Andrea is seen here with Malalai Joya, also known as “the most famous woman in Afghanistan.” In 2003, at the age of 25, Joya stood up at a constitutional assembly and denounced the NATO-backed warlords. She was elected to parliament in 2005 at age 27, and in 2007, she was suspended for her persistent criticism of the warlords and the government.
Currently on tour of the US to promote her new book, A Woman Among Warlords, Hunter and Andrea met Joya at the home of CODEPINK Co-Founder Jodie Evans. Joya is petite and soft-spoken until she starts speaking about the tragedies currently going on in her country and about the calling for the withdrawal of NATO troops there.
The Paynes deeply appreciated the opportunity to hear a firsthand report about life in Afghanistan from Joya as well as from activist Sara Nichols, who traveled there recently on a CODEPINK delegation. What was especially moving was the story of a young girl, who had been given in marriage against her will as a child, escaped twice, found refuge in a woman’s shelter, and who is now committed to becoming a lawyer on behalf of other women. There are only six women’s centers to serve the approximately 13 million women estimated to be victims of domestic abuse.
Whatever point of view you may have about the US troops being in Afghanistan, you cannot help but be moved by Joya’s courage and passion. She has survived four assassination attempts; for this reason, CODEPINK is requesting contributions to help provide an armored car for Joya’s safety.