My Fight for Freedom and Human Rights in Afghanistan

with Sally Armstrong

N/A February 2024 Hardback 352pp 26 black and white photographs

About the Book

‘I have three strikes against me. I am a woman, I speak out for women and I’m Hazara, the most persecuted ethnic group in Afghanistan.’

Sima Samar has been fighting for equality and justice all her life. Born into a polygamous family, she learned early that girls had inferior status and had to agree to an arranged marriage to go to university. By the time she was in medical school, she was both a mother and a revolutionary. Samar’s work as a doctor for those most desperate for help – namely women in far flung, mountainous regions – put her in grave personal danger. After her husband was disappeared by the pro-Russian regime, she faced a choice: accept the injustices she saw around her or keep driving for a better Afghanistan.

Despite numerous death threats and decades of catastrophic warfare, Samar has worked tirelessly for the dream she is convinced is achievable: justice and human rights for all citizens of Afghanistan. From selling her own hand-embroidered bed quilt to pay for her education to becoming Minister of Women’s Affairs and thorn in the side of the Taliban, Samar has witnessed the internal and international political failures that have engulfed her country at every level.

In this poignant and inspiring memoir – the first inside story of Afghanistan by a woman – Samar provides an unparalleled view of her country’s past, present and fragile future.

About the Author

Sima Samar is a globally renowned women’s and human rights activist and doctor from Afghanistan. She established the Shuhada Organization that operated more than one hundred schools and dozens of hospitals and clinics in the country. Samar served as Minister of Women’s Affairs of Afghanistan and as Chair of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. She was also formerly a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement. Her many honours include the Right Livelihood Award, the Profile in Courage Award and the Ms. Magazine Women of the Year Award. Samar is currently a visiting scholar at Tufts University’s Fletcher School in the United States where she is based.


‘A mighty memoir … A book to break hearts but also bring hope. Sima Samar was the unflinching face of Afghans’ fight for human rights and justice. Her story is ours too, and it’s time it was told.’
Lyse Doucet

‘Samar is an inspiration for women the world over. Her powerful and moving memoir is a vital read. This inspiring story of resilience, courage and hope ignites a flame of hope for Afghanistan.’
Cherie Blair

‘An extraordinary, gripping and deeply moving book about the tragedy in Afghanistan.’
Ahmed Rashid

‘Sima Samar’s life and work stand in defiance to the dark rule of the Taliban, as a promise for a better future for all Afghans.’
Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

'Illuminating and vital ... Samar's lifelong legacy of resistance and resilience is palpably present in this memorable self-portrait.'
Kirkus Reviews

'Memoirs don't come much more inspirational than this.'
Publishers Weekly