March 11, 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka
From Prabha Manuratne, the translator
It is with great pleasure that I write to you. I have translated Meena's biography by Melody Chavis and this book will be launched also celebrating the International Women's Day on March 11, 2008 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The book has been translated into Sinhalese, the most widely spoken language in Sri Lanka. As you are probably aware, Sri Lanka is on the brink of a serious catastrophe. We have already seen a nearly thirty year old civil war. I think you understand our situation because you know what this can be like. We think of Meena as both a warning for us, and a shining example for Sri Lankan women.
Given our situation, we feel that this story will bring wisdom and courage to the people in our country. A few interested individuals have joined together to publish this book as part of an ongoing project to bring socially progressive books to the local readership.
We will show clips of Meena and of your website at the launch. Hopefully, this will canvass support and funds for you. We are printing a low-cost edition for the members of a micro-savings system in Sri Lanka, so that those who desperately need to hear the right stories will hear them.
From Melody Chavis, author of Meena’s biography
GREETINGS TO THE WOMEN GATHERED TO HONOR MEENA'S LIFE AND WORK
As an author, nothing has made me happier than to know that women around the world are reading Meena's book, and following in her footsteps.
As I worked on Meena’s life story, I missed her every day, as I wanted to ask her many questions.
How did she find the courage to found an organization for women in a dangerous time and place?
How did she find the strength to go on in the face of so many hardships?
I don’t know her answers, but I think that she must have felt she had no choice but to try. She embraced hope and she did the hard work that hope asks of us.
I am certain that she found inspiration in the work of other women, like the women of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan who have carried on her work for 20 years. Today in Afghanistan, many people's hopes of progress have been dashed by the resurgence of the Taliban, men who want to deny women the right to learn, to support themselves, or to vote. Yet the women of RAWA continue to promote democracy, and to teach and to give women a chance to earn a living. If these women do not give up, how can any of us give up?
If Meena were here today, she would be delighted to see all of you, her daughters, making the lives of your children and each other better. This is the cause she lived for, and she would be very proud of you.
Congratulations today, and on all of your many achievements ahead of you.
Message from RAWA
Dear Prabha Manuratne and Sri Lankan sisters and brothers,
It is such a great news for the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) to learn that story of our founder Meena is published in Sinhalese language in Sri Lanka. We would like to thank all friends who worked hard to translate and publish the book in that part of the world.
Melody Chavis really worked hard to realize one of our dreams to write a book on the short but inspiring life and struggle of Meena. But by translation of the book in Sri Lanka, you in fact link the struggle of Afghan women for justice and democracy with the struggle and activism of women in Sri Lanka.
Meena was not only a founder and leader of RAWA, but she was also a source of inspiration for all us. Her heroic struggle, sacrifice for Afghanistan and extra-ordinary personality and determination still remains as a moving force behind RAWA's hard struggle and steadfastness in the face of the dangerous and hard struggle against the brutal fundamentalists and their Western masters.
We leaned from Meena to keep strength and hope alive and fight for the values for which Meena's established RAWA 30 years back. It is due to her teachings that today RAWA plays a major role in Afghanistan and the strong enemies supported by CIA and other intelligence agencies can't underestimate it and remains as a major enemy for them.
People of Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have gone through similar problems and disasters, we hope "Meena - The Heroine of Afghanistan" will create a link between us and provide an opportunity to learn from each others' experiences in the struggle against injustices and tyranny. We have already leant many lessons from the active and brave role of women of Sri Lanka in the fight for liberation and democracy in their country.
Dear sisters, Meena was teaching us that no one will donate us liberation, equality and democracy, we must fight to archive these humane values. This is the core teaching we hope the book will convey to the people of Sri Lanka.
Once again thank you for interest in Meena and bringing her story to the people of Sri Lanka, we hope the way millions were inspired and impressed by her story, you will also find her story moving. We are sure many Meenas will born in every corner of the world to make the world a better place to live and target the terrorist states like the USA who have pushed the world towards war, poverty and destitution.
All RAWA members stand in solidarity with their sisters and brothers in Sri Lanka.