WHEN the deputy head mistress pulled Malala Yousafzai out of high school chemistry class one morning a year ago, Malala nervously searched her mind for recent offenses.
“You usually get a bit scared if your head teacher comes, because you think you are being caught doing something,” Malala recalled. “But she told me: ‘I need to tell you something. You have won the Nobel Peace Prize.’ ”
After a brief celebration, Malala returned to class for the rest of the school day; as the world’s news organizations clamored for interviews, she wrestled with physics. She’s a champion of girls’ education worldwide, she explains, and that must include her own.
Malala, now a high school junior, was in New York this past week to address the United Nations, attend the premiere of a full-length documentary movie about her life and hound world leaders to pay attention to girls’ education.
The movie relates Malala’s extraordinary story: How she grew up in rural Pakistan, became an advocate for girls’ education and spoke out against the Taliban. Then when she was 15 years old, Taliban gunmen retaliated: They stopped her school bus and shot her in the head.
As she hovered between life and death, supporters held candlelight vigils, and a plane rushed her to a hospital in Birmingham, England, that specializes in brain injuries. Today the left side of her face is still partly paralyzed, and she is somewhat deaf in that ear, but she’s as outspoken as ever. And the Taliban is still determined to kill her, so she and her family remain in Birmingham.
The movie offers a revealing portrait of a global icon — who’s also a teenager giggling about sports heroes, worrying about acceptance by peers and rolling her eyes at siblings.
“People think she is, like, very kind, and she speaks for people’s rights,” her younger brother Khushal grumbles at the breakfast table, needling her. “But that’s not true, I think. At home she is so violent!”
Malala squeals with outrage. “I’m not violent!”
It’s clearly awkward to be a teenager and have your sibling rivalries, your skirt length (long) and your boyfriend history (none) explored on the big screen, along with your painstaking physical therapy to recover from brain damage. But Malala embraces the film as a way to highlight the transformative power of education.
Her own mother is deeply conservative — she has discouraged Malala from shaking hands with men or looking them in the eye — but is moderating her views and now also learning to read for the first time. The mother also takes the global fuss about her daughter in stride, and has no problem ordering a Nobel laureate to clean up her room.
Malala’s main message is that all children should get 12 years of free, safe, quality education, and that girls are too often left behind. Some 63 million girls between the age of 6 and 15 are not in school.
Millions of others attend but sit in classes of 100 students, taught in a language they don’t understand, without so much as a pencil, and learn nothing. Teachers often don’t show up (the big truancy problem in the developing world is with teachers), and when teachers do show up, they sometimes prey on girls.
A 2007 U.N. study in Pakistan found that 24 percent of primary schools don’t have any textbooks for students, and 46 percent lack desks for them.
Yet education is still the best hope to transform countries as well as individuals. Malala’s father, Ziauddin, told me that when he was a teenager he was brainwashed into praying for war between Muslims and non-Muslims, hoping to become a martyr. The antidote to such extremism, he says, is education.
Malala is determined not to be used as window dressing by world leaders, and her advice to presidents and prime ministers is to focus not on elementary school or middle school but on 12 full years of education. “Your dreams were too small,” she tells U.N. members. “Your achievements are too small. Now it is time that you dream bigger.”
She scolded Nigeria’s president at the time for not helping girls abducted by Boko Haram. She told President Obama at the White House that drones were counterproductive and that he should invest in education. Just eight days of global military spending, she notes, would pay to get all remaining kids in school worldwide.
“No world leader would want nine years of education for their children,” she told me. “Every world leader wants quality education for their children. They need to think of the rest of the world’s children as their own children.”
Prime Minister announces Malala Yousafzai will visit Canada to receive honorary citizenship
Ottawa, Ontario ‑
April 3, 2017
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that Malala Yousafzai will visit Canada on April 12, 2017, to address the Canadian Parliament and to officially receive the honorary Canadian citizenship bestowed upon her in 2014.
At 15 years old, Ms. Yousafzai was the target of Taliban assassins after she became an outspoken advocate for the right of girls to learn and to attend school. She has since become an international spokesperson for girls’ education and the rights of women and girls. In recognition of this work, she was named a co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Prime Minister Trudeau will take this opportunity to meet with Ms. Yousafzai to discuss girls’ empowerment through education and how they can actively contribute to the sustainable development of their communities and countries.
