Malala Yousafzai: The girl who helped the West forget

October 13, 2013 4:50 pm Comments Off on Malala Yousafzai: The girl who helped the West forget Views: 492

I have huge respect for Malala. She has lived through a lot already and shown outstanding qualities, with enormous potential for the future. There is nothing wrong in itself in recognising what she has done and stands for and by no means is this criticising her. But perhaps I am not the only one who wonders if she is receiving too much attention.  A girl on mission, no problem. But asking her to have a view on everything from Nigel Slater’s courgette bake to the best lippy is a bit much.

She’s great. I love listening to her. Perhaps it would be better to listen to what she is saying and do something about it rather than concern ourselves with prizes. Going onto the point of the Nobel Peace prize itself, it really has no credibility left – just look at the risible list of past winners. (Obama to name one who did nothing to deserve the award and devalued it’s significance in accepting it.)

I highly doubt any of the hype (and that is what it’s become) surrounding her story is due to genuine empathy for girls in Pakistan risking violent death by going to school. Ms Yousafzai (Malala) has become a celebrity du jour and along with that come the book deals, movies, TV appearances, magazine interviews and everything the Western celebrity machine has to offer (and take). Unfortunately she has become a poster child for the international aid community and more so  a very nice brown girl who can help the west forget all the nice brown girls it has killed in the region in recent years.

Skylar, a fellow activist had these words to say “I think Malala is a smart person but a part of me feels unconvinced by the fact that she knows of the western treatment of her and her struggle. I’m just not really sure. I dont get it. We would never hear that of other people undergoing the same treatment as a result of the onslaught of western imperialism etc. If she was murdered by a drone strike, we would never know her name.”

Another friend remarked “her intentions may be great but she is being used to show how great the West are in more ways than one

I would also ask if the situation for a rural Pakistani schoolgirl has markedly improved since Ms Yousafzai became a household name in the West. What efforts are being made to ensure girls aren’t murdered on the way to school? In other words, how much real world action has the dramatic story of Malala actually inspired. Also, the greatest failure of the modern western feminist movement is its tepid reaction to the condition of women in Islamic states. It is perhaps the worst human rights travesty of our age, and most feminists have little to say about it.  Malala is basically a walking, talking call for ‘third wave feminism’ but why is it that in terms of addressing the issue it stops at Malala rather than empowering these groups?


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