URGENT ACTION -- Prominent Afghani artist Hanifa Alizada Denied Canadian Visa
Subject: URGENT ACTION -- Afghan artist and professor Hanifa Alizada
Dear Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander:
I am shocked at the news that prominent Afghan artist and professor Hanifa Alizada was refused a visa to enter Canada to deliver a speech about life for Afghan women and exhibit her work at a symposium Jan. 22-25 called The Shrinking World of Photography.
The symposium is being organized by the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO), in partnership with the Nobel Women’s Initiative and MATCH International Women’s Fund, and is designed to explore the way photographers from around the world handle such issues as violence against women.
Violence against women in Afghanistan, conditions for girls and women there and in other foreign locations – your government has expressed profound interest in these issues, so profound that you have justified one war by referring to these issues and you dole out money internationally for women and girls at the most opportune moments. It therefore makes no sense to me that your department would deny Ms. Alizada the opportunity to come to Canada to speak about the lives of her fellow citizens and show a body of photographs called “Discrimination.”
I call on you to immediately review the decision made by the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad and issue all required documents so this public intellectual may visit and teach Canadians through her words and her images more about what it means to be a woman in Afghanistan, and, by extension, more about what it means to be a woman in Canada.
This is an urgent matter.
I look forward to your response.