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Malala Yousafzai To Obama’s Face

Drones Fuel Terrorism via YoungTurks

Mala’s Disingenuous Appropriation:  

Would we know Malala Yousafzai if she was one of the hundreds of children killed by American drones? from social media At that level, it is worth asking the tough question: if Malala had been killed or injured by an American drone, would she be celebrated? If she been injured by an American drone, would she be meeting with President Obama and featured on Jon Stewart? If the answer to that question is a no—and let us be honest about the fact that we do not feature victims of American violence—then we have to confront the betrayal of our own silence. In short, all of us, including the millions of people inspired by the example of Malala, have to move forward by insisting on a holistic sense of justice where we speak simultaneously against injustice here and injustice there, connecting the sanctity of life here to sanctity of life there. The way for Malala is the same way for all of us: to stand against brutality anywhere and everywhere, whether it is state-sponsored violence or terrorism violence. A better future for all of us depends on this stance for a holistic sense of justice.

Malala Yousafzai is the toast of the day. There was a strong campaign to have her receive the Nobel Peace Prize this year, she has been featured on Jon Stewart, and had a private audience with President Obama. The White House tabbed this meeting to mark their “photo of the day.” At the same time, there are also many who are writing pieces critical of her, or concerned about the way in which she can be appropriated by the West. A New York Times article asked the question many are asking: “Is Malala Yousafzai a heroine or Western stooge?” In light of these competing projects, we need some careful analysis. […]

4) Malala is not “ours” to adopt. It is not often that I disagree with Jon Stewart. He is quite possibly my favorite cultural critic, and my favorite comedian. That he can do both and weave them together is a testimony to his genius. But I have to confess a profound discomfort with Stewart’s somewhat adorable comment to Malala “I want to adopt you.” Yes, we understand the urge, and I don’t think Stewart’s comments were in any way malicious or intended as anything other than a spur of the moment adoration. However, and this is an important point, Malala does not need to be adopted. Nor is she available for adoption. Her comments came right after she talked about how it has been the love and adoration of her own father that has given her wings to accomplish what she has. She already has a father, she has a family. And that family is as much a story of Pakistan, a story of Muslim societies, as the stories of the Taliban. Malala is already rooted in a community, even as she is struggling to reform that community. One can only adopt someone who is an orphan, without family, without communtiy. None of these are true for Malala. The extent to which she will be able to transform her own society will remain linked to the extent to which she remains grounded in her own community (while perhaps networking with international voices of resistance, human rights, etc.)

5) Malala has to stand against both the violence of the Muslim extremists like Taliban and the violence of the American Empire. Malala reported that she had the following comments to President Obama about the American policy of drones: “I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. 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.” Words like authenticity are overused. Yet if one is going to be a genuine Muslim reformer, and not one manufactured by or promoted by Western powers, it is vital to have and maintain a holistic sense of justice in which one speaks simultaneously against both abuses of Muslim extremists and Western colonial powers. As for Malala, it means simultaneously to speak against the misogynist policies of the Taliban AND the violence inflicted on the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan by American drones. It takes a bold person to speak that type of truth to power, especially when the power is the charismatic power of the Office of the President of the United States. Yes, the Taliban are vile, misogynist, and violent group that has practiced gender apartheid in Afghanistan and has killed thousands of people who disagree with their bigoted ideology. And yes, it is easier for us to focus on the evil of the Taliban than to confront the evil of “our” own policies. We have to speak against the evil of the Taliban, and we have to recognize that we too—as in the United States of America—are responsible for a great evil over there. We too have used drones to kill thousands of civilians in these countries, including hundreds and hundreds of children. Here are the numbers from the U.K.-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism about the cost of drone attacks in Malala’s own Pakistan: Total reported killed: 2,548 – 3,549 Civilians reported killed: 411 – 890 Children reported killed: 168 – 197 These are the hundreds of civilian casualties that we as Americans have killed in Pakistan alone. To these, we have to add the dead in Afghanistan, in Yemen, in Somalia, in Iraq, the dead from sanctions in Iran, and elsewhere. 

via @Ostadjaan

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