Actualité > A tribute to Meena, founder of RAWA

A tribute to Meena, founder of RAWA

The alley Massoud in Paris renamed after the Afghan heroine

Two years ago, the City of Paris decided to name an alley in Paris after the fundamentalist and reactionary warlord Ahmad Shah Massoud. This Saturday, February 4, 2023, the 36th anniversary of the assassination of Meena, founder of RAWA, we, activists of the OCML Voie Prolétarienne, and other activists in support of RAWA, have decided to remove the name of the warlord from this alley and rename it after the heroine of Afghan women.

Our statement made today at the foot of the plaques of the alley in question, before renaming it.

We are here to honor the memory of Meena Keshwar Kamal, the founder of the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan, RAWA.

Meena was an anti-imperialist revolutionary who opposed the Soviet Union’s invasion of her country in 1978. Meena was a feminist activist who refused to sweep women’s rights under the carpet in order to pact with the various fundamentalist militias, which had taken control of the resistance thanks to arms from the United States and Pakistan. Meena was a heroin who stood by her people, living with the refugees in the Quetta camp on the Pakistani border. It was there that she established schools, a hospital and handicraft centers for refugee women. It was there that the secret services of the pro-Soviet Afghan regime found and murdered her (perhaps with the help of fundamentalists) just 36 years ago, on February 4, 1987.

We, the Marxist-Leninist Communist Organization Proletarian Way, have chosen today to remember Meena on the anniversary of her death, in solidarity with our sisters and comrades in Rawa who continue her work and whom we have had the good fortune to host during three tours of encounters in 2002, 2009 and 2022.

The Paris City Council preferred to ignore Meena and name this square after Ahmed Shah Massoud. The bourgeoisie has the heroes it deserves. Meena followed a straight path, without compromising with any imperialist power or fundamentalist warlord. Ahmed Shah Massoud’s path, on the other hand, is winding, full of changes of alliance, betrayals and crimes. However, in France, he was portrayed as the "Lion of Panchir" (the name of the valley he controlled), a charismatic leader who aspired to religious tolerance and democracy. In reality, Massoud was a feudal leader, who had been educated at the prestigious French high school in Kabul. His mastery of the French language helped make him popular in France. But behind his reassuring words, Massoud was a fundamentalist, like his party Jamiat-e Islami (the equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood). Minister of Defense of the Islamic State of Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996, he bombed Kabul before behaving as a brutal conqueror, carrying out executions and public amputations, attacking women’s rights and persecuting the Shiite Hazara minority. Only the first coming to power of the Taliban in 1996 put an end for a time to the bloody rivalries of the warlords, including Massoud, who were able to present themselves as a lesser evil in the eyes of international opinion.

Massoud was killed on the eve of September 11, 2001, but the American invasion of Afghanistan put his friends in power. He was proclaimed a national hero and his brothers were able to participate in the looting of the country by a corrupt and ineffective regime that only lasted 19 years thanks to the support of the occupying armies, notably American and French. The Massoud family is still supported by the French state, which sees it as the key to its influence in Afghanistan. Faced with the return of the Taliban to power, the French media tried to sell the figure of Ahmed Massoud Junior as a recourse.

The Afghan people, however, have had the time to go through the corrupt or bloodthirsty warlords, and often both at the same time. They yearn for the fall of the Taliban, but to build a new society that is truly democratic and secularist, truly respectful of human rights and women’s rights. He is increasingly aware that he will only achieve this by relying on his own forces and not on the various American, Russian, Chinese or French imperialisms. This explains the extraordinary survival of our comrades of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, who continue to organize schools, hospitals, cooperatives, in clandestinity, while organizing truly heroic demonstrations against the regime and in solidarity with the women of Iran or Rojava.

Meena’s name and her poems of resistance live on in the hearts of the women and men of Afghanistan who yearn for peace, democracy, independence and women’s rights. And that is why we will end this speech with her poem "I’ll never return".

I’m the woman who has awoken
I’ve arisen and become a tempest through the ashes of my burnt children
I’ve arisen from the rivulets of my brother’s blood
My nation’s wrath has empowered me
My ruined and burnt villages fill me with hatred against the enemy,
I’m the woman who has awoken,
I’ve found my path and will never return.
I’ve opened closed doors of ignorance
I’ve said farewell to all golden bracelets
Oh compatriot, I’m not what I was
I’m the woman who has awoken
I’ve found my path and will never return.
I’ve seen barefoot, wandering and homeless children
I’ve seen henna-handed brides with mourning clothes
I’ve seen giant walls of the prisons swallow freedom in their ravenous stomach
I’ve been reborn amidst epics of resistance and courage
I’ve learned the song of freedom in the last breaths, in the waves of blood and in victory
Oh compatriot, Oh brother, no longer regard me as weak and incapable
With all my strength I’m with you on the path of my land’s liberation.
My voice has mingled with thousands of arisen women
My fists are clenched with the fists of thousands compatriots
Along with you I’ve stepped up to the path of my nation,
To break all these sufferings all these fetters of slavery,
Oh compatriot, Oh brother, I’m not what I was
I’m the woman who has awoken
I’ve found my path and will never return.

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