The cold war era has seen a multitude of human right violation and human atrocities especially in the last decade of twenty first century. Prisoners assassinated during revolt in the prison of Oso Blanco the Amazonian state of Rondonia where the victims where shot, hung, or tossed frim the roof by inmates of rival bands. In Indian city of Godhra a train filled with Hindu activists was attacked by small Muslim group, who fired two cars killing 27 persons which in turn triggered violent loop of revenge in form of religious enmity 2000 Muslims within 4 days destroying houses, mosques and trade centres. Hundreds of women were raped and mutilated in front of there families. At later stage it turned out to be a planned with approval and collaboration from local authorities and government. Another such incident where a Muslim child was shot in head by Taliban because she protested against the order that restricted education of girl child.
Such incidents resulted in penning down of their whole personal experience in the form of memoir and biography which depicted the whole journey they had been in and the social and political dogma they faced. Human attribute of empathy towards such incidents made them a conduit for awareness of rights. One such book written by Malala Yousafzai with the title I am Malala which pressurizes on right to education of girls as fundamental human right and secularism. However, the book has been more successful in foreign countries than its home country i.e. Pakistan. This stresses us to look at the book beyond a simple narration of past incident. It is necessary to analyse the book as a successful memoir to publicize and market the area of human right concern and to promote secularism.
Mingora a small commercial city in the district of swat has always been under suffering as Pakistani government side-lined their interest as the princely state was dissolved and brought under Pakistani law. When it was hit by hit by earthquake in 2005 the government failed to supply aid as the it was difficult to reach the upper swat valley. At such time Taliban group rushed to aid the people and thus gained support of local audience. When Islamic Shariah was enacted by Sufi Muhammad most people came in favour of the system, seeing speedy justice to the affairs, better services in terms of resources. Many Swati’s at that time donated large sums of their gold and money to the cause. In 2009 the then chief of TTP in the area of swat Mullah Fazlullah made stern orders to enforce and implement extremism in the name of Islam. One of the many restriction was complete ban on women’s education in the district and death threat were made to anyone going against the order. more than 400 school were destroyed under his leadership just to make sure his orders were followed. Majority of such schools provided free and Education to girls. Abdul Hai Kakar a reporter of BBC decided to bring the issue to limelight, for this he needed some students who can report such incidents and can express the barriers to be presented around the globe.
Kakar asked several parents to allow them to raise voice at the given platform. But it was the atrocities and warning from TTP which made them to decline the offer. Kakar than asked Ziauddin Yousafzai for help, who ran his own school in Mingora providing education to girls and was often seen raising voices in this regard. He presented Some of bright speaker from his school but had to drop them as the parents denied them the permission. At last he presented his own daughter Malala Yousafzai who at that time was 11 years old. Kakar decide to broadcast whole days happening in 30 minutes conversation in Native language Urdu. The project was estimated to be of ten weeks with half hour show daily. Malala further started writing diary under the pen name of Gul makai (corn flower) which was first published on BBC Urdu webpage in 2009. Gul makai wrote without any hesitation and fear about her fears that someday her school might be into rubbles with hundreds of dreams being shattered and at most of them being killed. During the interval of ten weekly Malala made several interviews on Pakistani TV channels speaking about their dreams and fears education and career and sword hanging above them and how they remain dedicated to gain education. Class Dismissed was a documentary made by Adam B. Ellick of The New York times which exposed the military operation in swat. She was further interviewed by AVT Khyber a national Pashto language station and Canada’s Toronto Star. In October 2011 she was nominated for International Children’s peace prize which said she had dared to stand up for herself and the community beside her using national and global media to inform the world that girls should also have fundamental and natural right to go to school. Ziauddin on the other hand always had this feeling of losing the ownership of school, eath threats were often heard on the radio by TTP leaders Even then he remained dedicated to his words and work. Death threats were often heard on the radio by TTP leaders
Malala’s growing publicity and acceptance of her words amongst the conservative masses of tribal belts posed threat to the principles of TTP. The radio channel by Mullah fistula also known as Radio Mullah became very brutal and difficult to challenge. Videos of women’s being tortured and freedom gradually being taken away from folks became viral in Pakistan. Years of suicide bombings and guerrilla warfare tarnished their picture. Pakistan Army in 2009 came to support of citizens. After successful operation Taliban retreated and they realized that folks had turned their backs on them. Malala rose to win Pakistan’s first National peace prize in December 2011 where it was stated by her that though she did not belong to any party but hoped to found a party of her own to promote Education. The Prime minister on her request directed to set up degree college for women. Desperate for revenge the Shura of Taliban unanimously decided to kill Malala Yousafzai in planned mission.
