary doesn’t simply tell Joya’s story; it also provides insight into the unique circumstances of Afghans in the days leading up to their first democratic parliamentary election in over 30 years.

Joya is considered a young, controversial and uncompromising politician, and is reviled by many Afghani fundamentalists. Prior to her election, she received numerous death threats and her home was bombed. However, she chooses to continue her struggle to stop the warlords active in government from enacting any new laws that will jeopardize the rights of her fellow Afghans, particularly Afghan women.

In an interview with the BBC, Joya said, “They will kill me but they will not kill my voice, because it will be the voice of all Afghan women. You can cut the flower, but you cannot stop the coming of spring.” The BBC called Joya “the most famous woman in Afghanistan,” and she is widely-considered a heroine in her homeland.

Joya has received numerous honors of late, including the Gwangju Award for Human Rights and the Women's Peacepower Foundation Women of Peace award. She was also among the "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005"

Enemies of Happiness conveys a story of personal courage in the face of oppressive circumstances. The film won the Silver Wolf award at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam and was honored at the Sundance Film Festival.

For more information, click here.


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