UN Secretary-General's remarks on designation of Malala Yousafzai as UN Messenger of Peace
Watch the video on webtv.un.org:
Dear Malala, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
It is for me a very emotional day to be here with you.
You are the symbol of one of the most important causes in the world – probably the most important cause in the world - and that is education, education for all, and particularly because we know it is more difficult in many societies - education for girls.
Now, I must say I am a frustrated ex Assistant Professor of Physics in my University. When I say frustrated, because I wanted to be a Professor but with the revolution in Portugal I had to close all my papers and dedicate myself to other things. But there was always this nostalgia, being a professor, and can you imagine what it is for a frustrated Professor to be facing the most famous student in the world.
It is an enormous pleasure to have you as our Messenger of Peace.
You are not only a hero, but you are a very committed and generous person, and the person that has this fantastic quality … a Nobel Prize, recognized everywhere, and you keep the same simplicity, the same open way to deal with all of us. People usually when they get all these honours become full of vanity, they become difficult to access, but you are this fantastic example of friendship and simplicity that really makes us very, very, very appreciative.
On the other hand, you have been going to the most difficult places, where education has more problems in becoming a reality. You have visited several refugee camps. You have two schools of your foundation in Lebanon, in the Beka’a Valley, where so many refugees are. I have spent ten years of my life dealing with refugees, so you can imagine how happy I am to be able to confer to you the important responsibility of being a Messenger of Peace.
I am in total denial of protocol, but I think I have to read something here.
This is your assignment. Today, I am proud to designate you the youngest ever United Nations Messenger of Peace, with a special focus on girls’ education.
This is the official designation:
“Inspired by your dedicated service to the ideals and objectives of the United Nations, especially its vision of a life of dignity for all people;
admiring of your courageous defense of the rights of all people, including women and girls, to education and equality;
honouring the fact that you have shown, even in the face of grave danger, an unwavering commitment to peace;
conscious of your consistent focus on the best in humankind and your resolve to foster a better world;
grateful that your example has energized people of goodwill to join together in pursuit of our common values;
hopeful that your principled activism will advance our shared vision of a future of justice, equity and sustainable progress;
it is a great pride and pleasure for me to proclaim Malala Yousafzai a United Nations Messenger of Peace.”
In the name of God, the most merciful, the most beneficent.
Good afternoon. Bonjour. Assalaam-u-alikum. Pa khair raghlai.
Mr. Prime Minister and Madame Gregoire Trudeau, Mr. Speaker, members of the House, members of the Senate, distinguished guests, my parents Ziauddin and Toor Pekai, people of Canada - thank you so much for the warm welcome to your country.
This is my first trip to Canada, but not my first attempt. On October 22, 2014, my father and I landed at the Toronto airport, excited for our first visit to your wonderful country.
We soon learned that a man had attacked Parliament Hill - killing a Canadian soldier, wounding others and threatening leaders and civil servants in the building where I stand today.
Canadian security professionals advised us to reschedule. With sorrow in our hearts, we headed back to England, promising to return to Canada one day.
The man who attacked Parliament Hill called himself a Muslim - but he did not share my faith. He did not share the faith of one and a half billion Muslims, living in peace around the world. He did not share our Islam - a religion of learning, compassion and mercy.
I am a Muslim and I believe that when you pick up a gun in the name of Islam and kill innocent people, you are not a Muslim anymore.
He did not share my faith. Instead, he shared the hatred of the man who attacked the Quebec City mosque in January, killing six people while they were at prayer.
The same hatred as the man who killed civilians and a police officer in London three weeks ago.
The same hatred as the men who killed 132 school children at Pakistan's Army Public School in Peshawar.
The same hatred as the man who shot me.
These men tried to divide us and destroy our democracies, our freedom of religion, our right to go to school.
But you refuse to be divided. Canadians - wherever they were born and however they worship - stand together. And nothing proves this more than your commitment to refugees.
Around the world, we have heard about Canada's heroes.
We heard about the members of First United Church, here in Ottawa, who sponsored newlyweds Amina and Ebrahim Alahmad. A few months later the Alahmads had their first child - a little girl named Marya. The church decided to raise more money to bring Ebrahim's brother and his family to Canada - so Marya could grow up with her cousins.
