Three women of valor

Last week we noted Evan Maloney’s report on Natalie Healy’s visit to New Haven to protest the attendance of Taliban Man at Yale. Mrs. Healy’s son Dan was a Navy SEAL who was killed last year while serving in Afghanistan when the Taliban blew up his helicopter. In his OpinionJournal column this morning, John Fund tells the story of Afghanhistan’s 27-year-old female legislator Malalai Joya. Ms. Joya spoke at Yale last week and commented on Taliban Man: “It is an unforgivable insult to the Afghan people that he is here. He should face a court of law rather than be at one of your finest universities.” Yale Daily News columnist James Kirchick also devotes his column today to Ms. Joya’s campus visit.

Fund’s column in addition tells the story of Makai Rohbar, an Afghan student whose family legally immigrated to New Haven in 2002. Ms. Rohbar served as Ms. Joya’s translator for Ms. Joya’s speech at Yale. Fund reports:

After Ms. Joya’s speech, I asked Ms. Rohbar what she was studying. She told me she was taking classes in chemistry and biophysics in the hope of someday becoming a physician. I then inquired how long she had been at Yale. She blushed. “I don’t go here,” she said. “I attend classes at Gateway Community College,” also in New Haven. She had never imagined that she could be accepted into Yale or ever find a way to pay for it.

Intrigued, I later called her up to get her full story. She left a refugee camp in Pakistan with her mother, Maroofa, and her four younger siblings in 2002. Like Mr. Hashemi she has only a high school equivalency degree, because schooling in the refugee camp was limited. Her mother can’t work and knows only basic English, so she and her sister Rona are the only means of support for the family beyond food stamps and $600 a month in housing assistance from the state.

I asked her what her life was like. “It’s hard, but certainly better than Pakistan,” she told me. “I am very grateful, but I must work 50 hours a week and also go to class. Sometimes, I am so tired I can’t attend.” She earns $8 an hour as a clerk in a local retail store.

I asked what she thought about Mr. Hashemi attending Yale with the help of a Wyoming foundation and a discount from Yale of 35% to 40% on tuition. “It’s like a nightmare that you can’t believe when you wake up,” she told me. “This is a good country, but I think some people in New Haven are so complacent they don’t know what officials like Hashemi did to my people.”

Fund’s column also reports that Mrs. Healy had scheduled an appointment to meet with Yale President Richard Levin during her campus visit last week. Unfortunately, she was tied up in traffic and arrived 15 minutes after President Levin had left the office for the day; a Yale public affairs officer instead met with Mrs. Healy.


In the photo above, Evan Maloney squeezes Mrs. Healy into his schedule last week. Evan reported on his campus visit in “Stonewalling at Yale.” Hats off to these brave ladies — Mrs. Healy, Ms. Hoya, Ms. Rohbar — who have delivered an important message to Yale.

UPDATE by JOHN: A female reader writes to ask whether Evan is married. Truthfully, I have no idea. But hey, this is a serious news site, not a dating service! We wouldn’t want this kind of thing to get out of hand. But, Evan, why don’t you let us know whether you’d like us to pass on your email address to your new admirer.


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