Women vs. Warlords: Malalai Joya Film


Today in Afghanistan women are fighting for their lives, for their future, for everything.


We are seeking to raise €5,200 in order to send an Irish film crew, 2 people, to Kabul, Afghanistan for 4 days in late December 2019 for the purpose of conducting an extended interview and short film with Malalai Joya , a prominent human rights and literacy activist, who despite assassination attempts and smear campaigns continues to fight for her people.


Description

The interview will be the first in a planned series of feature length interviews with three of Afghanistan's bravest women: Previously mentioned Malalai Joya, Journalist and women’s rights activist Farahnaz Forotan and celebrated educator  Dr Sakena Yacoobi 

The focus of these in-depth conversations; the fight for women's rights and the power of literacy in that fight.

By amplifying the voices of these women, starting with Malalai Joya we seek to strengthen their resolve, the resolve of their supporters and share a deeper more intimate insight into their lives.

With the emerging presence of Islamic State in Afghanistan and the US negotiating with the Taliban, supporting, safeguarding and emboldening female leaders in the country is the single most important thing we can possibly do.

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Detailed information follows

Land of The Afghans
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From snow-capped mountains to dry arid desert, to lush forests and megalithic rivers. Afghanistan is the quintessence of beauty. The "stan" in the word Afghanistan means place of or land of.
More than 20 different languages are spoken in the land of the Afghans, it is a kaleidoscopic melting pot of countless ethnicities and tribes. Over a trillion dollars worth of minerals lay buried beneath its surface. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of Poppy fields flourish above ground, it is the main strategic corridor between the rich oil fields of Turkmenistan and the Indian ocean.
And for the past 40 years it has bled, cried and sweated under the relentless wraith of war.
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Today

Today, The Taliban control or contest control of approximately 50% of the country. Islamic State has a rapidly growing presence within the region. In March, US aerial bombing killed 13 people mostly children in Kunduz city, the year previous saw the highest number of civilian casualties so far with over 900 of those civilian deaths attributed to the US, NATO and government forces. Transparency International rates the country 177th out of 180 on its global corruption index and the literacy rate is correspondingly among the lowest in the entire world....
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Afghanistan is widely considered to be the worst place in the world to be a woman, and is one of the only countries in the world with a higher female suicide rate than male.  The situation for some women and girls is so bad they actually set themselves on fire in desperate protest or as means of ending their lives.

Amid government failure, among the fundamentalists, warlords and criminals battling for control and resources, through the years and different phases of dominion, despite widespread unquestioned misogynistic traditional beliefs many ordinary Afghans, especially women have risked their lives to empower their people. They have risked their lives to bring the light of literacy and smash the bonds of subjugation.

Literacy and Women’s Emancipation
In 2003, women from all over Afghanistan despite the dangers, met in Kandahar to create a women's bill of rights that would be handed to the then prime minister in the hope of influencing the drafting of the constitution..... the very first declaration the women set down, even before the right to healthcare, was the right to an education. 39239876_1558788016878357_r.jpegThough reference to women's education was made in article 44 of the 2004 Constitution, in reality, for a multitude of reasons, literacy in general and female literacy in particular is extremely low. According to UNESCO only 17% of the female population are able to read and write.

When the government can’t provide it and fundamentalists kill to stop it, only unique people like the women being interviewed keep the soul of learning alive; building schools in rural areas, training teachers, advocating and setting powerful examples to the youth.

In Summer 2013, Lauryn Oates who worked with the Afghan government's Central Statistics Organization wrote an article entitled “The mother of all problems: female illiteracy in Afghanistan ” which powerfully connects the ability of the mother in the household to act in her own best interests and the best interests of her children directly to her level of education.

Being more likely to have a skilled assistant present during delivery the educated mother is more likely to survive childbirth. She is better able to secure adequate nourishment for her children, better able to avoid sanitation related preventable deaths such as those from diarrhoea, better able to prevent her children from abuse or becoming involved in child labour, and essentially the educated mother is more likely to send her children to school.

Literacy and education allow for very sophisticated means of reasoning and communicating. They allow for the challenging of fundamentalist interpretations of the Quran and the ability to evaluate and contextualize traditional beliefs.

In the words of emancipated slave turned Statesman Frederick Douglas:

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Literacy allows the individual to rise up and extricate her/himself from oppression and poverty. Furthermore in the life and death struggle for women’s equality in Afghanistan literacy and education are the ultimate force multipliers.

Malalai Joya, Farahnaz Forotan and Dr Sakena Yacoobi stand as living, breathing testament to that.

Project Objective
Our objective is to obtain a long form interview with former elected representative, author and human rights activist Malalai Joya.
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Malalai is the author of Raising My Voice  and A Woman Among Warlords she was featured in the award winning documentary Enemies of Happiness .

One of 10 children of an illiterate mother, and one of 6 million Afghans in exile during the brutal wars of the 80's and 90’s Malalai learned to read in the refugee camps of Western Pakistan. At the age of 16 determined to help her people she crossed the border into Taliban controlled Afghanistan and secretly set up a school for girls, had she been caught it would have cost her her life.

In December 2003 as one of the few women elected to the newly formed, post US invasion, Parliament again risking her life, she stood up and denounced many of her co-delegates as warlords who had no place in the assembly.

 One of the greatest criticisms of the US/International involvement in Afghanistan is how they have re-empowered and legitimized violent warlords of the nineties era due to their simplistic Taliban are bad everybody against them must be good mentality.