We heard about Jorge Salazar in Vancouver, who came to Canada as a child refugee, fleeing violence in Colombia. As a young adult, he's working with today's child immigrants and refugees, helping them adapt to their new country.
And I am very proud to announce that Farah Mohamed, a refugee who fled Uganda and came to Canada as a child, is Malala Fund's new CEO. A Canadian will now lead the fight for girls' education around the world.
Many people from my own country of Pakistan have found a promised land in Canada - from Maria Toorpakai Wazir to my relatives here today.
Like the refugees in Canada, I have seen fear and experienced times when I didn't know if I was safe or not. I remember how my Mom would put a ladder at the back of our house so that if anything happened we could escape.
I felt fear when I went to school, thinking that someone would stop me and harm me. I would hide my books under my scarf.
The sound of bombs would wake me up at night. Every morning I would hear the news that more innocent people had been killed. I saw men with big guns in the street.
There is more peace in my home of Swat Valley, Pakistan today, but families like mine - from Palestine to Venezuela, Somalia to Myanmar, Iraq to Congo - are forced to flee their homes because of violence.
'Welcome to Canada' is more than a headline or a hashtag. It is the spirit of humanity that every single one of us would yearn for, if our family was in crisis. I pray that you continue to open your homes and your hearts to the world's most defenseless children and families - and I hope your neighbours will follow your example.
I am humbled to accept honorary citizenship to your country. While I will always be a proud Pashtun and citizen of Pakistan, I am grateful to be an honorary member of your nation of heroes.
I was also so happy to meet your Prime Minister this morning. I am amazed by his embrace of refugees, his commitment to appointing Canada's first gender-balanced cabinet and his dedication to keeping women and girls at the centre of your development strategy.
We have heard so much about Prime Minister Trudeau - but one thing has surprised me: people are always talking about how young he is.
"He's the second-youngest Prime Minister in Canadian history!"
"He does yoga!"
"He has tattoos!"
While it may be true that he is young for a head of government, I would like to tell the children of Canada: you do not have to be as old as Prime Minister Trudeau to be a leader!
I used to think I had to wait to be an adult to lead. But I've learned that even a child's voice can be heard around the world.
Young women of Canada, step forward and raise your voices. The next time I visit, I hope I see more of you filling these seats in Parliament.
Men of Canada, be proud feminists. And help women get equal opportunities as men.
And to the leaders of Canada in this room today: though you may have different politics and priorities, I know each of you is trying to respond to some of our world's most pressing problems.
I have travelled the world and met people in many countries. I've seen firsthand many of the problems we are facing today - war, economic instability, climate change and health crises. And I can tell you that the answer is girls.
Secondary education for girls can transform communities, countries and our world. Here's what the statistics say:
? If all girls went to school for 12 years, low and middle income countries could add 92 billion dollars per year to their economies.
? Educated girls are less likely to marry young or contract HIV - and more likely to have healthy, educated children.
? The Brookings Institution calls secondary schooling for girls the most cost-effective and best investment against climate change.
? When a country gives all its children secondary education, they cut their risk of war in half.
Education is vital for security around the worldΓÇªbecause extremism grows alongside inequality - in places where people feel they have no opportunity, no voice, no hope.
When women are educated, there are more jobs for everyone. When mothers can keep their children alive and send them to school, there is hope.
But around the world, 130 million girls are out of school today. They may not have read the studies and they may not know the statistics - but they understand that education is their only path to a brighter future. And they are fighting to go to school.
Last summer, on a trip to Kenya, I was introduced to the bravest girl I've ever met.
At age 13, Rahma's family fled Somalia and came to Dadaab - the world's largest refugee camp.
She had never been inside a classroom - but she worked hard to catch up and, in a few years, graduated primary school.
At 18, Rahma was in secondary school, when her parents decided to move back to Somalia. They promised she could continue her education.
But when her family returned to Somalia, there were no schools for her to attend. Her father said her education was finished and that she would soon marry a man in his 50s - a man she did not know.
Rahma remembered a friend from the refugee camp, who had won a scholarship to a university in Canada. She borrowed a neighbour's Internet connection and contacted him through Facebook. Over the Internet, the university student in Canada sent her 70 dollars.
At night, Rahma snuck out of her house, bought a bus ticket and set out on an eight-day trip back to the refugee camp - the only place she knew she could go to school.
