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Malala and our hypocrisy – by A Z

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We are ready to judge Malala even before she has done something wrong and not willing to judge Taliban even after they have killed tens of thousands. Why?

To me, this ‘why’ is nonsensical. What else can one expect? When you have a society that takes at its founding the hatred and degradation of women and minorities, when that society inscribes that degradation in its most hallowed document, and continues to inscribe hatred in its laws and policies, it is eccentric to believe that its citizens will derive no ill messaging. It is painful to say this, Malala Yousufzai is not a victim of Taliban but a victim of our hypocrisy.  This is not our system malfunctioning. It is our system working as intended.

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Malala Yousafzai was only 11 years old when she took on the Taliban by giving voice to her dreams. As the beastly turbaned fighters swept through her town Mingora in North West of Pakistan in 2009, everyone cowered in fear. But this petite child stood her ground to claim her right to learn. The tiny schoolgirl spoke out about her passion for education — she wanted to become a doctor, she said — and became a symbol of defiance against Taliban subjugation. Finally Taliban answered her courage with bullets,  with one of the bullets lodged close to her brain. Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, confirmed by phone that Malala had been the target, calling her crusade for education rights an “obscenity.” Adding that if she survived, the militants would certainly try to kill her again. “Let this be a lesson.” Doctors had very little hope for Malala to live on. But Malala embodies a different spirit. She survived. There is no greater tribute to Malala’s courage than that the agents of darkness, that Taliban are, would see a schoolgirl’s death as desirable and justifiable because her wide-eyed optimism and courage had to be extinguished for darkness to prevail.

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The marked indifference at the government level simply means that Pakistan has abandoned Malala to appease her tormentors, as it seeks to negotiate a settlement with the Taliban. That too is not a surpise, just a sign that hypocrisy pervades all echelons and most hearts in our society.  It’s also a pity that many of us are more preoccupied with her father than the real story. Hypocrisy readily accomodates the notions of conspiracy in order to escape reality.

Malala has my complete admiration so far. I don’t think people realise how incredibly phenomenal this girl is because she was brave enough to stand up for her rights in a situation in which most people would have either acquiesced or publicly acquiesced while quietly resisting, as I may have done. Malala resisted loudly and publicly and doing so whilst understanding the possible consequences took an immense strength of character regardless of her age. An extraordinary young woman, a child of our times, and an example of the power of education, and freedom of thought. I was moved to tears a number of times watching this young girl speak at the UN. I hope I can be as forgiving as she was in words towards the kind of misogyny, sexism, and ignorance that is perpetuated by her attackers. It reminded me of the moment when I heard Mandela speaking about his willingness to die for the right of people of all colours to live in harmony. For all fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons, the message is clear let our/your/my daughters, sisters, wives and mothers be Free.

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No matter if there was a team of writers drafting that speech for her, as some point out. So what? Who doesn’t have speech writers? For a 16 year old to stand and so eloquently deliver a speech in a foreign language to some of the most influential people of the world just beggars belief. The tenor of the verse like a flower should not be allowed to die. She is an inspiration to humanity worldwide. The Taliban are some of the most inhuman, misanthropic monsters I can think of. Courage like Malala’s is the antidote. However, courage alone does not suffice to describe the Lincolnesque delivery of her address – truly humbling.

It’s incredible that in trying to silence this girl and thankfully failing – the Taliban have managed to amplify her message in a way nothing else probably could. No wonder, as the girl is now beyond the assailants’ reach, their apologists are doing their utmost to discredit her for her perceived future sins.

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Free education for all is one of the most fundamental rights we have. Without it we condemn millions to poverty and ignorance.

To have gone through what she has and come out so much stronger, and at such a young age. She is an inspiration to young and old. She’s a good performer though.

So, in summary, Malala is quite a force of nature. For this sixteen year old from one of the most backward areas, for women in particular, in the world to be already a great public speaker in a language she is till learning to master is quite something. However, something else also bothered many: the fact that she was wearing the late Benazir Bhutto’s shawl, which was presumably given to her by the Bhutto family. No doubt, the Bhuttos were accused of enriching themselves, through their positions of office in Pakistan, and of course Benazir’s husband is renowned for his craft. However, I see absolutely nothing wrong with Malala’s wearing Benazir Bhutto’s shawl. In the final analysuis, now that she is gone, despite all her alleged and real human shortcomings Benazir Bhutto’s heritage does Pakistan proud. Like Malala, Benazir Bhutto was also maligned as an Indian agent, a Jewish agent, a western stooge, and even labelled a security risk. Though unlike Malala, Benazir was not lucky enough to survive the bullet from these beasts piecring her head. What these people forget is that Benazir is also seen as a symbol of courage and and icon for women in Pakistan, indeed the entire world. Notwithstanding her foibles, Benazir has left behind a powerful and inspriring legacy that she now cannot be dispossessed of, much as they try..

