A Woman Among Warlords The Extraordinary Story of an

  • Paperback
  • 349 pages
  • A Woman Among Warlords The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice
  • Malalai Joya
  • Italian
  • 11 June 2016
  • 9788856613025

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A Woman Among Warlords The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her VoiceReview from 2009This is a useful and interesting book that made me consider the kinds of governments that western powers sometimes prop up Having said that if you are unfamiliar as I am with the history of Afghanistan and the ever changing situation there since 911 this is a challenging text to read I couldn’t keep track of the multiple warlords who played key roles in the corrupt government and I certainly needed background information about the figures in the Afghan parliament than the author provides here The author writes powerfully about the Afghan government’s heinous crimes against women children and the poor of the country Her book makes one uestion what the role of other nations should be with respect to this country How can the West really support this war torn place? How can the most downtrodden be protected? A skilled co writer and better editing might have helped this become a clearer illuminating work Having heard a number of interviews with Joya a charismatic and galvanizing woman I was surprised at some of the details and word choices here The book gives the impression that Joya stands alone against the corrupt that she is the only one who knows the truth about Islamic fundamentalists Few other democratic Afghan voices are heard Given her political success and the support she has received from the Afghan people Joya has surely met with other thoughtful and dedicated freedom fighters It would have been appropriate to hear about them here On another note the freuent use of the word martyrs is frankly concerning and reuires clarification for a western audience Maladai era ancora tra le braccia della mamma uando i russi hanno invaso l'Afganistan E aveva solo uattro anni uando la sua famiglia si è rifugiata in Pakistan Poi sono venuti la guerra civile negli anni Novanta la presa del potere dei Talebani la guerra del terrore degli americani Oggi che è una giovane donna Malalai Joya non ha conosciuto un solo giorno di pace in vita sua Forse per uesto perchè nel suo paese ha vistoa alternarsi gli oppressori mentre restava identica la più brutale violenza ha deciso da subito che avrebbe lottato per la propria libertà e per la libertà negata delle donne afganeuando dopo il crollo del regime talebano Malalai ha la pos sibilità di entrare a far parte dei delegati della Loya Jirga il gran consiglio afgano che dovrebbe governare il nuovo corso si ritrova in realtà seduta a fianco degli aguzzini di sempre Lo sgomento non dura che un attimo Poi Malalai decide consapevole che ci sono scelte che segnano una vita per sempreDecide di non piegarsi alla legge del silenzio Osa dare voce a chi non ha voce Si alza Chiede la parola E proprio lei una donna dice la verità che nessuno aveva mai detto In aula scoppia il putiferio Infedele gridano le lunghe barbe Prostituta Solo l'intervento di altre delegate evita il peggio Dal giorno del suo intervento Malalai è oggetto di continue minacce di morte e di continui tentativi di attentati Ormai vive una vita blindata cambia casa ogni giorno è costretta a girare con il burua proprio lei che lo combatte da sempre E il giorno del suo matrimonio ha dovuto controllare in ogni mazzo di fiori che non ci fossero bombe Però la sua battaglia non si ferma niente può più tacere la sua voce che rivela le verità più scomode e taciute i silenzi sulle connivenze internazionali la natura fondamentalista del regime Karzai in cui si intensifica la presenza di trafficanti di armi di droga di violatori dei diritti umani La storia e uella tormentata del suo paese si intrecciano First off let me say there have been 2 versions of this book released I just bought it for my Kindle last week so I have the latest edition I did not find the writing as objectionable as some reviewers have I'm sure as in most books there are areas where it could be improved but it was not a distraction to me at allThere are many extraordinary men and women in this world and this book is the story of one of them Although Malalai Joya is a young woman she has an important story to tell Born into war torn Afghanistan she was fortunate to have a father who was educated and wanted his children to be educated as well an estimated 80% of Afghan women are illiterate Her father also instilled in her a love of democracy Malalai Joya is not her real name but it is the name she goes by in most areas of her life in order to protect her family Born in 1978 she has never known a time when her country was not at war In A Woman Among Warlords Joya describes her life in rural Afghanistan refugee camps in both Iran and Pakistan teaching in underground schools for girls and finally being elected to the new Parliament only to be ejected for speaking out Her life is constantly in danger and although she has traveled outside of Afghanistan to speak and carry her message she won't consider staying out of the country Love for the real Afghanistan the people comes through on every page The book gives a brief history of Afghanistan to fill in background for the current struggle She speaks knowledgeably about the roles other governments have played in this history and credits the research team who helped her gather this information I have read several other books about Afghanistan and the facts are consistent with what I've read Although the book carries a message of hope it is not a feel good book She conveys a picture of the horrors that the Afghan people have had to endure and is critical of the people who have brought it about This includes both Afghans such as the warlords and the president Hamid Karzai but also the former Soviet Union and the current USNATO occupation However just as she is able to distinguish between the Afghan government and the people of Afghanistan she distinguishes between the people of western countries and their governments Joya is thankful for being able to carry her message to Europe and the US and for the help she has received from some western organizations The message could sound hopeless but she doesn't see it that way In the last chapter Joya gives suggestions to people who want to help As an American I have often wondered how we could leave Afghanistan with so many problems many of which we caused knowing that there are so many warring factions Joya is insistent that if democracy is to be attained in Afghanistan it will be because the people secure it for themselves The message I get from this book is that yes they would like our help but from a distance Malalai Joya has outsized courage She has experienced trauma and seen brutality and grinding poverty on a scale we who live under stable governments cannot imagine Just knowing that carrying a book inside your burka can cost you your life is an outrageous thought She braved this and to share her education Later she used her courage on the local and world stagesIt is painful to know that the perpetrators of the destruction of Kabul those who murdered innocents and those who made and enforced the draconian laws against women came to power in a democracy It must be horrible for the average citizens all who are bereaved in some wayJoya was very young to be elected to the Loya Jirgha Was it wise to begin her tenure with such open criticism? Here in the west it is not a way to begin a new job or be effective in politics But none of us is facing colleagues who months earlier ordered or participated in the murder of innocent people and the destruction of cities How does a sane and compassionate person respond to this?If only by defining the people in charge Joya shows how corrupt and anti democratic the leaders are Karzai's first choice for Chief Justice told NPR that he supports beheading for un Islamic behavior and Karzai's top drug advisor spent 4 years in a Nevada prison for selling heroin The governor Karzai appointed to Joya's home district was believed by residents to be a war criminal and later believed to have attacked its orphanage and clinic While there are no courts to prove or disprove their beliefs couldn't Karzai find a governor with a better reputation? These are only a few examplesThe US pouring billions into the country did not want to hear bad news Good news stories about roads hospitals and schools continue to emanate from the country Many like Barbara Bush believe or want to believe or have a vested interest in the public believing that all girls and boys can now go to school and that there is a functioning economy and legal systemIt may be that President Obama has gotten the message In March he made a surprise visit to give stern words to Karzai In this book Karzai appears to be hapless He is sympathetic listener but he does nothing Some say he is a user of Afghanistan's major export and while this book does not hint of that his behavior does I presume he listened sympathetically to President Obama but when he does nothing what will President Obama do with a country so out of control? Joya says the US should leave immediately but also says for this to work the warlords must be disarmed a major Catch 22This was a very enlightening book The specific examples she cites helps to put the pieces left out by the media together The book needs and editor Some information is repeated Some topics need introduction Some of the material is presented in a way it is hard for western readers to pull context While the ualities of the book put it in the 3 to 4 star category I give it the full 5 stars for the specificity of the information and the courageous work of the author This should be mandatory reading for anyone who wants to understand Afghanistan Malalai Joya was the youngest member of Afghanistan's first post Taliban Parliament and her story is as shocking as it is inspiring It's not a gentle book; Joya doesn't pull any punches no matter what aspect of her country's dire situation she's addressing This can be hard for an American reader but when you think about the fact that the woman criticizing the NATO operation so mercilessly on paper has also risked her life to criticize brutal warlords to their faces then it seems only fair to take your lumps However I think the best thing about this memoir is the picture it paints of the Afghan people as lovers of true democracy who are willing to risk their stability their happiness and their lives to support the democratic dream It's a pity they can't get access to NATO as easily as the warlordsand a pity that NATO has chosen to ignore Malalai Joya who is a honest if abrasive voice I recently heard Joya interviewed on the radio and that is what prompted me to read this book Figured it was about time that I learned a little bit about Afghanistan from something other than filtered western news Really this is an incredible and inspiring story of one woman's courage and determination to stand up to the criminal and thuggish nature of those in power in Afghanistan I am awed She does not paint a pretty picture either of politics in her own country or of the presencepolicies of the West The writing was uneven at times I thought the most effective and powerful points in the book were when she was telling her own story In an attempt to help readers understand the many and complicated layers of the history and current situation of Afghanistan Joya goes off on some tangents In the last 30 pages it felt like a diatribe While I understand her need to do this I felt like it took away from her story All in all I'm very glad to have read this Joya's passion to speak the truth is amazing and important and urgent This is a book that definitely deserves to be read as it contains very important information about the reality of life inside Afghanistan written by a very dedicated and brave woman She rightly points out that we in the west following mainstream media really have no concept of the reality of what is occurring every day in Afghanistan It's a wake up call and forced me to start considering what NATO forces are really trying to acheive there The reason I only gave it two stars is not from what Malalai Joya has to relate but for the way her story and passions are told in this book It's a very dry read and towards the end I found the style becoming and repetetive You get a feeling of being told this happened and then that happened and so on This challenged my beliefs and made me think A lot Malalai Joya is a young Afghan who showed her courage by teaching young girls when