Through the Sustainable Development Goals, our nations promised every girl she would go to school for 12 years. We promised that donor countries and developing countries would work together to make this dream a reality for the poorest girls in the world.
I know that politicians cannot keep every promise they make - but this is one you must honour. World leaders can no longer expect girls like Rahma to fight this battle alone.
We can gain peace, grow economies, improve our public health and the air that we breathe. Or we can lose another generation of girls.
I stand with girls, as someone who knows what it's like to flee your home and wonder if you'll ever go back to school.
I stand with girls, as someone who knows how it feels to have your right to education taken away and your dreams threatened.
I know where I stand. If you stand with me, I ask you to seize every opportunity for girls' education over the next year.
Dear Canada, I am asking you to lead once again:
" First, make girls' education a central theme of your G7 Presidency next year.
" Second, use your influence to help fill the global education funding gap. You raised billions of dollars and saved lives when you hosted the Global Fund replenishment in Montreal last year. Show the same leadership for education.
Host the upcoming replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education, bring world leaders together and raise new funding for girls to go to school. If Canada leads, I know the world will follow.
" Finally, prioritize 12 years of school for refugees. Today only a quarter of refugee children get secondary education. We should not ask children who flee their homes to also give up their dreams. And we must recognize that young refugees are future leaders on whom we will all depend for peace.
The world needs leadership based on serving humanity - not based on how many weapons you have. Canada can take that lead.
Our world has many problems, but we don't need to look far for the solution - we already have one.
She is living in a refugee camp in Jordan. She is walking five kilometres to school in Guatemala. She is sewing footballs to pay enrolment fees in India. She is every one of the girls out of school around the world today.
We know what to do - but we must look inside ourselves for the will to keep our promises.
Dear sisters and brothers, we have a responsibility to improve our world. When future generations read about us in their books or on their iPads or whatever the next innovation will be, I don't want them to be shocked that 130 million girls could not go to school and we did nothing. I don't want them to be shocked we did not stand up for child refugees, as millions of families fled their homes. I don't want us to be known for failing them.
Let future generations say we were the ones who stood up. Let them say we were the first to live in a world where all girls can learn and lead without fear.
‘I stand with girls’: Malala Yousafzai, now an honorary Canadian, urges Ottawa to act
The long road towards honorary Canadian citizenship for Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai finally came to an end today in Ottawa. Here’s how she made the moment into an appeal for action on the rights of refugees and girls
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is calling on the Canadian government to lead a global effort to prioritize education for girls and refugees.
In an address to Parliament Wednesday, Ms. Yousafzai asked Canada to make girls’ education a central theme of its G7 presidency in 2018, to use its influence to help fill the global education funding gap and to prioritize 12 years of schooling for refugees:
In her address, she specifically asked Canada to host the upcoming meeting of the Global Partnership for Education (the only global fund solely dedicated to education in developing countries), to bring world leaders together and raise new funding for girls to go to school.
Ms. Yousafzai, 19, was in Ottawa on Wednesday to accept her honorary Canadian citizenship and address Parliament.
Everything we learnt about Malala from her ‘Vogue’ interview
Wed, June 2, 2021, 8:46 AM
Malala Yousafzai attends an event about the importance of education and women empowerment in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Malala Yousafzai loves her mum’s cooking, laughs at her own jokes, spent too much time on social media during lockdown and is always leaving assignments to the last minute.
She is also friends with Greta Thunberg, has earned high praise from Apple’s Tim Cook and Michelle Obama, and was star-struck by Brad Pitt.
These are just some of the things she shared in her new interview with British Vogue for the magazine’s July issue.
Malala, 23, was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman when she was 15 after campaigning for girls in her native country, Pakistan, to have equal rights to education.
At 17, she became the youngest Nobel laureate, receiving the prize for her “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”.
Now, eight years on, she has completed her university education and – like many other graduates – is unsure of her next steps, she tells the publication. Here’s everything else we learnt from the interview:
Her days in lockdown looked very similar to ours
Malala was among the class of university students who graduated during the pandemic. In March 2020, she moved back to Birmingham to complete her final year at Oxford University from her parents’ home.
In the months since, she has spent a lot of her time playing the online game Among Us, eating her mum’s lamb curry, reading, and “doom-scrolling” on social media.