She railed against the hypocrisy loudly declaring that they deserved to be prosecuted.

As a result she was immediately expelled from the assembly and had to be protected by UN security forces present at the time.

Today she continues her work independently and secretly as her life is constantly under threat. Undeterred and indomitable she remains.

There are very few people on the planet like Malalai Joya.

We will speak to her about her vision for Afghanistan, the power of literacy, the history of underground schools, current literacy/education projects, Taliban/US talks and her life as one of the countries most wanted.

Project In Context

The extended interview with Malalai Joya will, as stated initially, be the first in a series of three.

Due to the security risks surrounding Malalai Joya, her interview requires it to be done on a completely separate trip from the others.

We aim to create a beautiful 50 minute video interview with her. The segment will stand alone whilst also forming part of the interview series.

Team

Diarmuid Brannick - Co-ordinator

Diarmuid Brannick is the author of the above text. 41 years of age, from Dublin Ireland. The first major project he was involved with was in 2001 when he put together a team and led the fundraising and logistical effort to bring 20 street children and 5 care workers from a shelter in Perm, Russia to Ireland for a 12 day holiday. The following year he co-organized a trip to the United States for a group of Dublin based Traveller children along with 2 Teachers and a care worker. During the 2000's he was on the board of directors of three NGO's and helped advise the set-up of Safe Passage Foundation, an organization devoted to providing resources, support and advocacy for young adults breaking away from religious cults. As part of that work he conducted a media campaign that helped see the book "Not Without My Sister" register within the top 10 hard back sales for Ireland the year it was released (2007). He has have been involved in multiple projects over the past 20 years.

Tim Hood - Camera Operator, Director

Tim Hood, Director of Photography, has a superb eye for the visual story and natural ability of capturing moments in History. Tim has an innate ability to conceptualize a director’s written narrative or the ‘chaos of the moment’ and transform it into a visual tale.

Tim’s sense of adventure and thirst for documenting has led him to travel widely, filming across the globe in Azerbaijan, India, Israel and the West Bank, Belarus and Hong Kong.

Tim has extensive experience working in both the television and film industry. He has shot features, shorts, commercials, music videos and live performances, news, current affairs and sports and finally what is closest to his heart, documentaries, for a variety of clients including: RTE, TV3, TG4, BBC, NBC, CTN Canada, SKY NEWS, TSR, TSI, DRS Switzerland, TF1 and CANAL PLUS France, RAI Italy, Sky NZ, Channel 4, ITV, HBO, National Geographic UK and BBC National History.

Tim has a natural flare for capturing unforgettable moments in history and this skill is clearly showcased in his coverage of Barack Obama’s visit to Ireland and in his footage of the Queen of England’s speech during her state visit to Ireland in 2011.

In recent times, Tim equipped with his own Steadicam Rig is a well known member of world renowned film crews in Ireland has shot “Rig 45” (Distributors – Viaplay Sweden and ITV UK) in 2018 and “Cold Courage” (Finnish Irish Co-produced Drama) in 2019.

Tim has always veered towards the documentary style of visual narrative. Lately, Tim’s passion for the environment, human rights and giving a voice to the vulnerable in our society has lead him in the direction of documentary film making.

Tim is HEFAT (Hostile Environment and Advanced First Aid Training) certified

Jake Mobbs – Editor
 
Jake is a London based video editor and film maker with 15 years experience. He is the co-director and co-producer of A Russian Fairytale. http://www.jakemobbs.com/


**We have been able to re-negotiate a number of items in our original budget and bring the cost of the project down!**  The following is the original budget. For the complete current budget of 8980EUR Please contact me (details at bottom)


Budget

Flights x 2.................................................................................................................2400

Visa x 2.........................................................................................................................280

Accommodation x 4.............................................................

Food x 4....................................................................................

Security x 4.............................................................................

Translator x 4.........................................................................

Transport x 4..........................................................................

......................................................................................................................................4000

Logistics assistant....................................................................................................200

Insurance.....................................................................................................................600

Equipment

Thunderbolt hard drive x 2..................................................................................400

Advanced first aid kit x 2......................................................................................300

Microphone rental.....................................................................................................90

Zoom Windshield.......................................................................................................17

Zoom recorder..........................................................................................................337

Camera operator x 4............................................................................................2460

Editor x 3 days............................................................................................. ..........1080

Reserve.......................................................................................................................500

 

Total........................................................................................................................12,664



Project Summary

It is proposed that Diarmuid Brannick and Tim Hood travel to Kabul in late December for 4 days in order to film a long form interview with activist Malalai Joya. Jake Mobbs will edit the footage.

The completed interview which forms the first in a series of three interviews entitled Women V Warlords  will be screened privately in Dublin and then will be pitched in accordance with Peter Brodericks 'Hybrid Distribution' strategy to national and international media. 100% of money received will be gifted to Malalai Joya’s educational work.

Specific details in a conclusion report will be made available to all contributors.

All money exceeding the target will be either returned or gifted to Malalai Joya according to the donors preference.

Notes

The photograph of the man with the balloons beside the pillars of a destroyed building is by Simon Norfolk. The militants in the next photo are members of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.

Donations (0)

  • Anonymous 
    • €10 
    • 16 d
  • Anonymous 
    • €20 
    • 18 d
  • Danielle Ryan 
    • €10 
    • 21 d
  • Danielle Ryan 
    • €10 
    • 21 d
  • Natalja Holoimova 
    • €30 
    • 23 d
See all

Organizer

Diarmuid Brannick 
Organizer
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