On 9th October 2012, the 15-year-old BBC blogger turned women rights activist Malala Yousufzai was shot by Talibans. Malala escaped death amidst serious bullet injuries in her neck and shoulders.
What made Malala so popular was a diary that said the torments of Taliban against education in Swat, particularly female education. In some manners, the diary builds on a theme similar to that of Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank.
Both diaries speak of an oppressor’s torment. In case of Malala, it speaks how brutally schools in Swat have been blown by Talibans; how the women of the region were forced to wear veil; how military has been going on with their operations against the terrorists, and so on.
In the latter case, Anne Frank spoke about how anti-Semitism had forced so many Jews (including her family) live a tortuous life, how Nazis introduced laws that restricted yellow badge holders (Jews) in every sphere of life.
Malala’s diary appeared in the form of blog posts on BBC. The tender aged blogger first voiced her sufferings under the pseudonym Gul Makai. With growing popularity, however, human rights organizations took Malala’s cause as their own – sponsoring many events and seminars showcasing Malala’s enthusiasm, support and intentions for education in Swat. Malala’s name came on the surface so much so that she was nominated for the noble peace prize award.
While the western media kept promoting the young girl’s noble cause, Pakistani media kept silent because the Malala word wasn’t sellable. After all, accounts of poverty, misery, dirty politics, load shedding, target killing, corruption and many other vices in Pakistan leave little room for a voice that speaks of a ray of hope in these turbulent times.
It was only until Taliban actually materialized their death threats on the poor girl that our media booked so many sponsors to bring forth her cause. Military helicopters took her off from the crime scene, the government offered security for the rest of the family members, various education funds got Malala’s name, and a nationwide consensus developed on the issue of exterminating Taliban from North Waziristan. Good; but why now?
Sadly, Taliban is the product of America-Pakistan military romance of the Soviet war times. Hardcore army commanders of Pakistan military coupled with regular Islamic fundamentalists were trained for the war by the then US army men on the pretext of Jihad against the ‘infidel’ Russia. The United States was not so much of an infidel entity then. It just wanted Russia to withdraw from Afghanistan, spread education there, and go away, all with its very Talibans! Afghanistan remained the symbol of ‘peace’ for so many years; but the Pak-US created Talibans got crazy. Dang!
To Gul Makai, Talibans were the only evils on Earth. She could witness Taliban banning schools, but she could not see the drone attacks that killed over 160 children of her age. She would prefer US or China to take over her land for the sake of peace. I don’t mean she deliberately skipped all anti-US parts in her diary. It’s just that the little socialist peacemaker inside her focused on symptoms rather than the causes of the unprotected Pak-US military romance.