I just hope that Malala shows the same courage, vision, perseverance, eloquence, and persona as the remarkable woman whose shawl she chose to wear on the most important occasion of her young life.

And, I also hope that Malala keeps her integrity intact.

Go on Malala, be the light you are! Learn to show the world your best! Whereever you are, you remain our pride and our blessing.

About the author

Asif Zaidi

53 Comments

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  • Afia, and not Malala, is our hero. Malala looks to West, Afia looks to God. That’s why while Malala is being celebrated Afia is serving 86 years on filmsy charges. if Malala had not been a western stooge she would have been killed in a drone attack.

  • i have no time to read this cock and bull story.
    one thing is clear the BBC Diary that was published during sawat operation was never her writing. BBC correspondent was using her name after the consent of her father. after listening her in UNO i can bet my last penny how can she translate her feelings on paper 4 years ago.
    she has no her own thoughts, she can repeat whatever her father used to tell her.
    what is on her credit ? what is her achievement ? ZERO
    she is just lukky enough to be daughter of a wicked man, who used the conditions in his own favor and things paid him. just lukk nothing else.
    national titles can not be bestowed to such individuals.
    fukk malala as much as possible, just pay his father some dollars.

    • I have many of the information more then this fake block , this is all shit explained about this MALALA , she is good for nothing just a hypocrisy, and planed activity to plot in future as our political leader for moving the zions and illumantis vision for the Antichrist..
      Hell with u MALLALA and RASIED YOUR Voice for Dr,Afia

    • Dear ALl, One thing is very clear from all these posts about our dull mentality and vulgarity…We as a nation are pessimists and our destructive mind is always full of hatred and hypocrisy…We ourselves can do nothing substantial and so to hide our ineffeciencies and discrepancies we are skillful to defame our heros and our well wishers..Malala is certainly a symbol of hope, peace and prosperity but our unlucky nation will never understand it..
      May ALLAH lead this nation on a right path (AMEEN).

  • What to expect from Dukhtar Farosh (daughter sellers) Taliban. Aafia is a covicted terrorist, Malala is a proven child freedom fighter. Hats off to Malala!

  • AZ,
    Expose British hypocrisy. One on one side they are projecting Malala, on the other side they are supporting Al-Nusra (Syria based Taliban and Al-Qaeda). Double standards of the “Great Britain”. They are devastating poor countries.

  • “The difference is that those who cannot resort to violence, for some reason, find solace is escapism. Escapism induces the notions of conspiracy to find legitimacy. ”
    Who is the target of quote? Have difficulty understanding the last sentence. Please explain.

    • It means when you can’t face and accept the reality, you have to use the escape route.
      When drugs and fantasy are no involved the only way is denial.
      Denial finds refuge in cynicism.
      Cynicism concocts spectres of conspiracy to give credence to the denial of the obvious. This whole process can be succinctly termed as ‘legitimizing escapism’.

  • Aeek bachii nay Mashtanday mardoon ko hila kar rakh diya hai. Ab wo aurat ka naam istimal kar kay (Shazia, Wazia) us go Galian day rahay hain. Saray Dhram (religions) mard kay hain.

  • After reading all those comments I feel hopeless for my nation n for so called Islamic world .these Hippocrates musalman who can use that kinda Lang for a young girl deserve drone attacks. Malala is my daughter n ray of light in Muslim world.

    • Ather…as an outsider I feel your pain…when a beautiful ray of hope like Malala is gifted to Pakistan and the locals demean and detract her motives I fear you are correct…Pakistan is so full of hate mongers that it cannot be saved from internal destruction…

  • How loose language, come on ? In fact the comments thread itself reflects our mentality as well as the psychology. We are not polite anymore how to talk when it comes to discuss in a social or community place?? Can’t we avoid this obsessive language and presents our point well shape in an argument??

    Sorry but because of such ill discussion (Comments) backed by use of loose language and keeping behind our social norms and ethics- better to quit.

  • A Z, you are cracking hard nuts, how many of them understand your (Bertrand) Russell style? They look at the character string ‘MALALA’ and open gutters (of their minds). Please make your English and argumentation style a little easy — perhaps to incur more abuses. Keep up the good work.

