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.