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Malalai Joya: Brave, Daring, Strong and Truthful

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For me, she is the bravest, strongest and most daring woman we have today

Ahura Parwani, Fighting for a Change blog, March 26, 2012

"Do not be angry with me if I tell you the truth." -Socrates

The reason I quoted Socrates is because he is one of the many people who pursued the truth and died because of the truth. He was known as the "gladfly" (as the gadfly stings the horse into action, so Socrates stung various Athenians) of Athens. He irritated many people with considerations of justice and pursuit of goodness. So much, that he was asked to stop. He chose to end his life by drinking poison. And many of our Afghan Women Activists' and Journalists' have had similar stories. For example, Meena (founder of RAWA) was murdered by Gulbuddin's people, Zakia Zaki (Afghan journalist who was assasinated in front of her child), Sitara Achakzai (who returned to Afghanistan to try to improve Women's situations was shot by the Taliban), Safia Ahmed-Jan (she was a provincial director of the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Kandahar province), Malalai Joya and many others. It is a sad reality that even after ten years of war, that country is not a safe place for women. There is no freedom of speech. No democracy. No re-construction. Afghanistan is still at its worst state and will remain there until we have a stable government and a REAL president.

This blog is about Malalai Joya. For me, she is the bravest, strongest and most daring woman we have today. She isn't afraid of anything or anyone. No matter what people say about her, they have to still remember the good she has done. She taught young girls during the Taliban era. She opened a clinic and an orphanage. She is living a simple life in Afghanistan. She is strong and brave because even after so many assassination attempts she still lives there. What she does is a must; speaking the truth. When I first watched the video of her speaking against the warlords, I got shivers. Why? Because that was a room filled with criminals but she still had the guts to speak the truth about them. She could have blindly accepted that fact, had remained in the parliament and be surrounded with criminals. But she didn't tolerate it. Some people always talk ill about her, but no one talks about how she got verbally harassed during her time in the parliament. So what if she called the government a stable? It is a stable. It is a big joke. She also talked about how these people have no interest in rebuilding our country, all they care about is their profits and their salaries. If they cared even a bit, we wouldn't have lost so many of our innocent people due to the severe winter this year. It makes me wonder sometimes why are these people so power hungry? Why are they money hungry? All the aid that Afghanistan is getting, goes in their pockets. These are facts and very obvious looking at our country's situation. Its these kinds of injustices and criminals that Malalai Joya speaks against.

Her book "A Woman Among Warlords" is very well written. Its about her experiences, cruelties she has witnessed, Afghans' heartaches and brutal memories she has heard. They would travel for long nights just to share their stories with her and to show her their support. There is one story that I will never forget from this book. I was in the car with my mom while I read that part. It was so devastating that I started to cry. And I cried a lot, I had to bury my face in my hands because I didn't want the passing cars to see the state I was in. This whole book has had a big impact on me. I have always been aware of the brutalities that women go through but to actually read someone's real life experience made it real. The story was about a girl called Anisa, whose mother was raped in front of her and she was raped by five men.

After reading that I just couldn't imagine what kind of a human being could do such a thing. Her and another girl named Samia were both gang-raped by warlords. And since these people are sitting at the top of this disgusting system, these girls will never get justice. Have these men forgotten that they come from a woman's womb? They need to be reminded on a daily basis. Maybe some shame will come to them then. It all comes back to our system and government. Had it been a stable one, maybe poor Anisa and Samia would have gotten justice. It seems to me that its a country where disgusting men are awarded and constantly being told indirectly that its okay to rape, you will get away with it. She will get jailed and you won't even have to pay her family afterwards. What kind of injustice is this? What kind of laws are these? Many women have turned to suicide by either burning themselves or using another method.

I also share her view on how us Afghans in West can make a big difference. We can use our democratic society to help these women and poor children. One day, I would like to work with her. I would stake everything I have to build a party and represent her views and Afghan women in the parliament. I want to fill the lands she got as presents with schools, orphanages and hospitals. I am sure that this is possible if each of us contributed, dedicated just a bit...

No matter who says what about Malalai Joya, she will always remain one of the bravest woman in Afghanistan. We need more women like her. People who will always speak the truth, work in the interest of their people, aren't greedy, rebuild and contribute. Whatever bad she has done (if that's even possible) it will never compare to the good she has done and keeps on doing. And she has done far more than any of those warlords that occupy the seats in the parliament or have. She makes me proud and is an inspiration.