  • it’s worth noting that the education, reconstruction and peace restoration of Waziristan, which is as beautiful as Swat however in far far worse condition than Swat, does not merited the same evangelical media enthusiasm that Swat has.

    It seems there are no Malalas in Waziristan due to Drone attacks and Malalas are born only Swat and among Yousafzais (The traitors among Pashtuns for last 300 years.)

    Even the money (US Blood $) that was so many times and publicly promised to Waziristan by Mush/Zardari has not been handed over. Rather consumed in thin Air in FATA Sectt Peshawar, Islamabad by corrupt, inefficient and ineffective Politicians, Generals, Bureaucrats, Businessmen, Police and Media.

    Could it be because Waziristan is far away from Peshawar, therefore not feasible for those chosen contractor and well connected in Peshawar, Pindi and Islamabad ? So there isn’t much money to be extracted from the vanquished Waziristan.

    On the other hand, we were told that next military operation, next jet bombing, next road blocks, next IDPs wave would result in peace and then miracle jump-start of the Waziristan economy. It’s funny how the interests of those ruling (and ruining) us from Peshawar, Pindi, Islamabad and Lahore are so often, so successfully, and so deliberately confused with the interests of the masses in Pakistan by incident like Malala, Swat Video.

  • Goodness! It seems Pakistan deserves the Taliban style shariah! Look at them dragging down one of their own kids! Look at the spite in their words, the belligerence, the ignorance and stupidity! Pakistanis are digging their own grave and later they are going to blame the West as they do for everything that goes wrong in their country!

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“and to me the most noteworthy thing” he accomplished at SMU he said “is that we integrated into the Dallas community We built a community that is a nurturing place for artists”Dallas Museum of Art director Maxwell Anderson was among those who reacted Wednesday to Bowen’s departure saying in an email: “Jose has been an energetic visionary colleague ― and has been transformational in repositioning SMU as a national leader on the cultural scene He will be tough to replace but his good works and deeds will make this a very attractive appointment”Chris Heinbaugh vice president of external affairs at the AT&T Performing Arts Center emailed this:“Jose has been an incredible asset to the North Texas arts community and SMU and set a new standard for collaboration He’s articulate talented innovative results-oriented and just an all-around great individual I’m really sorry we’re losing him but it sounds like a great opportunity”Heinbaugh notes that Bowen is an accomplished jazz musician who has performed over a span of three decades with the likes of Bobby McFerrin Dizzy Gillespie and Dave Brubeck You can see his jazz talents for yourself on Saturday when he performs with the SMU group Jampact in a free jazz “open house” at City Performance Hall from 1 to 5 in the afternoon as part of the D’Jam 2014 Kick OffBowen’s community outreach in Dallas extended far beyond jazz Citing examples he credited the Creative Solutions program that Big Thought runs “that we brought on campus” as a worthy addition as well as the National Center for Arts Research that now has its home at Meadows He praised the Meadows Scholars program and the fact that the SAT scores of Meadows students rose above those of the SMU average for the second year in a row He said he hoped that SMU could continue to “make it possible for every student who’s qualified to come here to be able to come here Yale had a $100 million gift to accomplish that and I would love to see that here”“People were skeptical when I got here” he said “and I feel really really proud of the fact people know I’m a trusted partner”Bowen began his teaching career in 1982 at Stanford University where he obtained his bachelor’s degree a pair of master’s degrees and his doctorate In 1994 he became founding director of the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music at the University of Southampton England He returned to the US in 1999 as the first holder of the endowed Caestecker Chair of Music at Georgetown University where he created and directed the Department of Performing Arts He was dean of fine arts at Miami University before taking the position at MeadowsHe’s the author of the 2012 book Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student LearningGoucher College officials released this in a statement:“During his long tenure as an educator Bowen has demonstrated strong leadership in instruction entrepreneurship diversity global citizenship and community engagement―all 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1982 as the director of jazz ensembles In 1994 he became the founding director of the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music at the University of Southampton England He returned to the United States in 1999 as the first holder of the endowed Caestecker Chair of Music at Georgetown University where he created and directed the Department of Performing Arts He was dean of fine arts at Miami University before moving to SMU in Dallas“Bowen has been a pioneer in educational technology and active learning encouraging professors to devote class time to increasing the complexity of student mental models through discussion and debate rather than only providing content through lectures He has asserted that technology is better usedoutsidethe classroom to provide students with first contact to material through podcasts games or other online material; opportunities to connect on social media; and diagnostic online exams that can improve preparation for class and provide immediate 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