Her headscarf does not mean she is oppressed
Her headscarf, which she mostly wears when outside in public, is more than just a symbol of her Muslim faith.
“It’s a cultural symbol for us Pashtuns, so it represents where I come from. And Muslim girls or Pashtun girls or Pakistani girls, when we follow our traditional dress, we’re considered to be oppressed, or voiceless, or living under patriarchy.
“I want to tell everyone that you can have your own voice within your culture, and you can have equality in your culture,” she said.
Her go-to McDonald’s order
Malala finally got some time for herself at university, to play poker with her friends and go to McDonald’s, where her go-to order is a sweet chilli chicken wrap and a caramel frappe.
“I was excited about literally anything. I was enjoying each and every moment because I had not seen that much before.
“I had never really been in the company of people my own age because I was recovering from the incident [the Taliban’s attempt on her life], and travelling around the world, publishing a book and doing a documentary, and so many things were happening. At university I finally got some time for myself,” she said.
She leaves her assignments to the last minute
Despite being an A* grade student at school and earning a spot at the UK’s most prestigious university, Malala is no stranger to leaving assignments to the last minute, vowing to never do it again, only to find herself in the same situation the following week.
“Every week! I would be so annoyed with myself, like, ‘Why am I sitting here at 2am, writing this essay? Why haven’t I done any reading?’” she said.
She doesn’t understand why people get married
Her parents, who had an arranged marriage in Pakistan, would like Malala to get married one day, but she isn’t sure how she feels about it.
“I still don’t understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can’t it just be a partnership?” she said.
She had a secret Twitter account
Since joining Twitter in 2012, Malala has amassed 1.8 million followers. But prior to joining, she had a secret account on the platform for a year. She also has a private Instagram, where she mostly posts pictures of the sky.
She loves comedy
Earlier this year, Malala announced that her new production company, Extracurricular, had entered a multi-year partnership with Apple TV+.
Alongside documentaries on issues such as girls’ education and women’s rights, she wants to make comedies. Her personal favourites are Ted Lasso and Rick and Morty.
“I want these shows to be entertaining and the sort of thing I would watch. If I don’t laugh at them or enjoy them, I won’t put them on-screen.”
She added: “I come from a different background, and I also wonder, if a woman from a valley in Pakistan had made South Park, what would that look like?”
She earned high praise from Tim Cook and Michelle Obama
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who first met Malala in Oxford in 2017, said he doesn’t believe there is anyone quite like her.
“She has a lifetime of experience in 23 years. She has the story of her life, all of her accomplishments, and she’s focused on making a difference in the world. She has a North Star, which always impresses me about people. And despite all of this success, she’s humble and really down to earth and just a joy to spend time with. She’s amazing,” he said.
Michelle Obama, who met Malala while serving as the US First Lady, described her as “truly extraordinary”.
“Barack and I first met Malala when she visited the White House in 2013, and right away, it was clear she belonged in a room with the President of the United States. Her poise, her wisdom and her earnest belief in the power of every girl – it all couldn’t have been clearer from that very first meeting,” she said.
Greta Thunberg texts her for advice
Malala is friends with other notable young activists, including Greta Thunberg, 18, and gun control campaigner Emma Gonzalez, 21. As the oldest of the trio, she is always on hand when they need advice.
“I know the power that a young girl carries in her heart when she has a vision and a mission,” she said.
Malala's crime is not her opinions on marriage — it's surviving and thriving
We love our martyrs but Malala Yousafzai survived and her courage threatens us, so we try to tear her down at every opportunity.
aimun-faisal AIMUN FAISAL
PUBLISHED ABOUT 20 HOURS AGO
Almost a decade after getting shot in the face as a teenager, you would think grown adults would stop bullying you for it. Apparently not. After all, you survived.
Malala Yousafzai is extremely unique and supremely distinguished in much of what she has done in her life. Where she is an average 23-year-old college graduate is when it comes to her ideas of companionship. After all, she is a woman in her early 20s, her ideas of romance and lifelong commitments only developing. That happens sometimes. Ideas develop. If they are given space to breathe and an environment to flourish, of course. The rest of our lives is a negotiation and renegotiation with those ideas. After all, that is the point of the brain, I imagine — to work.
