There can be little disputing that Malalai Joya, also known as “the bravest woman in Afghanistan”, has earned her name and reputation.
An Afghan activist for women’s rights (among other relevant issues) is presently on tour to promote her incredible book A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice.
At the age of 25, she stood up at a 2003 constitutional assembly in Kabul and denounced Afghanistan’s warlords. In 2005, Malalai went on to become the youngest person ever elected to Afghanistan’s new Parliament. Two years later she was suspended from parliament for her relentless denunciation of her country’s warlords and drug barons.
Today, she continues to fight the good fight: the fight for the good of all her fellow Afghans. In the process, she has survived four assassination attempts, is chaperoned by armed guards and can only sleep in designated safe houses.
Activism in the Blood
This amazing young woman grew up in refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan. The daughter of an activist, Malalai was inspired to follow in her father’s footsteps and taught in the cellars of secret girls schools in Afghanistan.
She hid her books under her burqa to stop the Taliban wouldn’t discover them and helped set up a free medical clinic and orphanage in her impoverished home province of Farah.
Malalai’s path hasn’t been an easy one – like so many of her fellow Afghans who have lost loved ones, she lost one of her orphans who was sold into marriage by family members.
A Journey Into Afghanistan
In Woman Among the Warlords, Malalai Joya takes her readers by the hand and leads us into Afghanistan, revealing desperate everyday situations Afghans face.
She highlights some of the many acts of rebellion that are helping to change the country. These include amazing women who bravely take to the streets in peaceful protest. And it’s not just female resistance to the regime: men who step forward and claim “I am her mahram,” so fundamentalists won’t punish a woman for walking alone. Finally, she applauds the families that convert their basements into classrooms for female students.