The Bravest Woman in Afghanistan

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On International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, here’s why Roghul Khairzad is the bravest woman in Afghanistan..

“Roghul Khairzad, a Senator in Afghanistan, won’t give up fighting for the rights of women in her country, despite shocking attacks on her and her family.”

“On 4 August 2013…the Taliban attacked my vehicle as I drove my family home. They killed my nine-year old daughter Dunya and brother Ghulam Jailani. Dunya’s twin sister was paralyzed because of the injuries she received. I was shot nine times, including in my liver, lung and leg.

I was attacked again on 8 January 2015 when four armed men opened fire on my car. I was in a coma for two weeks and nearly died. I have been struggling with my recovery ever since and have had to leave the country for treatment. My son is suffering from trauma having witnessed the attack.”

When we say the ones who fight for a certain virtue despite threats and persecutions are brave and ultimately altruistic, we don’t mean to say that millions of those who do not do the same are weak and selfish. It’s because we understand that these activists are going against their instinct and self-preservation — every red-light and signals every cell in their bodies is telling –, that we laud them.

But we — you and I — are not under constant attack. Our lives are not subject to death threats and unimaginable ordeal everyday because of our gender and identity. So if a woman like Roghul Khairzad can speak up at the expense of her life and security, so can we, at the expense of our time and voice.



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