In Pakistan, that rarely happens. Ideas are squashed before they even begin taking shape, and independent thought is actively discouraged. Here, log kya kahein ge [what will people say] has achieved national motto status. Teenage marriages are justified through jitne jaldi shaadi ho jaaye, larkiyaan utni asaani se mould ho jaati hain [The sooner you get a girl married, the easier it will be to mould her], and any argument against convention is met with ek, dou kitaabein kya parh lein khud ko hum se zyaada samajhdaar samajhne lagey hain [After reading a couple of books, you think you're smarter than us].
Your paths in life are set. You are to mindlessly go to school, get grades better than your cousin, get a job that drains you, get married to a either a stranger or a cousin, have at least two kids (preferably one of them a son), put the kids through school, ask them why they aren’t getting grades as good as their cousins', force them into a career that drains them, have them marry a cousin or a stranger, demand at least two grandkids (preferably, one of them a son).
And even if you theoretically understand the costs of leading such a life — a brain that rots because it is not being used, a heart that remains unfulfilled, and relationships that start deteriorating as our burdens catch up to us — very few have the strength to deny the noise outside and imagine a different possibility. That remains true for our personal and our political. The risks are always imagined to be too great. An excommunication from the community, a life of being shunned.
In the midst of this, a renowned icon of 23, with her thoughts just developing, with her only beginning to deal with ideas of romantic unions, gently questions these notions you have committed so heavily to and it starts feeling like a personal attack.
This quote, cherry-picked from a remarkable interview, to intentionally feel collectively attacked is only a small example of our national problem with Malala: she has the strength to go against convention and the audacity to be universally loved.
Ever since she was 12, Malala has challenged forces that our leadership preferred to succumb to. She refused to sit by and pay the cost of the decisions taken by those in charge. And as long as we considered her efforts those of a child, which will inevitably fail in the face of convention when push comes to shove, we even encouraged her. We thought she was a cat and we had the laser pointer in our hand. We gave her prizes and welcomed the coverage she got.
Until she got shot, and we thought, “well, that was that”. We love the idea of people recognising our suffering, but also not going far enough to challenge the convention we hold sacred out of fear. As she lay unconscious on the brink of death, and the country waited for her to tip over to the other side, the reactions remained supportive. We love our martyrs in this country, we love our “lost potentials”. Fatwas were issued denouncing the attack on her, media channels wondered how someone could shoot a child, everybody in their homes shook their heads in grief at the tragedy of it all.
As the world rejoiced in the survival of a hero, we buried the martyr. Suddenly, it became obvious that the only one playing with a laser pointer was us. Malala Yousafzai now existed, not as an unrealized utopian ideal we could present to the world as a cost we had collectively borne for the decisions taken by those in charge, but as a possibility challenging the conventions we have committed too heavily to. Suddenly, she was irreligious, media channels were asking why would anyone shoot a child, everybody in their homes decided that the attack was staged, that someone decided to take money for being shot in the head and defame a country that was already viewed with suspicion.
Not only do we feel threatened by her courage, we also resent that it is celebrated and not shunned. So we do what cowardly people do, instead of embracing the possibility Malala offers us, we are determined to tear her down. We want to prove to ourselves that she is a hack, so that we are not forced to confront the alternative; that we are trapped inside of a hell of our own making. Thus, we insist that the ideas she presents are not so much opportunities to rethink our reality, but a personal affront delivered by someone who is morally corrupt at best and invested in a global conspiracy against us at worst.
So we try to accuse her of wrongdoings she has not committed and attacks she has not delivered. This is particularly annoying, because Malala has already denied us the easiest way we could have discredited her. Our patriarchal value system is debilitated trying to find excuses to question her “western” character, as Malala prances about challenging all their notions with a dupatta on her head. She took a piece of cloth that the White world had long struggled to remove from a woman, and the brown man had long struggled to drape her in, showed both groups the middle finger, and reclaimed it. Well, this sucks. She challenges us, and also robbed us of our most powerful weapon to annihilate her with.
So we must dig deeper, build up impossible standards for anyone to live up to. Ask questions that have repeatedly been answered. Make demands that can never be fulfilled. Keep shifting goalposts as she continues to prove us wrong.
