“I must make clear that only fate and history have made my name known. …I also know that there are women and girls all around the world who are willing and able to take a stand for their rights, no matter what the odds against them or the hardships that they face.”
– Malalai Joya, A Woman Among Warlords, pg. 226
I admit, I am at a complete loss when it comes to Afghanistan. Therefore, I should not comment on the accuracy of any of the complex local, national and international history, culture and politics tat Joya speaks to. While I believe that what she wrote is truth to her, I was reminded throughout the book that her perspective is one of many in a truly horrible situation.
However, I thank God that Joya was willing and able to share her story and I had a few extra minutes one day to run into an independent bookstore where I saw her eyes staring back from the cover of the book. With a strong interest in learning how people find and use their God given voice and interesting in knowing more about a country where my tax money is going, the book was soon in my hand.
This is not a literary work of art, but rather a view into the beliefs and motivations of a single woman under difficult circumstances. A woman who has generated a following of both supporters and enemies.
I can not imagine what it would be like for me to live like she describes. To fear being caught carrying books down the street, to be threatened in such public and personal ways, and yet to seek love and justice in the midst of such chaos.
Joya does things her way – doing what she, and others around her, see best in a very difficult situation. She has hope in a future that others see as a threat. She works for something, putting her whole self into it.
I loved reading this book as it provided an insight into one particular take on the whole situation. Knowing my personality, I don’t think I would do it her way, but I think that is why I appreciate her more. Sometimes we need people to be extremely outspoken, being the voice for the voiceless, risking everything for strangers, moving quickly towards a goal. By revealing her thoughts, motivations, struggles and history, provides us – especially those with far less public – with opportunities for reflection and growth.
I suggest reading this book, and then passing it on.
Gracious God, help us see all of your creation as opportunities for learning. We may not all agree about everything, but we surely can learn from everything. Lord, help those women, men and children struggling to live as you call them to live. Lord, help those who can not use their voice, find a way to speak. Amen.