Malalai Joya, the young woman who the BBC has hailed as the "bravest in Afghanistan", has published her memoirs, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Woman Who Dared to Speak Out.
Joya, now 31, was the youngest ever woman elected to the Afghan Parliament in 2005 and is an outspoken critic of the Karzai government and NATO occupation. She will be speaking in the Boston area between October 29-31 as part of a North American tour to speak about her new memoir, co-written with Canadian activist and writer Derrick O’Keefe.
With U.S. President Obama considering escalating the war in Afghanistan with over 40,000 more troops, Joya’s speaking tour and book release is timely. “Afghan women like me, voting and running for office, have been held up as proof that the United States has brought democracy and women’s rights to Afghanistan,” Joya writes. “But it is all a lie.”
Her book tells the story of her life in the context of three decades of war. Joya details her reasons for opposing NATO's war and suggests concrete steps for building an independent and genuinely democratic Afghanistan.
Often compared to democratic leaders such as Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi, this extraordinary young woman was raised in the refugee camps of Iran and Pakistan. Inspired in part by her father's activism, Malalai became a teacher in secret girls' schools, holding classes in a series of basements. She hid her books under her burqa so the Taliban couldn't find them. She also helped establish a free medical clinic and orphanage in her impoverished home province of Farah. The endless wars of Afghanistan have created a generation of children without parents. Like so many others who have lost people they care about, Malalai lost one of her orphans when the girl's family members sold her into marriage.
Today, Joya brings to a North American audience the lessons of Afghanistan’s long history of occupation and resistance. And she hopes her book will “correct the tremendous amount of misinformation being spread about Afghanistan.” She will speak at the following locations.