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Defense Committee for Malalai Joya

Interview with Malalai Joya

By A.Hart, The Capitoline Magazine, June 23, 2016

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A few weeks ago, I contacted Malalai Joya’s Defense Committee (MJDC), to ask if I could interview Ms. Joya via email, to which they graciously agreed.

Seldom will one ever encounter a woman like Malalai Joya; her bravery and courage has inspired millions and will remain an inspiration well after the war lords are driven out of her native home of Afghanistan. For those of you who are not familiar with Ms. Joya, the following is a brief introduction. Raised in several refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan, she grew up only knowing the turmoil of her country. At a young age she began to combat against some of the oppression that women faced and still face in parts of the Middle East and around the world. When Joya heard about secret schools established to educate young women, she was quick to offer her support by becoming a teacher. She later established a free medical clinic and orphanage in different parts of the province of Farah, where she grew up. In 2003, Joya, at the young age of 25, did what very few men and women alike had the courage to do. She publicly “denounced her country’s powerful NATO-backed warlords.” Later in 2005 she became the youngest person in Afghanistan’s new Parliament to be elected. She was later suspended from this position in 2007 because she openly criticized the corruption that was going on in the government pertaining to the “warlords and drug barons.” Due to her outspokenness she is accompanied twenty-four/seven by armed guards and is forced to sleep in safe houses. In her book, Joya gives you an inside look into what life is like having grown up in a refugee camp, living through the Taliban regime and surviving the oppression that women face, all the while encouraging all women to do their part in the fight for equality. Since Joya’s book “A Woman Among the Warlords” was published in 2009, she has survived several assassination attempts.

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