Malalai Joya, 2009 Raising My Voice, Rider Books, £11.99.
This book is a co-written auto-biography and political polemic written by the youngest and most famous female MP in Afghanistan Malalai Joya. The book is a testament to Joya’s bravery in standing up to not only the Taliban, but also the corrupt Afghan government and the US occupiers. It seems like a miracle that someone like Joya could exist in Afghanistan, she appears to have been shaped by a series of chance developments that have led her to a position of moral authority that she now feels compelled to exercise. A political father, ending up in a secular controlled refugee camp, coming from a part of Afghanistan free from direct Taliban or Northern Alliance control. These factors have allowed her to educate herself and have lead her to office in a seemingly otherwise utterly dismal political and social scene. The book is the story of how she has used this office to stand against the corrupt western backed government of warlords, drug runners and religious fundamentalists (Yes that’s the government not the Taliban).
This book should be read by anybody who is unsure whether we should pull our troops out of Afghanistan. It may not be the world’s greatest autobiography, but it is a compelling and easy read. I read it cover to cover in a few hours, finding it impossible to put down.
Buy it. Read it. Put your name on the inside cover and pass it on. Everybody who gives a damn about whether British Soldiers should be in Afghanistan should read this book
I wrote this book because there is a good chance I will be killed. Afghanistan has a sophisticated political history but has suffered from foreign interventions. The English, Russians, Iranians, Pakistanis etc have oppressed us and should leave us alone, we are smart enough to run our own country. A democratic secular Afghanistan is impossible as long as the US backs a government of corrupt murderers, warlords and rapists from the Northern Alliance. The people do not support these people because they comitted crimes worse than the Taliban after the Russians were driven out. Why has the US put these people into power? I was elected to the post invasion Loya Jirga because of my work in the local community (for example educating girls in secret under Taliban rule). When I got to the Loya Jurga I persuaded them to let me speak and used my speech to denounce all the warlords and criminals in the room. They were furious but I became known all over Afghanistan. I was elected as an MP. I am now banned from parliament because I have used my position to point out the government and main opposition are all warlords, drug runners or Iranian backed thugs. The softer reformists are scared to speak out. The occupying forces don’t support me. The NGO’s don’t support me. The people support me. The Taliban are brutal thugs but the occupation is making them strong. US troops should get out now. The situation for women is worse. Most Women MP’s are often worse on women’s issues than the warlords because they are put there by the warlord’s parties. I will keep speaking out.