I don’t fear death; I fear remaining silent in the face of injustice. I am young and I want to live. But I say to those who would eliminate my voice: I am ready, wherever and whenever you might strike. You can cut down the flower, but nothing can stop the coming of the spring
—  Malalai Joya, Raising My Voice

US government denies entry visa to Afghan women’s rights activist and author Malalai Joya : Afghan Women’s Mission

Malalai Joya, the acclaimed women’s rights activist and former member of Afghanistan’s parliament (as well as a contributor to my book The Case for Withdrawal From Afghanistan) has been denied a travel visa by the U.S. government.

The Afghan Women’s Mission writes:

“Colleagues of Ms. Joya’s report that when she presented herself as scheduled at the U.S. embassy, she was told she was being denied because she was ‘unemployed’ and 'lives underground.’ Then 27, Joya was the youngest woman elected to Afghanistan’s parliament in 2005. Because of her harsh criticism of warlords and fundamentalists in Afghanistan, she has been the target of at least five assassination attempts. 'The reason Joya lives underground is because she faces the constant threat of death for having had the courage to speak up for women’s rights – it’s obscene that the U.S. government would deny her entry,’ said Sonali Kolhatkar of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a U.S. based organization that has hosted Joya for speaking tours in the past and is a sponsor of this year’s national tour.”

To learn what you can do about it, click here

For more, see RAWA’s website.

Malalai Joya: Why she kicks ass

“They will kill me but they will not kill my voice, because it will be the voice of all Afghan women. You can cut the flower, but you cannot stop the coming of spring.”

  • She is an activist, writer and a former politician from Afghanistan, who 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 Karzai administration and its western supporters, particularly the United States. She was called “the bravest woman in Afghanistan” by the BBC.
  • Time magazine placed Malalai Joya on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, Foreign Policy Magazine listed Malalai Joya in its annual list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers, The Guardian listed her among “Top 100 women: activists and campaigners” and  The New Statesman (UK) ranked Malalai Joya in the sixth place on its list of “The 50 people who matter today… for good and ill”, calling her “Afghanistan’s answer to Aung San Suu Kyi.”
  • she worked as a social activist and was named a director of the non-governmental group, Organisation of Promoting Afghan Women’s Capabilities (OPAWC), spoke in Australia as a guest of UNIFEM, speaking about women’s rights in Afghanistan in honor of International Women’s Day, was invited by Amnesty International India to New Delhi for the International Week of Justice Festival, December 5–10, 2008, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • She has also written a memoir with Canadian writer Derrick O'Keefe. The US and Canadian version of the book was published in October 2009 by Scribner under the title of A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice.

Although this isn’t exactly historical, as Malalai Joya continues to be a wonderful activist for women’s rights in Afghanistan, this video is still quite powerful and inspirational.

The brave and historical speech of Malalai Joya in the LJ

Dec.17, 2003, Loya Jirga in Kabul

When her time came to make her 3-minute statement, she tugged her black headscarf over her hair, stepped up to the microphone, and with emotional electricity made the speech that would alter her life.

After she spoke, there was a moment of stunned silence. Then there was an uproar. Male mujahideen, some who literally had guns at their feet, rushed towards her, shouting. She was brought under the protection of UN security forces.

In a nation where few dare to say the word “warlord” aloud, Joya had spoken fiercely against a proposal to appoint high clergy members and fundamentalist leaders to guide planning groups. She objected that several of those religious leaders were war criminals who should be tried for their actions—not national heroes to influence the new government.

Despite the commands of Assembly Chairman, Joya refused to apologize.

Today, as a result of her legendary actions, Malalai Joya has become popular hero in Afghanistan. She speaks at rallies where thousands of people carry her photo high.

More Information:

1.) Defense Committee for Malalai Joya

2.) Malalai Joya: ‘A Woman Among Warlords’ - NPR Article

3.) Afghan Leader Malalai Joya is Resistance personified - RAWA

“I am Malalai Joya, women’s rights and anti-war activist from Afghanistan. I strongly support Bradley Manning, who, by exposing the crimes and wrong-doings of the US government, informed the world about the brutalities and inhuman acts of US army in my country which is suffering under US/NATO occupation and my people are being tortured and killed under a fake banner of “war on terror”. I am inspired by Manning and other great anti-war soldiers, who represent the shining face of America.

In a just society, brave people like Manning should be celebrated while those setting in the White House, Pentagon and Wall Street should be punished for their war-mongering policies and killing of innocent people around the world for their sinister personal gains. ”

I don’t fear death; I fear remaining silent in the face of injustice. I am young and I want to live. But I say to those who would eliminate my voice: I am ready, wherever and whenever you might strike. You can cut down the flower, but nothing can stop the coming of the spring.
― Malalai Joya, Raising My Voice

Malalai Joya - Palestinian Of My Own Country

Another even better compilation of Joya’s activism.

Get your tickets for Joya’s exclusive appearance in Melbourne for 2012 here.

standing alone in the water pushing against the current we can feel like we’re the only person struggling in the world. listen to this interview with malalai joya. she’s moving an ocean while i’m struggling to lift my head in the rain.

she’s also speaking in several states across the country.
"Imperialism & Fundamentalism Have Joined Hands": Malalai Joya on 12 Years of U.S.-Led Afghan War

Ahead of next week’s 12th anniversary of what has become the longest war in U.S. history, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the United States is seeking to sign an accord to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan for the indefinite future. The United States plans to pull out the bulk of its 57,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but the Pentagon wants to retain a smaller force of around 10,000 forces after 2014. We are joined by Afghan activist and former member of Parliament, Malalai Joya, author of the book, “A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice.” A survivor of numerous attempts on her life, Time magazine has named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. “We need the support of justice-loving people of the U.S. to join their hands with us,” Joya says. “Unfortunately, we see that today imperialism and fundamentalism have joined hands.”

I started working as an activist when I was very young, grade 8. When I started working amongst our people, especially women, it was so enjoyable for me. I learned a lot from them, even though they were not educated. Before I started, I want to tell you, I didn’t know anything about politics. I learned from people who were non-educated, non-political people who belonged to a political situation. I worked with different committees in the refugee camps. I remember that in every house that I went everyone had different stories of suffering. I remember one family we met. Their baby was just skin and bones. They could not afford to take the baby to a doctor, so they had to just wait for their baby to die. I believe that no movie maker, no writer is able to write about these tragedies that we have suffered. Not only in Afghanistan, but also Palestine, Iraq…The children of Afghanistan are like the children of Palestine. They fight against enemies with only stones. These kinds of children are my heroes and my heroines.
—  Malalai Joya, November 5, 2007 (source: Wikipedia)

Tonight (Oct. 23, 2013) in San Diego Malalai Joya gave a presentation about women’s rights in Afghanistan and spoke out against the occupation of her country:

  • women’s rights were among the pretenses for the invasion of Afghanistan, yet no discernible gains have been made after 12 years of occupation
  • no country can donate liberation to another country. It must be fought for and won by the people for themselves
  • between the Bush regime and the Obama regime there is no distinction. Your “Democrats” and “Republicans”, they are just two sides of the same coin.

Her tour has been sponsored by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), the Afghan Women’s Mission, and in San Diego by the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, and the Peace Resource Center.


Malalai Joya speaks with CNN about the continuing military presence in Afghanistan. Joya has been described by many as the bravest woman in the world. 

Come see her speak about this, and more, exclusively at Marxism 2012 (tix available at


Malalai Joya on her speech at Loya Jirga in Kabul