Malala Day

Malala Yousufzai is celebrating her 16th birthday today. She’s a kid, and she should have spent her young life in school, making friends and doing normal teenage stuff. Instead, she was shot in the head by Taliban extremists for the crime of wanting to go to school. And today, she’s speaking up (again) for girls around the world in a speech to the UN:

“Here I stand, just one girl among many. I speak so those without voice can be heard,” she told the UN audience, adding everyone has the “right to live in peace and to be treated with dignity.”

She recalled the day she was shot on a school bus on Oct. 9, 2012.

“They shot my friends, too. They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed, and out of that silence came thousands of voices.”

The teen also said she will not be stopped from speaking out in support of human rights.

“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.

“I’m not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I’m here to speak for the right of education for every child,” she said.

Not much else to say except #hero.

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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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15 Responses to Malala Day

  1. Emma says:

    She is amazing! Such an inspiration, and a true role model. Yes she is a hero! :)

  2. Sid says:

    She is very brave and certainly deserves to be recognized, but I find it unbelievably hypocritical of liberals in the West to sing her praises and demonize the Taliban, while simultaneously failing to recognize how hundreds of children have been droned dead in NWFP and neighboring regions for the crime of being born in the wrong part of the world. These children also wanted to be educated, but apparently the vast majority of Americans don’t care about them.

    • Jill says:

      Which liberals in the West are supporters of Malala and also support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the U.S. drone program?

      I find it incredibly exhausting that the work of a 16-year-old girl can’t be recognized and honored without someone being like, “But you didn’t talk about X issue so therefore you are a hypocrite.”

      • Sid says:

        I wasn’t singling out any particular liberal or group of liberals, simply pointing out that people who would purport to be liberal in terms of female empowerment when it comes to Pakistan, fail to point out how drone strikes inversely affect that very same metric. And this is clear from how much coverage Malala gets from Time, CNN, et al. but how much coverage any drone strike victim(s) gets in any of these places. Polling consistently finds 2/3 of Americans support the drone program, so I think its fair to say that their is overlap between those who love Malala and also love their drones.

        I’m sorry you feel “exhausted” but if you had read my post carefully, I didn’t take you to task anywhere. But since you’re feeling vicitimized, I’ll take. There have been several posts here now about Malala; has there been a single post dedicated to the victim of a drone strike at anytime on here? About the effects of these on women? On children?

        Because I find it incredibly “exhausting” that the mainstream media focuses so much attention on Malala’s admittedly outsized courage, without due regard for spreading awareness of how to improve education or access in that part of the world for the more ordinary and unrecognized.

      • Which liberals in the West are supporters of Malala and also support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the U.S. drone program?

        Quite a lot of them, actually. Most of them are, in fact, ostensibly supporting drone attacks because “Malala deserves better” or wtfever. I consider it to be one of the virtues of this blog that I’ve never seen anyone here fall into that particular imperialist trap.

        I recognise this is a derail, so I’ll stop here, Jill, but it’s really not as far out as you seem to think it is. It certainly isn’t an uncommon idea to run across in desi blog circles.

      • Kerplunk says:

        I agree with Sid.

        Malala is incredibly brave, truly a hero, and every bit of praise and recognition that she receives is absolutely merited, not only for the bravery of her actions but for the very important issue that her actions address and serve to bring to the fore.

        But it’s also true that she is being used politically in the US, and by the US media, to make a point about the evils of the Taliban, which are warranted, but also invoked in order to support US foreign policy, without acknowledging the harm that that has done, including to children.

        I don’t think it’s a derail, but feel free to delete if it is.

      • armillaria says:

        I guess the US can use her image/icon to paint themselves as heroes if they want. But Malala herself pretty explicitly advocates socialism, so, she knows what’s up with imperialist violence.

      • Rhoanna says:

        But Malala herself pretty explicitly advocates socialism, so, she knows what’s up with imperialist violence.

        Because advocates of socialism/Marxism/communism have obviously never engaged in imperial violence. Malala might still know what’s up with imperialist violence, but that’s a different matter.

    • Hina says:

      Drone attacks may not be an ideal way of dealing with the terrorists hiding in Pakistan but it is the best option at this time. For those who think we shouldn’t be handing it this way, i just want to ask what better solution do you have? How do we deal with the terrorists that kill pakistanis and people in other countries every day. The terrorists living there are a bigger danger to the people of pakistan than the drones.

      • This is a good start to your answer.

      • Hina says:

        That didn’t suggest anything about how to solve the problem of the taliban in Pakistan who kill more people(children included) than what is caused by drones. The parts of Pakistan where they live are areas the pakistani government doesn’t even have complete control over and can’t enter that territory to stop the talibans who continue to attack every province of pakistan just to spread terror. I’m a pakistani woman who was born there but now reside in the United States. I still go back to visit family and know the problems faced by pakistani women. The tone of that author and using words like, “white washing” just makes me really uncomfortable to be honest.

      • Kerplunk says:

        I think that your question is based on the false assumption that the US is trying to help. Colonialist intervention is not undertaken in order to assist the people being colonized. The US has its own geopolitical interests.

        The Taliban would not have gained power in the first place if the Soviet Union (another imperialist power) had not left the region in ruins, and the support that the US gave to the mujahedin at the time was complicit in arming present-day terrorists.

        I don’t think it’s realistic to think that US intervention, especially when it comes in the form of killing civilians, will help the people of Pakistan, and neither do Pakistanis, only 17% of whom are in favor of drone strikes against militants.

        You ask for a better solution, but that is a complex issue that requires dramatic structural changes.

  3. birdie says:

    Hear, hear, Malala! Let all oppressors learn that attacks give strength, and not take it away. That they can only defeat themselves, because their power is nothing but an illusion.

  4. Schmorgluck says:

    I’m not sure Malala Yousafzai needs the Nobel Peace Prize, but I think the Nobel Peace Prize really needs Malala Yousafzai. And many analysts, commenters, and gamblers consider the odds are rather strong that she’ll get it.

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