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inspiring speech for sister Aafia in UK parliament . Bradford

I begin In the Name of Allah the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate:

A few days ago we were celebrating Mother’s day and today we have gathered to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of women on International Women’s day. It would be hard for any civilization or society to progress without the aid of women. Women have and will always play a significant role in shaping the future of human civilization. Today is a day when we are reminded of the endeavors and struggles that women have gone through in order to contribute to society. There are countless anecdotes that can be cited to highlight this point but time does not permit me to do so. However on International Women’s Day, I will mention the stories of two women in particular.


The first story is of an extraordinary woman by the name of Milada Horakava. She led a remarkable life and was a lawyer by profession, who fought for the rights of women and children. In 1950, Milada Horakava was accused of treason and certain acts of terrorism by the Communist Government of Czechoslovakia and she was put on trial. The proceedings were completely scripted but she managed to break away often enough to declare her innocence. She was 48 years of age when she was executed.3 Milada Horakava was an innocent woman who was unjustly executed.


The second story I want to share with you is also of a remarkable woman called Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Aafia Siddiqui was born in Pakistan in 1972, but spent her early years as a child in Zambia, until the second grade. At the age of 18, Aafia Siddiqui left her parents’ home and travelled to the United States to attend College. While living in Texas, she won a nationwide essay competition about “how intercultural attitudes in America helped to shape a multicultural world.” In 1992, she transferred to MIT on a full scholarship, and graduated with a degree in Biology in 1995. In 2001 she completed a PH.D at Brandeis University. Her dissertation, entitled “Separating the Components of Imitation,” discussed the conditions under which children learn most effectively through imitation.


“In March 2003, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was abducted with her three young children in Pakistan on the basis of faulty intelligence, a rendition operation that a former Pakistani

official has since admitted. Five years later she mysteriously reappeared in a weakened state in Afghanistan, she was shot and later charged in a federal court with attempted murder. Dr. Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years for a ‘crime’ in which she alone was injured; she has now suffered needlessly for more than 12 years.’


Speaking about the Case of Dr. Siddiqui, the Ex-Attorney General of America, Professor Ramsey Clark, said: “I haven’t witnessed such bare injustice in my entire career.”


A few years ago to mark this very day a well respected Defence Attorney Lynne Stewart said, “On International Women’s Day, we Honor and Praise Women Political Prisoners! Aafia Siddiqui is a woman to teach our daughters about and to cherish in our Hearts and Minds. Her fight is all women’s fight. Let’s engage!!!


I finish with the following message, if we desire or dream of a better world then we all have a role to play and it starts now!


“Sleepy horses, heave away

Put your backs to the golden hay

Don`t ever look behind at the work you`ve done

For your work has just begun

There`ll be the evening in the end

but till that time arrives

You can rest your eyes

And begin again


Thank you!


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