By Anne Brodsky

“Here is a testimony to RAWA – Afghanistan’s real democrats.” – Arundhati Roy

With all our Strength - book coverWith All Our Strength is the inside story of this women-led underground organization and their fight for the rights of Afghan women. Anne Brodsky, the first writer given in-depth access to visit and interview their members and operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, shines light on the gruesome, often tragic, lives of Afghan women under some of the most brutal sexist oppression in the world.

Click here to buy a copy of “With All Our Strength”. All proceeds benefit RAWA.

Arundhati Roy says:

Here is a testimony to RAWA – Afghanistan’s real democrats. After the recent farce about the “liberation” of women (Do we really believe we can bomb our way to a feminist paradise?) – the old jehadis are back at the helm, Sharia law is alive and well, and RAWA is as crucial to Afghanistan’s future as it ever was.

Anne Brodsky’s book gives us a ring side view of this extraordinary women’s movement that is as doggedly committed to the business of democracy as it is to the (vital) business of dreaming of another, better world. Each of us needs a little RAWA.

Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues says:

The work of RAWA must stand as a model for every group that struggles against the twin evils of oppression and violence. Anne Brodsky’s account reveals the boundless courage of these warrior women, who have fought for basic human dignity while the rest of the world looked away.

Katha Pollitt, Author of Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture says:

Anne Brodsky goes behind the headlines to look closely at a unique organization that according to popular stereotypes of Afghan women should not exist. RAWA is a militant, secular, feminist, pro-democracy movement run by women. Brodsky shows us how ordinary women, including those who are illiterate and who have experienced traumatic violence, can become powerful agents of social and political change. Combining scholarship with empathy, Brodsky produces a fascinating book.

Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban and Jihad says:

WITH ALL OUR STRENGTH is the first political history of Afghanistan told through women’s eyes. Afghan women have always been depicted as the victims of war and mass destruction, but Brodsky shows us that real and powerful women live behind the veil and she has given them a voice and a history. This is the story of those defiant Afghan women who never succumbed or surrendered to extremism or despair and who want nothing more than to build peace and democracy in their county. A powerful story.

Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur of the UN and prominent women’s rights activist of Pakistan says:

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has consistently and courageously maintained that a democratic and secular political system is the only guarantee for peace in Afghanistan. This is true for other neighboring countries as democratic forces in the region have been silenced and marginalised by militant fundamentalist “lashkars”. Regrettably, they received patronage from governments, who used “jihad” to advance their ill-conceived agendas at the cost of people’s freedom. RAWA is a reminder to these powerful lobbies that truth and justice does eventually prevail. They have been a source of inspiration to hundreds of young Afghans and to the women’s groups in Pakistan. Their struggle has been long and under immense pressure, yet their resolve has never wavered.

Sunita Mehta, editor of Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future says:

Anne Brodsky writes a comprehensive history of this courageous women’s organization with passion and sensitivity. This book is a testament to not only the legacy of RAWA, but to Brodsky’s own commitment to this organization and its unflinching advocacy for women’s rights and secular democracy in Afghanistan.

Publishers Weekly, March 23rd 2003:

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan came to Western attention in the wake of the fall of the Taliban, but its history long predates the Taliban. In 1977, in an environment hostile to women’s rights and secularism, a 20-year-old woman named Meena founded RAWA to empower Afghan women and promote democracy in Afghanistan (in 1987, Meena was murdered by RAWA’s opponents). Community psychologist Brodsky’s groundbreaking account studies this important organization’s evolution from an 11-member student group to the most powerful voice for women in Afghanistan, with thousands of volunteers. Heavily sprinkled with perceptive interviews, the book relays RAWA’s story through the voices of its members and supporters, skillfully bringing to life those whose sacrifices have sustained the organization. The first writer with in-depth access to RAWA, Brodsky writes a passionate narrative of an organization ! that has helped its members overcome illiteracy, abuse, war and death. As Brodsky intends, RAWA emerges as a highly successful model of the resilience that, Brodsky believes, can empower women everywhere. Although RAWA’s incredible story keeps the reader engaged, the book is occasionally repetitive. Brodsky also inadequately addresses one of the most fascinating aspects of RAWA–the clandestine manner in which the organization grew into a sophisticated transnational organization without infrastructure and designated leaders. However, her work stands out as a lone and important study of a remarkable organization that has transcended war, misogyny and fundamentalism and spread its message of Afghanistan’s horrific history and its current reconstruction.

Click here to buy a copy of “With All Our Strength.” All proceeds benefit RAWA.