November 25, 2009

According to the website of Women for Women International, “[s]ince [Zainab] Salbi founded Women for Women International in 1993, tens of thousands of women have joined a quiet but strong movement to help women survivors of war and civil strife to rebuild their lives. One by one, 93,000 women survivors of war have begun to contribute to the political and economic health of their societies. Ms. Salbi has dedicated her life to the belief that stronger women build stronger nations.” Ms. Salbi earned a Masters Degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2001, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies from George Mason University in 1996.

Zainab Salbi is the author of Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam and The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival & Hope.

Women for Change is a volunteer based organization.
Its objective is to raise awareness about the plight of women in war torn countries while advancing opportunity for women worldwide.

Women for Change was established in 2009 by Hiba Mehdi at the University of Windsor. Hiba was influenced by Zainab Salbi, the founder of Women for Women as such there is much collaboration between the two groups.

Women for Change will also be collaborating with humanitarian organizations on campus to raise awareness about the plight of women.
Each month an event will be held dedicated to a specific region. These events include: documentaries, lectures, fundraising dinners and discussions.

I asked Ms Salbi to describe the organization she founded. CLICK ‘PLAY’ BELOW TO HEAR INTERVIEW:

Also covered on the Program

End Torture
End the War

The testimony of Richard Colvin shows that the highest levels of the Conservative Government are complicit in war crimes. As many as 600 detainees, many of whom were just innocent bystanders, were handed over to Afghan law enforcement agencies by the Canadian forces. Torture by the Afghan police forces is  known to be widespread.

Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay are challenging the credibility of Colvin, saying that he is listening to “Taliban propaganda” Yet it is the Harper government that totally lacks credibility on this issue. It is hard to believe that they didn’t see multiple memos and reports from one of the top diplomats in Afghanistan. It would represent a radical departure from standard procedure for any government.

And even if the memos didn’t circulate to the political masters in the Conservative party, there were  countless reports from international agencies such as the Red Cross, Amnesty International, School of Law of New York University, Center for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch which all said that torture of detainees was widespread. The Tories must have know this information or they showed a woeful lack of knowledge about their main foreign policy plank.

Once the issue of detainee torture hit the media in early 2007, the Harper Government  worked to both discredit the reports and to allay fears with a new detainee transfer agreement. That agreement has not stopped the torture of innocent Afghan civilians.

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission released a report in April 2009 that interviewed  people who had been detained by Afghan police and army. The results were staggering. According to their findings, 98.5% of detainees said that were tortured. They have concluded that torture “is a commonplace practice in  Afghanistan’s law enforcement institutions,” and add that “torture is also perpetrated by the parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan, including the international security forces.”

According to Afghan MP Malalai Joya, “It is an open secret that this happens. The Canadian government is still supporting this.”

An inquiry into the torture of detainees is long overdue but given the obstructionist nature of the Conservatives, we are unlikely to get a full accounting of these scandalous revelations. Peter MacKay, who earlier this year called for a Parliamentary discussion on the future role of Canada in Afghanistan has decided to cancel that debate, likely because he fears any scrutiny on the torture issue. Complicity in war crimes is too serious an issue to be swept under the carpet. There must be a parliamentary debate on ending Canada’s complicity in the crime of the Afghan war.

Torture is part and parcel of this occupation and the so-called ‘war on terror.’ Right now, the U.S. is expanded the prison at Bagram Airbase in what Afghans are calling a ‘new Guantanamo.’ Only by ending this occupation can we ensure an end to Canadian complicity in torture. We need to bring the troops home immediately.

Canadian Peace Alliance

No to Torture, No to War
Virtual March on Parliament Hill
Call your MP, November 24, 25 and 26, 2009

Election fraud. Torture. Increasing civilian casualties.
If ever there was a time to ask the Afghan people what they want for their future that time is now.

Afghan MP Malalai Joya, “the bravest woman in Afghanistan”, has been speaking to audiences across Canada, to launch her new book, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice. Today we write to ask for your help in ensuring she speaks to your elected representatives about the future of Afghanistan.

All Canadian MPs and Senators have been invited to a Parliamentary Roundtable on Afghanistan with Malalai Joya, at 11:30 am, November 26, 2009 in Ottawa. You can make sure your MP hears what this courageous woman has to say about Canadian policy on Afghanistan.

Will your MP listen? Join the virtual march on Parliament Hill to make sure they do, by phoning and emailing your MP on November 24 and 25.

What you can say to your MP

  • On November 26 will you be participating in the Parliamentary roundtable discussion with Afghan MP Malalai Joya?
  • Unlike the corrupt warlords and druglords in the Afghan parliament Malalai Joya actually represents widespread sentiment in Afghanistan (she had the second highest number of votes in Farah province)
  • She also represents the views of a majority of Canadians who want the troops to come home – not in 2011, but now. The majority of Afghans and Canadians want the troops to leave.
  • In 2007, she was undemocratically suspended from parliament, and threatened with sexual violence by members of that parliament on the pretext that she had insulted other MPs, while the warlords in the Afghan Parliament continue to enjoy impunity.
  • Malalai Joya has survived multiple assassination attempts for her views.
  • Malalai Joya has important policy ideas for concrete steps for building an independent and genuinely democratic Afghanistan.
  • Given the seriousness of the conflict in Afghanistan and its impacts on society here at home, Parliamentarians have an obligation to engage, learn, and understand.
  • If you are serious about democracy in Afghanistan, call for her immediate reinstatement to the Afghan Parliament

For further information about the abuse of detainees please see the Canadian Peace Alliance statement at the end of this e-mail.

Tell your MP to RSVP to: or 613-859-6996.
A full list of contact information for MP’s is available at

What else can you do?

