Malala Yousafzai

I’m not back yet. I just want to say that I half-heartedly intended to write some sort of post and I never did. Because I have just become angrier and angrier.

And quite frankly, I don’t want to write a post about Malala. I don’t want to write about a 14-year-old girl shot by the Taliban because she wanted women’s education to a Western audience from the only Western perspective I can write. Everyone can just STFU about Malala. I want every Western asshole pretending to give a damn about who she is, or what she fights for, or what she deserves while disrespectfully erasing her identity and categorizing her as ‘one of us’, claiming she doesn’t belong with those Pakistani savages and should move here so you can treat her like a pet and insult her ethnic heritage, to stop using her as a political toy for your sick imperialist colonialist agenda. You can all go fuck yourselves. She’s allegedly a Marxist sympathizer. Did you know that? Do you fucking know anything about her? Of course not. She’s just a tool to you; it doesn’t matter who she is because you can just modify her identity to your convenience. And she can hang around as long as she flatters you with pretty little things against inferior people like herself, until she accuses you of being just like those she’s challenged. She’s a woman after all. She’s a woman of color. It’s only a matter of time until you’ve decided she’s a little too smart for her own good.

12 thoughts on “Malala Yousafzai

  1. Fawz

    Dear Nahida,
    I can understand your feeling and anger .
    Indeed some media treatment or analysis can be mistaken, we have to be cautious and try to guess what is hidden between lines even though I think that no one no human should be a victim of his/her opinion (religious, political, cultural…).Free speech based on respect and sobriety, humanism and wisdom, pragmatism and sincerity, enough of double standard, of hypocritical thoughts …
    Have a nice and blessed Day

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  2. mary

    Westerners need something to make them feel good about themselves and to justify blowing up all those folks in Pakistan with drones, but it’s more than that. Malala makes it easy for them not to understand any of it. The need these missionary-types feel to rescue a girl and make her into another Pocahantas just sickens me. Thanks for writing this, I was hoping someone would and you worded it perfectly.

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  3. We (not the world, just us) need only one article on Malala, and it’s this one: [excerpt]

    For this media, the attack on Malala is “proof” of the barbarity of the Muslim world and hence a justification for Western intervention. Yet, it is important to ask, why Malala now? Why didn’t Malala become a household name during the time when she was speaking out against the Taliban? Why did she only become important after she was attacked?

    A tentative answer is that before her attack, Malala’s outspoken-ness demonstrated that our oppressors are not completely successful in silencing us because we are still speaking out. We, Muslim women, are still active agents. It would have been unsettling to Western ideas about the passivity of Muslim women.

    The American media has falsely convinced its viewers that Malala was shot because she wanted to go to school. It is unfortunate that most viewers have accepted this narrative and failed to ask simple questions like, “Is Malala the only girl in all of Pakistan who goes to school?” The average Muslim woman, or even the average Pakistani woman, does not get shot on a daily basis; millions of girls and women go to school daily, even if there are still many families who deny education to their daughters. Yet, for the American media, Malala has become a stand-in for the condition of the generic Muslim woman. Yes, there are issues in the Muslim world—including Pakistan—but many of the experiences of women in the Muslim world are shared by our sisters in the non-Muslim world. Highlighting one Pakistani girl’s case, and misrepresenting it as an attack on any Muslim woman who wants to go to school, not only trivializes the issue but also diverts attention from women’s mistreatment in the rest of the world—including the so-called Western world.

    Such a diversion has several problematic implications. It affirms the classic juxtaposition of the “Western” world with the “Muslim” world, supporting political theorist Samuel Huntington’s facile division of the world into mutually exclusive, essentialist civilizational categories in which some, like the West, are “civilized,” while others, like the Muslim world, are “barbaric.” It further suggests that women are perfectly well-off in the non-Muslim world, and all that remains to be done is to raise “them”—the “barbaric” Muslim world—to “our” level of civilization. It makes gender issues within the so-called West invisible.

    The US I-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-her-until-she’s-shot attitude toward women overseas is parallel to US men’s attitudes toward American women and of a rape culture in which women are only significant when they can be employed as political weaponry for a man’s convenience and colonial intervention–not for women’s own rights or advancements. Malala being shot was emotional masturbation.

    Women, we may think our friends are the same, but it is really our enemies. Malala is a mere casualty of patriarchy, which is continuing to use her to expand its imperialism, over the bodies of women and women of color.

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  4. mary

    This explains why my brain keeps putting that famous photo of the Afghan girl with the piercing eyes into my mind’s eye. I keep thinking, what the fuck ever happened to that girl and does anyone care? Well, of course they don’t, but if she gets killed she;ll become an icon for the colonialist crowd who feel it is their duty to rescue these savage women from their plight. Men need this, so it seems. Patriarchal imperialism – is this a redundant term?

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  5. janinmi

    Thank you for the link to Tanqeed. The articles are politically and socially astute, something I find sorely lacking in many US news sources. Malala Yousafzai deserves better from the world than being turned into a political/religious football. May she continue to recover, and be able to choose her own life path when she’s ready to do so again. Stellar writing here, as always.

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  6. mary

    Malala is another Muktar Mai. Western men can smugly feel they are above such behavior, but never mind that what attracts them to Malala’s ‘story’ in the first place is that she has been disempowered, another uppity girl silenced. Western women can also be deluded into thinking that because men don’t shoot them in the head (but oh yes they do), they are not living with anyone’s foot on their necks. I think this is why her story is so compelling. Malala achieves a kind of victory, but it is actually being handed to her by the people who find her powerlessness so comforting.

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  7. Commenter

    WTF is wrong with you are you trying to imply women shouldn’t be educated? Who cares that she’s Marxist at least she’s educated enough to make that decision. Malala is fighting for a good Islamic cause.

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  8. Engineer Krause

    I am sure that I agree with you that there is some highly questionable stuff going on here, but this is just too cynical. It’s just way too cynical.

    I mean, it almost seems self-contradictory that the people who pity her would like her to be powerless.

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