malalai joya: rise like a storm that brings the truth

My first opportunity to travel to the West to tell the story of my suffering people came in 2002, when I was regional director of OPAWC. Soon after we had set up Hamoon Clinic and the orphanage, I was invited by women's rights groups to speak in Germany. I was only 24 years old at the time, so I was very honored by the invitation. . . .

I remember clearly that some Germans in the audience cried when we described the conditions of life in Afghanistan. I also met a Russian woman at this conference who came up to us and said how ashamed she was that her country had caused so many problems in Afghanistan. It was very impressive to me. It was on this first trip abroad that I really began to realize the universal humanity that unites everyone who is working for a better world.

These Westerners were human just as we Afghans are human. We are all flesh and bone, we all live and die, and we all have hopes and dreams for our families and friends. Westerners and Afghans both have women and young generations that want something better - all of this unites us despite just how different our conditions of day-to-day life are.

. . . .

... I am speechless to describe my gratitude and warm solidarity. I am convinced that it does not matter in what part of the world we find ourselves. If we share ideas and we carry out a struggle for justice, then we are united together by strong bonds.

. . .

My goal abroad has always been the same as when I am inside Afghanistan: to unite people and to build power to destroy the domination of the warlords and the Taliban, and to end the occupation of my country. My wish is that this international solidarity will build strength and unity, and that when people become aware, they will rise like a storm that brings the truth. One voice - or even many isolated voices - is powerless. But when we weave our voices and our efforts together, we can become unbreakable.

This movement we are weaving must come from struggles in every corner of the world: our voice of resistance in Afghanistan; the cries of agony of the children of Palestine; the tears for democracy denied in Burma; the young freedom-loving students of Iran; the struggle of men and women in Turkey from whom I hear inspiring stories of bravery and courage in the face of horrible torture and killings in the Turkish prisons; the endeavors of Venezuela, Chile, Cuba, Bolivia, and progressive movements in other American nations; the fight of African people for just and free societies.

Our sufferings - and enemies - are the same. And our happiness is the same.

Malalai Joya, A Woman Among Warlords

More on the book in a bit.

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