Donate your Facebook status.
On November 24, 25, and 26, change your Facebook status to: “2011 is too late, it is better that you withdraw your troops now. Stop wasting your taxpayers’ money and young lives killing to prop up drug lords and warlords.” – Afghan MP Malalai Joya.

If you agree, please donate your status and join our virtual march on Ottawa. Contact your MP today and demand they meet with Malalai Joya while she is in Ottawa. Visit for details.

The Parliamentary Roundtable on Afghanistan is hosted by the Canadian Peace Alliance and the Ottawa Peace Assembly
Canadian Peace Alliance:
Ottawa Peace Assembly:
Malalai Joya Defence Committee:

Dearborn, 21400 Michigan Ave, Dearborn Michigan.

TUESDAY, 11/24–Stand Up for Worker Rights

One of the seven workers at Andiamo Dearborn who is standing up for her right to a workplace that respects minimum wage and overtime laws and is free from discrimination was fired this morning!   We believe that this firing is in direct retaliation for Bertha’s involvement in organizing and standing up for her rights, including being named in the demand letter and participating in the protest on Friday night!**********************************************WE WILL TAKE LEGAL ACTION, BUT RIGHT NOW WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION AND ON THE STREETS!!! WE NEED TO HOLD THE OWNERS OF ANDIAMO’S PUBLICLY ACCOUNTABLE!!!Please join us tomorrow,Tuesday November 24th at Andiamo Dearborn, 21400 Michigan Ave, Dearborn Michigan.  Please arrive by 6:45 pm. We will protest from 6:45 – 8 pm.  Here is a link to the map:

If you are planning on coming out to the protest, please fill out this link, will help us to make sure that we have a successful event.

**  In addition to coming out to the protest here are additional ways you can help! **

—  Forward this email to others who you think might be interested in coming to the protest!

—  Call your friends or talk with others who you think can come out tomorrow!  Make sure they fill out the link!


On November 5th, a group of nearly one-hundred restaurant workers and their supporters delivered a demand letter to Andiamo Dearborn on behalf of a group of seven white, black, latino, and middle eastern cooks, servers, and bussers.  The demand letter contained allegations of nonpayment of wages as well as race and gender discrimination.  The letter gave the company until November 19th to respond and clearly stated that any retaliation against the workers was strictly prohibited by federal law.

On November 19th the company did not respond.  On November 20th a protest was held outside the restaurant with 50 restaurant workers and their supporters.

Now, on the Monday morning of Thanksgiving week, when individuals are working hard to put food on the table for their families, the restaurant fires one of the restaurant workers named in the demand letter and who participated in the Friday protest!  Please join us on Tuesday’s protest!


ROC-Michigan is a non-profit, membership-based organization of restaurant workers dedicated to winning improved working conditions and opportunities for all restaurant workers across Southeast Michigan.  We are an affiliate of ROC-United, a national restaurant workers organization:  Over the last 5 years, ROC-United has won more than $5 million for exploited restaurant workers, as well as obtained improvements such as paid sick days, vacation days, and anti-discrimination policies, among others.

Thanks for your commitment to human rights and workplace justice!

Minsu Longiaru
Restaurant Opportunites Center of Michigan (ROC-MI)
2727 2nd Avenue, Suite 148
Detroit, MI 48201
313-962-5020 (phone)
313-962-5021 (fax)


War, Occupation and the Perils of ‘Democracy Training’ for Women in Iraq

Date: Nov 30, 2009
Time: 12 noon – 2 p.m.
Place: 162 Chrysler Hall South

Following the 2003 occupation of Iraq, the United States launched a comprehensive ‘democracy’
training program, targeting women in particular. This was part of the project of ‘regime change’ and
the implanting of a pro-American polity and civil society. My research, along with the emerging
literature on the practices of NGOs  in ‘post-war reconstruction’, paints a complex picture of the
relationship between imperialism, capitalism, colonialism and feminism.This paper will argue that
the existing body of literature on women’s NGOs and education does not identify the encroachment
of international organizations and state actors through various training activities as a manifestation
of the convergence of imperialism and colonial feminism.

Shahrzad Mojab

Shahrzad Mojab, Professor, is an academic-activist, specializing on educational policy studies;
gender, state, migration and diaspora; women, war, and learning; feminism and anti-racism
pedagogy and adult education in comparative and global perspectives. Her publications include
articles and book chapters which have appeared in international journals and are translated into
Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish, French, German, and Swedish. She is the co-editor of Women of Iran:
A Subject bibliography and Two Decades of Iranian Women’s Studies in Exile: A Subject
Bibliography [in Farsi], both published by Iranian Women’s Studies Foundation. She is the editor
of the first scholarly collection on Kurdish women in the English language entitled, Women of A
Non-State Nation: The Kurds (2001 and second print in 2003). She co-edited Of Property and
Propriety: The Role of Gender and Class in Imperialism and Nationalism (2001), and Violence
in the Name of Honour: Theoretical and Political Challenges (2004).

Professor Mojab is the former Director of the Women and Gender Institute at the University of
Toronto (2003-2008).  She is also the past-President of the Canadian Association for the Studies
of Adult Education. She is the recipient of several awards. Notably, in 2009 she received the Ian
Martin Award for Social Justice for the Best Paper, University of Cambridge, UK. In 2008 she
received the Distinguished Contribution to Graduate Teaching Award at the University of Toronto.
In 2006 she was named Noted Scholar in the Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia.
Shahrzad was the first prize winner in the Women’s WORLD writing contest, Women’s Voices in
War Zones.

Lunch will be provided.

Co-sponsored by

Centre for Studies in Social Justice
Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology
Department of Political Science
Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention

Centre for Studies in Social Justice
University of Windsor
Windsor, ON  Canada N9B 3P4
Tel: 519 253-3000 Ext. 2326

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