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ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MALALA AND OUR ESCAPISM by Asif Zaidi

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Yesterday I wrote a piece named “Malala and our Hypocrisy” and brought a lot of thunder upon myself, mainly in the form of Facebook messages.. Also if you go to the Facebook pages ‘The Fans of Truth’ or ‘Let’s Build Pakistan’ or if you see the same article on LUBP site page and read the comments underneath:

There is nothing but filth and abuse for Malala, a young kid who almost died, using the language one probably wouldn’t use for a rapist murderer.

Not a single concrete allegation.

 

This is also happening all round the rest of the social media in the country.

Yes, we can have divergent views on how her life’s story is evolving. But such smut for unfounded misgivings?

Yes, our collective mannerism is not rooted in values inspiring a more lenient view towards minors. But what about the profanities hurled by hundreds of people armed with no or little knowledge about the girl?

How does it befit a nation to play the victim of a school girl and the Taliban to fear the words of 15-year old they tried to kill?

Is this what Pakistan has come to?

Let’s briefly see what allegations are being levied against this child.

THE WEST IS USING HER

May be. But for what?

If saying that a poor girl was shot by fundamentalists for going to school is anti-Islamic then that would constitute a reflection on Islam.

But the whole point I have made is that why are we so eager to renounce this little girl before she has done anything wrong and find thousand excuses for the butchers that Taliban are.

SHE IS A PAWN

Pawn in whose hands? Has she done anything remotely against Pakistan? NO. She has been a great ambassador so far.

What conspiracy –with what purpose, strategy, and mechanism- has she been a part of?

People have forgotten to note that no one, repeat no one, from the American presidential administration attended her speech because they did not want to annoy the Taliban with whom they are now negotiating a retreat from Afghanistan.

SHE DID NOT SPEAK AGAINST THE DRONES

Give me a break. This is the most stupid thing I have heard.

One, her remit is education and let her stick to it. The more controversial she becomes the less effective she will be.

Two, there is so much wrong about Pakistan that anybody in any speech of a few minutes can be faulted for missing out a few relevant ills. This one is even totally irrelevant.  Malala stuck to the purpose for which she was there.

Three, why is Malala supposed to speak against something which we all know is happening with our establishment’s and successive governments’ acquiescence? Any cynics? Please read General Shuja’s testimony before the Abbottabad Commission. The disagreements are on modalities and control and not on drone attacks taking place. Otherwise, what is stopping Pakistan from going to the UN against the infringement of its sovereignty? Afterall resorting to the UN, unlike shooting down a drone, is not an act of war, but the most civil way to protest.

Four, yes girls getting hurt or killed as collateral damage is highly regrettable but there is just no parallel for that with Malala. Malala was not an accidental damage in a Taliban attack on NATO troops. She is also no collateral damage. She was chosen and targeted by Taliban for wanting an education. Drones don’t deliberately target girls for going to school. I am not out to defend the use of drones, but just to show that the analogy makes absolutely no sense.

THERE ARE OTHER GIRL VICTIMS ALSO

Yes, exactly. And Malala is a symbol for all of them. Symbolism lends concentricity to collective pursuits and struggles. And who is stopping you from celebrating other girls? Please do. Or the only way to celebrate them is through slandering Malala?

MALALA IS MAKING MONEY

What is wrong with making money legally? Or is this the normal grudge of a society where hardly anyone gets rich legally?

Any thing else?

Otherwise please hold your horses till Malala does something to deserve our opprobrium.

MY VIEW

I think the people unnecessarily and absolutely prematurely maligning Malala represent the same mind-set that prevails from the perpetrators of violence to their apologists, who are more numerous than we imagine. For example, read our vernacular press or hear what many of our anchors are saying and you will see that they echo the same thread of thought everywhere. 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.

And yes, it has a distinctly sexist angle to it. The moment many of us are displeased with a woman, they call her a slut. These men who want the society to be clad as baggily as possible barely flinch to indulge in ‘stark-naked’ talks about the women they don’t respect. Why is being more devout Muslims not changing their attitude toward what is considered socially acceptable language? That is because, uttering a taboo word about women in public remains a great testosterone booster and the religiosity does nothing to prevent it. In fact trading free insults for women in neutral terrains is an effective way of dumbing down women’s role in a male-dominated society.

From Mukhatran Mai to Benazir all have had their share. Now it is Malala’s turn, even if at a more tender age.

POSTSCRIPT: I have purposely not talked about the letter that Taliban have written to Malala. A letter that just reconfirms that the Taliban feel it is OK to shoot children under some circumstances. I do not think this pathetic, rambling piece of writing by delusional theocratic fascists stuck in a 7th century time warp deserves the publicity it is receiving.

 

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