Friday, July 4, 2014

She is Malala

In a young age, Malala had earned the respect and support of the world. On October 09, 2012, the taliban shot her in the head while she rode home on a bus. In attempting to obliterate Malala’s words, the Taliban instead, just amplified her message far beyond the Swat Valley, calling attention to the justice of her cause in every corner of the world. During that incident, when Malala was about to be shot, the Taliban asked “Which one is Malala?” Now the whole world knows which one is Malala.

Born on the 12th of July 1997, Malala was given her first name after a famous Pashtun poet and warrior woman from southern Afghanistan, Malalai of Maiwand. Her last name, Yousafzai, is that of a large Pashtun tribal confederation that is predominant in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where she grew up. At her house in Mingora, she lived with her two younger brothers, her parents, and two pet chickens.

Malala was educated in large part by her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who is a poet, school owner, and an educational activist himself, running a chain of schools known as the Khushal Public School. She once stated to an interviewer that she would like to become a doctor, though later her father encouraged her to become a politician instead. Ziauddin referred to his daughter as something entirely special, permitting her to stay up at night and talk about politics after her two brothers had been sent to bed.

Malala started speaking about education rights as early as September 2008, when her father took her to Peshawar to speak at the local press club.

"How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?" Malala asked her audience in a speech covered by newspapers and television channels throughout the region.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban is a thought provoking book.

Malala spoke with telling affection about her home country, and about the Pakistani people’s desire for prosperity, dignity and peace. Of the Taliban, whose threats against her continue, she expressed only the prayer that their children, all of their children, will have access to a real education as well. Mixed with the courage in her words, there is both personal humility and profound confidence; with passion in her voice, she summons everyone to unleash the power of young minds; to fight back against illiteracy, poverty, and terrorism; and to know in our hearts that – again, in her words – “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.”

“Education is the only solution,” she declares, adding that, with sufficient bravery and respect for one another “No one can stop us.”

The first thing that impressed me was the universality of the story. The specifics are different but there is a parallel between Pakistan, The US, and the Taliban, and Mexico, The US, and the drug cartels.

The origin of the Taliban can be traced to the CIA, The grandfather of the modern Mexican drug cartels was Nassar Haro, a director of the Dirección Federal de Seguridad.  According to Peter Dale Scott, the Dirección Federal de Seguridad was in part a CIA creation, and “the CIA’s closest government allies were for years in the DFS”. DFS badges, “handed out to top-level Mexican drug-traffickers, have been labelled by DEA agents a virtual ‘license to traffic.’” Scott says that “The Guadalajara Cartel, Mexico’s most powerful drug-trafficking network in the early 1980s, prospered largely because it enjoyed the protection of the DFS, under its chief Miguel Nassar (or Nazar) Haro, a CIA asset.

The Pakistani government makes a show of fighting the Taliban, harassing the populace, while high ranking generals regularly have  lunch with the Taliban leadership. The Mexican government makes a show of fighting the Drug Cartels while high ranking government officials regularly have lunch with the Cartles leadership.

But the main message is that Malala is just a regular, tough hard driven, teenage girl. She describes how when in Abu Dabi, she started to panic  just at the look of Arabic men filling the street, and how she calmed herself by recalling that she already came back from the dead. If she can fight for her rights, could we?

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