Raising My Voice is an inspiring story of courage and Malalai Joya’s struggle against oppressive regimes

By Greg Ellott, The Independent Weekly, Aug.14, 2009

Media reports on the war in Afghanistan usually involve a politician appealing for more troops while stating what an important battlefield it is for the war on terror and that the war is gradually being won.

It is refreshing to read Malalai Joya’s version of events in Afghanistan from the perspective of a woman who has lived through the reign of the tribal warlords, the Taliban regime and the US-supported Hamid Karzai government.

Cover of Joya's book

Joya clearly describes how atrocious life has been for women during the last decades, and that life has seen little improvement since the US has been involved.

Raising My Voice is an inspiring story of courage and Malalai Joya’s struggle against oppressive regimes, given that attempts have been made on her life and more are imminent, and her public defiance of male politicians is most impressive. She makes the case very clearly that foreign aid is going to the tribal warlords and not the people who desperately need assistance.

It is heartening that Joya receives support from the Afghan people, who may not always be able to openly display their agreement with her views but who privately let her know that they are with her.

Corruption in the Afghan government could not be more evident than recent legislation which protected government officials from being tried for any war crimes in the previous civil war. Joya’s comments on the men who misrepresent Islam and oppress citizens in the name of Islam are insightful and thought-provoking.

Societies need strong individuals such as Malalai Joya to speak out against corruption and oppression, and a read of this book will not only inform the reader about current events in Afghanistan, it will encourage them to listen more critically when a politician speaks about democracy and progress in that country. – Macmillan Australia, RRP $34.99