While I write these lines, the 2013 Nobel for peace has been conferred upon Chemical Weapons Watchdog, much to the exuberance of many Pakistanis, at least on the social media. In my living memory only the festivities on our victory in the 20/20 World cup could match the level of this enthusiasm (exaggerated satire). However the celebrations have nothing to do with our inherent love for the CWW, because it owes chiefly to the fact that the Pakistani nominee, Malala Yousafzai, couldn’t make it…too much for Patriotism!
The unfortunate incident on 9th of October 2012, when young Malala was shot by the Taliban, surprisingly yet distinctively divided the Pakistani opinion into two factions. There is one group which believes that after being shot by the Taliban she has become a raging symbol against oppressive forces and that questioning any element of this incident is equivalent to the vehement support of the Taliban.
This first of the two mentioned groups shall understand that raising ones doubts is not a necessary qualification for being a TTP supporter, in fact in some cases it is not the Taliban action that is being negated, but her remarkable media exposure and it’s sources which are under scrutiny. And it is quite unreasonable to think of people as either pro or anti-Taliban, as there is a range of ideologies and beliefs, where pro and anti, only lie at the very extreme of the spectrum.
The second of the two factions, constantly abuses the poor girl all over the internet and doubts her integrity to such a degree that it brazenly brands her as an agent of the anti-Islamic and anti-Pakistan forces, bent upon crashing through our socio-political ideals.
Now just because someone has received international accolades and is being appreciated globally for her stance on education, shouldn’t exactly translate into her being an evil agent of the west endeavoring for our moral demise. She is an advocate of the female education, not austerity, sainthood and asceticism, so why shouldn’t she accept the international honors being conferred upon her. And why shall she give up on a quality education in Britain when the rest of us long for an opportunity to be a part of the same education system.
‘Why only Malala’, and not the drone victims or her fellows who got shot down alongside her is a vague question. It appears that many critics are unaware that Malala was quite active in the social sphere as a child when the Taliban had banned girls from attending schools, she constantly penned down her fears on a BBC blog, bravely showed her support for female education through print and electronic media. Hence naturally when she was attacked, it was not just another one of the victims, it was a person who was already recognized on many international Youth forums for the positive steps she had taken. She did not rise to fame over night, it was a pain staking journey that eventually led to an assassination attempt on her; hating on her because she survived is sadistic.
Epitomizing the argument, we are often off the tangent in our support as well as our criticism. In our support we carve the divine out a person, not quite befitting to their human dispositions. In critique we craft a ruthless crafty demon, and support it with many a comical arguments. Malala is neither of those. She is an individual who is prone to mistakes and can as well take undesired influences from people, being a teenager herself, and everything from her actions to reactions can be questioned under the people’s right to freedom of expression. At the same time, so far she has ardently favored the Pakistani people and the Muslims in general and unless there is some substantial evidence against her, she is just a brave school going girl campaigning for everyone’s right to education.
By : Aqsa Gharshin