“The Taliban are not evil enough to shoot a child in the head, the attack was staged to discredit Muslims,” we had initially said. (Until the Taliban shot 150 of our children we couldn’t save, whose parents continue to seek justice.)
“Why only Malala, why don’t they mention the other girls who were with her?” we ask of the Western media, without mentioning the other girls who were with her (Kainat and Shazia, also in England, mentioned by Malala in her Nobel Prize acceptance award as they sat in the audience.)
“Why Malala and not Waleed Khan, survivor of the APS attack, who lives in Pakistan?” grown adults continued asking. (Waleed himself tweeted in defence of Malala, clarified that he is in England, and mentioned the support that the Yousafzais had offered him.)
“What has Malala done for Pakistan?” we desperately continued. (The answer is available with a single Google search.)
“If she is so committed to human rights, why not condemn American violence?” (She did, directly to Barack Obama’s face.)
“Okay but why not Palestine and Kashmir?” (She did. She did. In a moment when the Pakistani and Indian right wing would have gone to war with one another, they united to badmouth her when she did.)
“Why does she not return to Pakistan?” people living in a country where the Prime Minister routinely tweets remittance figures as a boast ask about a girl who faces a threat to her life and general hostility from her craven countrymen. (And yet when she did, the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation banned her book, and celebrated I Am Not Malala Day because they did not agree with her “ideology”. Now the religious right wing does not want us to include “un-Islamic” terms like “markup” in our mathematics curriculum.)
Whatever Malala suggested, we went and did the opposite. And every time, she was proven right. So now when Malala graces the cover of Vogue, we grasp at straws, hoping to be attacked so we could be proven right in our dislike for her. Celebrities, who continue to perform the same problematic roles over and over again, accuse her, try to humiliate her, even though they don’t even register as a speck in Malala’s worldview. Larger audiences on social media scurry to cling to this one statement, taken out of context, from an interview they have yet to read as verifiable proof that Malala wants to destabilise our “family system”. Lately, everything has been an attack on our family system. We would rather be more concerned with why she does not live in this country, instead of the spokesperson of the group that shot her.
Had she not survived the attack we would have been able to advertise to the world what a grief-stricken country we really are. We could have spoken about her as a martyr and a warning. We would have remembered her in glory and projected our nationalist ideas onto her memory without her being around to set her own terms of her identity. But she lives, cherished, and not mourned as a reminder of our failures. In her we see our evil and our cowardice reflected.
As she slowly builds the world we want to live in, we are forced to accept that we are not just victims of our suffering but complicit in enacting it. We blame her for proving the “western” view of us right, as we continue renouncing the hope she offers us. We attack her, mock her, malign her, and falsely accuse her. We resolutely continue on our path to self-destruction, even when she shows us possibilities to thrive.
And yet, there she stands. Dignified and glorified. Reasserting at every opportunity she gets that her identity is tied to ours. That she is one of us. Holding onto the ties we believe we want cut off. Dreaming of coming back to a safer home, a better home, a more welcoming home. Continuing to offer peace and love even as we respond with hostility and hatred. Malala does not attack us. She does not mock us. She does not malign us.
Grade 7 book seized in Punjab for printing Malala’s picture
Imran Gabol Published July 13, 2021
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai pauses during an interview with Reuters at a local hotel in Islamabad on March 30, 2018. — Reuters
LAHORE: The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) on Monday confiscated the social studies book for grade 7 published by the Oxford University Press (OUP) for printing the picture of Malala Yousufzai alongside that of 1965 war hero Maj Aziz Bhatti Shaheed in the list of important personalities.
Pictures of some important personalities had been published on page 33 of the book that included Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, national poet Allama Iqbal, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Liaqat Ali Khan, legendary philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan, Nishan-i-Haider recipient Maj Aziz Bhatti Shaheed and activist Malala Yousufzai.
Already circulated in various educational institutes, sources said the PCTB, police and other agencies were conducting raids on shops across the city even at the time the report was filed to confiscate copies of the book for publishing Malala’s picture besides that of Aziz Bhatti.
On Monday, a team of officials first conducted a raid on the OUP office in Mini Market, Gulberg and confiscated the entire stock of the book. They also handed over a letter to the press, stating that the book had not been issued a No-Objection Certificate (NOC).
