To be a woman growing up in Afghanistan under the Taliban and to survive is in itself a major feat. To be so lucky as to become literate in a place where girls are shrouded and denied even fresh air is close to a miracle. To start underground schools and educate girls under the noses of turbaned, self-appointed defenders of virtue and forbidders of vice is truly extraordinary.
But to get a seat in parliament and refuse to be silent in the face of the Taliban and warlord zealots shows true fiber. When Malalai Joya did this, her opponents responded in the usual way: expulsion from parliament, warnings, intimidation and attempts to cut her life short. She has survived all of it.
Malalai, 31, is a leader. I hope in time she comes to see the U.S. and NATO forces in her country as her allies. She must use her notoriety, her demonstrated wit and her resilience to get the troops on her side instead of out of her country. The road to freedom is long and arduous and needs every hand.
Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel, has a book, Nomad, out this month
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