About Malalai Joya


Malalai Joya has been called "the bravest woman in Afghanistan." At a constitutional assembly in Kabul in 2003, she stood up and denounced her country's powerful NATO-backed warlords. She was twenty-five years old. Two years later, she became the youngest person elected to Afghanistan's new Parliament. In 2007, she was suspended from Parliament for her persistent criticism of the warlords and drug barons and their cronies. She has survived four assassination attempts to date, is accompanied at all times by armed guards, and sleeps only in safe houses.

Often compared to democratic leaders such as Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi, this extraordinary young woman was raised in the refugee camps of Iran and Pakistan. Inspired in part by her father's activism, Malalai became a teacher in secret girls' schools, holding classes in a series of basements. She hid her books under her burqa so the Taliban couldn't find them. She also helped establish a free medical clinic and orphanage in her impoverished home province of Farah. The endless wars of Afghanistan have created a generation of children without parents. Like so many others who have lost people they care about, Malalai lost one of her orphans when the girl's family members sold her into marriage.

Malalai has risked her life to speak out about the violence and poverty brought on by occupation and corruption in Afghanistan. She will speak in Toronto about why we must end the war and let the Afghan people decide their own future.

Her new book, "A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Speak Out" is the account of her fight to liberate Afghanistan after 30 years of war.

“Malalai Joya leaves us with hope that the tormented people of Afghanistan can take their fate into their own hands if they are released from the grip of foreign powers... we owe to her, and to her people, to listen carefully, to learn, and to act.” Noam Chomsky

Her intimate understanding of the situation of women in Afghanistan exposes the lie that the west is there to protect women’s rights. In an interview with The Guardian she says, “Just as the US air strikes have not brought security to Afghans, nor has the occupation brought security to Afghan women. The reality is quite the opposite. The now infamous ‘Family Law’ is but the tip of the iceberg of the women’s rights catastrophe in our occupied country.”

Media Coverage

Media coverage of Malalai Joya's speaking tour of November 2009, including her event in Toronto on the 18th:

A Woman Among War Lords Parts 1 & 2, The Real News, November 22, 2009

Interview with Malalai Joya, CBC Radio, The Current, November 19, 2009

Liberation Was Just a Big Lie, The Star, November 19, 2009

The Bravest Woman in Afghanistan, The Globe and Mail, November 19, 2009

Saturday interview: Afghan activist Malalai Joya The National Post, November 21, 2009

Soldiers' blood wasted in Afghanistan, author says, CTV, November 18, 2009

Malalai Joya, A Woman Among Warlords, CTV News: Top Picks, Speaking Out, November 18, 2009

Malalai Joya: This is What Courage Looks Like , Pacific Free Press, November 21, 2009

More Information About Malalai

For more information about Malalai Joya go to http://www.malalaijoya.com

Buy Malalai Joya's Book

Buy Malalai Joya's A Woman Among Warlords online at Simon & Schuster Canada
Or support our local, progressive bookstores and buy it at the Toronto Women's Bookstore, 73 Harbourd St.

© Toronto Coalition to Stop the War 2009