One of the publishers on condition of anonymity told Dawn that the book had been submitted to the PCTB for a review and to seek an NOC in 2019. The board, after reviewing its contents, did not approve it for publishing. “The Oxford University Press has published the book despite not being issued the NOC,” he said.
He said the PCTB officials, police and other agencies had visited his shop, inquired about the book and read out the orders about confiscation of the book.
PCTB Managing Director Farooq Mazhar was not available for comments till the filing of this report, while its spokesman claimed the book was confiscated for being published without an NOC.
Last year, the PCTB had banned 100 textbooks it deemed “against” the two-nation theory, or “unethical and illegal”.
It had stated that some of the books had not printed even the correct date of birth of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and poet Allama Iqbal, while some others contained “blasphemous material” and incorrect maps of the country. Similarly, there were 36 districts of Punjab, but some of these books mentioned 35.
It had also banned a booklet series, Infant Mathematics, allegedly published without its approval. The booklet was found to be in violation of Section 10 of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Act 2015.
Malala: I Survived the Taliban. I Fear for My Afghan Sisters.
In the last two decades, millions of Afghan women and girls received an education. Now the future they were promised is dangerously close to slipping away. The Taliban — who until losing power 20 years ago barred nearly all girls and women from attending school and doled out harsh punishment to those who defied them — are back in control. Like many women, I fear for my Afghan sisters.
I cannot help but think of my own childhood. When the Taliban took over my hometown in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in 2007 and shortly thereafter banned girls from getting an education, I hid my books under my long, hefty shawl and walked to school in fear. Five years later, when I was 15, the Taliban tried to kill me for speaking out about my right to go to school.
I cannot help but be grateful for my life now. After graduating from college last year and starting to carve out my own career path, I cannot imagine losing it all — going back to a life defined for me by men with guns.
Afghan girls and young women are once again where I have been — in despair over the thought that they might never be allowed to see a classroom or hold a book again. Some members of the Taliban say they will not deny women and girls education or the right to work. But given the Taliban’s history of violently suppressing women’s rights, Afghan women’s fears are real. Already, we are hearing reports of female students being turned away from their universities, female workers from their offices.
Class Dismissed: Malala’s Story
A 2009 documentary by Adam B. Ellick profiled Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl whose school was shut down by the Taliban. Ms. Yousafzai was shot by a gunman on Oct. 9, 2012.
Class Dismissed: Malala’s Story
A 2009 documentary by Adam B. Ellick profiled Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl whose school was shut down by the Taliban. Ms. Yousafzai was shot by a gunman on Oct. 9, 2012.
None of this is new for the people of Afghanistan, who have been trapped for generations in proxy wars of global and regional powers. Children have been born into battle. Families have been living for years in refugee camps — thousands more have fled their homes in recent days.
The Kalashnikovs carried by the Taliban are a heavy burden on the shoulders of all Afghan people. The countries who have used Afghans as pawns in their wars of ideology and greed have left them to bear the weight on their own.
But it is not too late to help the Afghan people — particularly women and children.
Over the last two weeks, I spoke with several education advocates in Afghanistan about their current situation and what they hope will happen next. (I am not naming them here because of security concerns.) One woman who runs schools for rural children told me she has lost contact with her teachers and students.
“Normally we work on education, but right now we are focusing on tents,” she said. “People are fleeing by the thousands and we need immediate humanitarian aid so that families are not dying from starvation or lack of clean water.” She echoed a plea I heard from others: Regional powers should be actively assisting in the protection of women and children. Neighboring countries — China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan — must open their doors to fleeing civilians. That will save lives and help stabilize the region. They must also allow refugee children to enroll in local schools and humanitarian organizations to set up temporary learning centers in camps and settlements.
Looking to Afghanistan’s future, another activist wants the Taliban to be specific about what they will allow: “It is not enough to vaguely say, ‘Girls can go to school.’ We need specific agreements that girls can complete their education, can study science and math, can go to university and be allowed to join the work force and do jobs they choose.” The activists I spoke with feared a return to religious-only education, which would leave children without the skills they need to achieve their dreams and their country without doctors, engineers and scientists in the future.
We will have time to debate what went wrong in the war in Afghanistan, but in this critical moment we must listen to the voices of Afghan women and girls. They are asking for protection, for education, for the freedom and the future they were promised. We cannot continue to fail them. We have no time to spare.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum