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Defense Committee for Malalai Joya

Beyond bravery

Jonathan Steele wonders if an Afghan activist can find common political cause

By Jonathan Steele published in The Guardian, Aug.15, 2009

Malalai Joya is an activist, a dissident, and one of the bravest women in Afghanistan. But she is not a politician, and in this part-autobiography, part-manifesto, the youngest MP in her country's parliament reveals the multiple tragedies of Afghanistan. They include the pervasive oppression of women, about which she writes brilliantly, but also the chronic unwillingness of almost everyone who emerges in a leadership role - herself included - to make compromises, build alliances, and take the long view.

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