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Filed under Opinion, Showcase

Malala Yousafzai is unfair symbol to West

Malala+Yousafzai+asks+for+support+with+girl%27s+education+and+female+rights+in+Pakistan.+Yousafzai%27s+usual+story+glosses+over+what+America+has+contributed+to+Pakistan%27s+problems.
Malala Yousafzai asks for support with girl's education and female rights in Pakistan. Yousafzai's usual story glosses over what America has contributed to Pakistan's problems.

Malala Yousafzai asks for support with girl's education and female rights in Pakistan. Yousafzai's usual story glosses over what America has contributed to Pakistan's problems.

ting.hujiang.com

ting.hujiang.com

Malala Yousafzai asks for support with girl's education and female rights in Pakistan. Yousafzai's usual story glosses over what America has contributed to Pakistan's problems.

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Peace activist Malala Yousafzai was just 14 years old when she was shot in the head in an assassination attempt in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. She had been promoting education for women with help from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) through her blog, when she soon became a target by the Taliban, and on Oct. 9, 2012 Yousafzai and three other schoolgirls were wounded by two gunmen.  Seriously hurt, Yousafzai was airlifted to a British hospital where she recovered. She is now an international hero, and has been nominated for the Children’s Nobel Peace Prize. However, though her story has brought attention to the terror occurring in Pakistan, it disguises the rest of the story that includes Western contribution to the problem.

Are Yousafzai’s accomplishments yet another unfair portrayal of the West as “saviors of the East?” Yes, although her story is truly incredible, the typical Malala story is biased, because it glosses over what America has contributed to the situation in Pakistan; it has brought tensions between Americans and the East, and it ignores the stories of thousands of other Pakistani’s who have died the same way Yousafzai almost did. By focusing solely on Yousafzai, Americans are ignoring the fact that their government has contributed to the struggle between Pakistani’s and the Taliban.

Yousafzai’s story captured Western audiences with it’s easy-to-swallow heroine and antagonist. After hearing about her experience, Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, created a UN petition with the title “I Am Malala”, demanding that all children have the opportunity for education by 2015. This gave Yousafzai international fame and secured her spot in Time magazine’s “100 most influential people” list. However, not everyone seems to agree that Yousafzai is deserving of this praise. The fact of the matter is, thousands of people die every day the way Yousafzai almost did. Where are their stories?  Why does the typical story fail to mention the other three girls almost killed on the schoolbus with Yousafzai that fateful October day, except in passing? Truthfully, because Yousafzai’s story was known by the BBC before the attack, she was saved and even taken to a Western hospital to recover, a point highly criticized because many other innocent victims do not get this same opportunity.

Though American media portrays Yousafzai as an innocent bystander in a corrupt country killed by an evil dictatorship, her fellow Pakistani’s beg to differ. A recent Pakistani blogger commented that she was merely an American puppet, and it is true that America is quick to criticize the Middle East without doing anything to stop the violence. Instead, the American government continues to drop bombs on nameless victims who don’t have the pleasure to have a heroic story such as Yousafzai’s. Yousafzai herself even recently brought up the attacks to President Obama, urging him to stop the drone strikes on her country.

Some might argue that getting Yousafzai’s story out there at all is the only important thing, because it draws attention to the injustices of the Taliban regime in Pakistan. However, the usual story for Yousafzai  disguises what America has contributed to the problem. It focuses on the fact that Yousafzai is a victim who was shot by a cowardly regime. Instead, the media should portray Yousafzai’s true message: that everyone, including girls and women, have the right to education regardless of their race, age or class.

There is extreme hopelessness in Pakistan at the moment, and though Yousafzai’s story has been corrupted by Western media, it still portrays a strong girl with a good message. Yousafzai is not asking for pity or personal favors- she is asking for support with girl’s education and female rights. Americans should instead focus more on her message and her persistence in what she believes is right, and to stop subjecting the media’s story to portray her in an unfair light.

 

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1 Comment

One Response to “Malala Yousafzai is unfair symbol to West”

  1. Bryce Patel on November 4th, 2013 10:52 pm

    I think you are a bit too harsh on America. It isn’t our responsibility to fix other countries and if history is any indicator (Vietnam, Iraq) it wouldn’t be a very good idea to try. Also, even though America didn’t fix the problem, it definitely hasn’t made it worse like you indicated. Drone strikes aren’t an ideal solution, but the people who blow up buses and schools on a regular basis are the people targeted by drones, not Americans.

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