Malalai Joya


Malalai Joya, author of A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice, discusses the absence of democracy in Afghanistan after eight years of “humanitarian” occupation, how the U.S. and NATO treat Afghan warlords like political moderates instead of war criminals, humanitarian aid that enriches the politically connected instead of helping ordinary Afghans and the continuing assault on women’s rights.

MP3 here. (30:55)

Malalai Joya is a (suspended) Member of the Afghan Parliament. She was elected to the 249-seat National Assembly, or Wolesi Jirga in September 2005, as a representative of Farah Province. Malalai won the second highest number of votes in the province.

Malalai rose to fame in December 2003 when, as an elected delegate to the Constitutional Loya Jirga, she spoke out publicly against the domination of warlords (Watch her remarks). Since then she has survived four assassination attempts, and travels in Afghanistan under a burqa and with armed guards.

She is the daughter of a former medical student who was wounded while fighting against the Soviet Union (which invaded and occupied Afganistan from 1979 – 1989). Malalai was 4 years old when her family fled Afghanistan in 1982 to the refugee camps of Iran and then Pakistan. She finished her education in Pakistan and began teaching literacy courses to other women at age 19. After the Soviets left, Malalai Joya returned to Afghanistan in 1998 during the Taliban’s reign. During that time she established an orphanage and health clinic, and was soon a vocal opponent of the Taliban.

Malalai heads the non-governmental group, “Organisation of Promoting Afghan Women’s Capabilities” (OPAWC). She is married to a Kabul-based student of agriculture and has six sisters and three brothers.

9 thoughts on “Malalai Joya”

  1. Hi Scott. I don't know if you realize that Mark Twain was a founder of the Anti-Imperialist League back in 1899 in opposition to the US war against the Philippines which crushed the independence movement after the US takeover following the Spanish-American War. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that Twain would be just as opposed to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here's a quote from Twain in 1900.

    I have read carefully the treaty of Paris, and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.

    I've written an article on Twain in commemoration of Armistice Day today, November 11. As a history buff, I hope you'll enjoy it. You can read it here.

    Reflections on Mark Twain on Armistice Day

  2. Scott, if you can get in touch with this lady again, please urge here to expand her list of villians to include the Soviets. She sounds like an unrepentant Stalinist. Fascist, this, Fascist that. She only names right wing tyrants. The world has hosted far bloodier communists than Mr. Hitler. Perhaps she has been conditioned to please the leftist sympathies of American reporters. but she is doing her cause in the US no good by solely spouting Marxist bilge. By expanding her litany of bad guys she would make herself more palatable to a substantial portion of the American public.

    1. I meant to bring up in the interview that he father was severely wounded fighting against the Soviet invasion and ask her about it… Next time we speak I'll be sure to bring it up.


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