the Taliban made it illegal Her bravery has continued many of her friends and allies have been assasanaited or imprisoned yet Malali has continued to speak outWhat is challenging is her argument is that the US and UN have put warlords in control of Afghanistan and those warlords are not much better than the Taliban She cites many examples who either cooperated with Soviet Union or murdered many Afghans between Soviet and Taliban rule or cooperated with the Taliban She cites one example of someone who helped some of the planners of 911 locate to Afghanistan who is now in a position of powerMalalai describes her election to the Afghan parliament the attempts to muzzle her and the subseuent suspension of her from the Parliament She also describes the huge corruption in Afghanistan today and how most aid goes into the pockets of corrupt leadersIn the second half of the book her stridency and loss of focus on what could be done to help Afghans started to wear Some of her proposals seem uestionable such as end of American involvement in Afghanistan while at the same time arguing that warlords should be banished from power I was left wondering who would lead that charge without American support though I believe she would argue that the Afghans are better off dealing with these issues on their own without any foreign involvement She also seemed to get somewhat polemic her endorsement of Hugo Chavez for example was very jarring coming from someone who is arguing for free speech and democracythough she does critisize Chavez for his embrace of the Iranian governmentBut even if I uestion agreeing to all her arguments I was certainly challenged by her arguments I am also very disturbed that she was kicked out of Parliament after being elected and for only expressing her opinion It is also disturbing to read of the war's impact on Afghan civiliansIn the final analysis this book challenged me and made me think as few books have an important book in that it highlights the reality in Afghanistan that is not told in the mainstream media She gives some of the history too which is new to me and helped me understand the current situation There is no doubt she is extraordinarily brave to stand up for the rights of women and justice in a country where opening her mouth is immediate suicide and incredibly tenacious and passionate in her goals to get as far as being an MP the fact she is still alive shows she has a lot of grassroots support She is doing amazing work however one thing I do not agree with her is her belief that as soon as foreign powers go Afghanistan can be on the road to true democracy She herself mentions briefly in the history telling parts of the book that there have been widespread reforms before earlier in the 20th century which she points out in a positive way as they did so themselves without any help from outside which is true but eually true is that the people with their strong Islamic religious culture and I'm not talking about fundamentalists uickly became 'disillusioned' with these liberal dictators and paved the way for less progressive rulers So Afghanistan may eventually become a liberal modern country but it's geographical position and religious culture will make this road long Other reasons I gave this book only 3 stars is that she mentioned a few times as an euivalent situation the 'persecuted Palestinians' from the 'aggressive Israeli occupiers' and the terrible lives and predicament of the poor Palestinian children this kind of biased ignorant viewpoint is hypocritical as she has never visited the middle east and is getting her information from presumably the media that she herself lambasts as biased and under the control of warlords and american interests in Afghanistan and so not reliable when considering the Afghan situation and made me uestion her other statements Finally do not read this book for great writing that's not the point it is very repetitive and by its nature full of slogans and black or white self righteousness A Woman Among Warlords Malalai JoyaSEE Malalai ON DEMOCRACY NOW March 28 2011 book is very good and it represents a grass roots voice of both people of Afghanistan and of free thinking Islamic womenThere are three main parts or aspects to this book A memoir of a child growing up in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and being a refugee from that regime and then the time after returning to Afghanistan when the Taliban come to power secretly teaching school and organizing aid all as a very young woman It is also a memoir on the political life of someone who steps forward to represent everyday people during the current US occupation fighting the corrupt structure that the US has created there And then it is a political analysis of the way forward with specific things that will bring Afghanistan forwardMalalai Joya is an extremely brave person someone who does what needs to be done and does not count the personal cost This is a voice not heard elsewhere at least commonly in the west and so this is a very important book that must be read and it's wisdoms spreadIt is good to read criticism from the other side She is critical of Obama's war making and Bush's as well Her view on Benizir Bhutto again from the other side is one i've not known beforeI had to reflect too of the role of strong fathers who love their daughters and recognize the value of education and free thought I've read a few books like this lately and all involve the common element connecting this sort father in Islamic culture with the life of strong healthy womenMy one minor criticism is that perhaps the modern memoir has not aged enough to give the author perspective What she did was right but how you describe and what detail you give is not always apparent when you are in the middle of the situation That said i don't think there is time to waste this is too important and needs to be said and understood now there is blood on our hands

About the Author: Malalai Joya

Malalai Joya Pashto ملالۍ جویا born April 25 1978 is an activist writer and a former politician from Afghanistan She served as a Parliamentarian in the National Assembly of Afghanistan from 2005 until early 2007 after being dismissed for publicly denouncing the presence of what she considered to be warlords and war criminals in the Afghan parliament She is an outspoken critic of the Karza