Ms Yousafzai won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Media said: ‘because of her stance for girls’ education’. Educating girls contributes to peace indeed, indirectly.
Media usually neglect Malala Yousafzai’s anti-drone warfare stance. This side of her makes her an even more deserving Nobel Prize winner, being more directly pro-peace. Alfred Nobel, founder of the prize, intended it for directly anti-war people.
Helen Keller from the USA is very famous as a champion of blind and deaf people. In the Capitol, where the United States Congress meets, a statue honours her.
Another famous woman from the USA is Katharine Lee Bates, author of the very well-known poem/song America the Beautiful. Ms Bates was a feminist, a lesbian, a Christian socialist, and an anti-imperialist. All of these now conveniently ‘forgotten’ by United States Right wingers, who, when singing America the Beautiful, conveniently forget its later stanzas, so inconvenient for them.
These two women have been dead for a long time. Will a young woman of only seventeen years old now suffer a similar fate at the hands of Big Politics and Big Media?
I will quote now from the blog of Juan Cole in the USA. Juan Cole deserves sharp criticism for his support of the 2011 Libya war; a war which led to disasters for women’s rights, to a sharp increase in racism, to ever worsening bloodshed both within and outside the borders of Libya, and to hundreds of thousands of Libyans becoming refugees to save their lives.
However, this blog post by Juan Cole is better than his views on Libya:
Listening to Nobelist Malala Yousafzai instead of just Honoring Her
By Juan Cole | Oct. 11, 2014
Malala Yousafzai has become the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in history, sharing it this year with India’s Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights activist.
Ms. Yousafzai, from Pakistan’s picturesque Swat Valley, was shot in the head by a member of the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP or Pakistani Taliban Movement) two years ago this month for standing up for girls’ education.
There is always a danger that in honoring a figure like Malala Yousafzai, the world will drown out her more challenging views. Martin Luther King, Jr. is now mainly lauded for his “I have a Dream” speech but his socialism, anti-imperialism, and opposition to the Vietnam War is little remembered. Likewise, Lila Abu-Lughod has warned against the use of Ms. Yousafzai by powerful white men as a symbol whereby they can pose as champions of Muslim women against Muslim men– an argument first made powerfully in a another context by Gayatri Spivak. The real Malala Yousafzai is harder to deploy for those purposes than is Malala the symbol.
Islamophobes who use her story as an indictment of the religion of Islam have another think coming. She credits her religion with inspiring her values, the values that made here a nobelist: “What the terrorists are doing is against Islam because Islam is a religion of peace. It tells us about equality, it tells us about brotherhood, it tells us about love and friendship and peace, that we should – we should be nice and kind to each other.”
It should be remembered that Ms. Yousafzai told Barack Obama off about his drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of northwest Pakistan. She said of her meeting with the US president, “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism… Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”
She appears to oppose military action against the Taliban: ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’
She approvingly quoted her father as criticizing novelist Salman Rushdie for his book Satannic [sic; Satanic] Verses, but as standing for freedom of speech for such authors. Her remarks caused her book to be banned in many Pakistani private schools, angering the country’s fundamentalists. She also criticized the denial of rights to Pakistan’s Ahmadi minority.
Honoring someone with the bravery and resiliency and ethical intelligence of a Malala Yousafzai is easy. Taking her more challenging positions seriously and engaging with them is much more difficult.
The blog post might have added that Malala is a supporter of socialism.
It might also have added that Malala sees as her heroine Malalai Joya, Afghan feminist and opponent of the United States and other foreign occupation of her country.
When Stoltenberg, the new boss of militarist organisation NATO, praised Malala, I felt disgust. Don’t let warmongers drown the true voice of the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever; the way the establishment tries to drown Katherine Lee Bates, Helen Keller, Dr Martin Luther King, etc. etc.
Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Pakistani female education activist, shot and wounded but never silenced by the Taliban, became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient last week. Few women have ever won a Nobel Prize. Of the 867 awards distributed since 1901, just 46 have gone to women: here.