The Incident and treatment
On 9th of October 2012 a Taliban Gunman shot her in the head which went through neck and shoulder while she was riding back from School in bus. Reports said the gunman asked who of them was Malala, two other girls Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan were also hurt but sober enough that they spoke with the reporters about the incident. Yousafzai was immediately airlifted to Peshawar where doctors were forced to do surgery as swelling has developed in left portion of the brain. The bullet was removed after 5-hour successful operation. Days later group of Pakistani and British experts moved her to Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology to Rawalpindi. Where a doctor said she had major chance of survival and it was better to move her to England’s Queen Elizabeth hospital which expertise’s in Treatment of Injured military personnel. The Pakistani government decided to bear all the cost of transportation, medical, accommodation and subsistence costs.
Malala Yousafzai with the help of a veteran British journalist called Christina Lamb to write a fearless memoir which starts with how the gunman Stopped the Khushal School van and further incidents followed. The co-author rendered the complex situation and history into simple pristine clarity. The book became a quick success as the grief and ambition of a person and her journey towards it. The book influences general opinion of a reader by gaining Empathy which is known to be quick formula to deliver your message. Certain universities like George Washington and Global women’s institute made a university-level curriculum upon the book achieve various academic disciplines.
Analysis of the book
One Child, One Teacher, one book, one pen……… is the title of epilogue of the of the memoir written by teenage noble peace prize winner. The book reflects chief desire of Yousafzai to see everyone having the weapon of education. She clearly showed how the same element which was restricted to her and her friends empowered them to fight back physically, spiritually and emotionally. Struggles of Pakistani-Muslim community is enlightened by lifting the veil in the name of Islam.
The book starts with each and every minute details of how the young Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai was shot while returning from School. This creates interests and anticipation in the readers mind about what happens to the girl. The book proceeds about the background culture and religion of the girl. Moving towards childhood, how she developed interest towards education of women’s looking at the prohibitions in surroundings. Certain events hardened her passion of cause and her dream of developing a party which focuses on educating girls child. Suspense increases when family gets threats from Taliban and they start worrying about her security. Climax of the story is when she was shot and then her path towards recovery and how she continued to live her life Mentally and emotionally.
The book talks about how Pakistanis were ashamed of knowing that Osama Bin Laden kept refuge on their land and cities never got to know about it until the operation by USA. This gave them a feeling of guilt and embarrassment. The Pakistani felt betrayed as they were not informed and the mission was carried out without intimation. Author reacts to kidnapping of 200 girls in Nigeria just because they tried to go to school.
It is always difficult who is who in ghost-written books. However, in this book Malala’s voice has purity, rigidity and the texts are principled. It is Malala who touches hearts of peoples while trying to speak about the troubles of people of swat 20 years after it gained by Pakistan. The book is story Malala same as it is the book about her fathers struggle to open school where she could impart education to girls. Long speeches of her Father are made fun of and how the person sold popcorns at night so that he could have extra income to fund for his school.
Malala always considered herself a Swati and Pashtun first than a Pakistani. The memoirs show the transformation of a small girl into a young and bright lady who had seen horrors of the world. From being a child who cared about nothing but her to a 11-year girl who started anonymous writing blogs about the Taliban. It was than that she realized what exactly was going in her society. Despite gaining such recognition and numerous awards, Malala is always on ground and cars for her family and friends more than anything.
Malala being a Muslim all this problem arising out of Islamic background, religion is major theme of her story. It is advocated as a religion of peace and patience which promotes girl’s education. Taliban preached the religion in very inhumane and cruel and un-Islamic way which gave little opportunity to girls, which in fact was very opposite to the true teachings of Islam. Education was the weapon through which everyone can fight and Malala made sure that she always had possession of such power.
The book reflects the virtue of love for family and shunning of bitterness. Though many critics have blamed her father for manipulating her desires. Be it true or not the bond shared between them is very strong. Their love can be measured in the fact that that he defied his entire culture and imparted education to her daughter who promised to protect her freedom while she moved with her dreams
Oppression in the name of religion
One of the major theme of the book I am Malala is Radical preaching of violent Islam which author ties to lack of education. Ignorance was spread by so called Islamic Scholars who in fact were trying to disintegrate masses for their benefit. The book shows how radicalized scholars took to emotional paths to manipulate the masses and gradually oppressed them with violence. The Taliban prevented from imparting education to girls saying this was not allowed in Islam which was propaganda of Taliban. Malala and her father stood for education as they knew connection of violence to ignorance was compelling. So was the pity and empathy created when they were denied education, respect, and even dietary items like eggs and milks.
A smart reader will surely understand the pursuit of education to girls and boys of war torn, hostile, oppressive and destitute regions of the world. Readers also develop compassion for violently radicalized which inflicts fear and emotionless desire for revenge against the unknown enemy. Readers also realize the power for good that is embossed deep within the bonds of love, not only within their own families, but also when pointed toward those who would seek them danger.
Malala’s fame was necessary and major element behind the promotion and success of the book as market commodity but she had little control of the narrative and how it was received by diverse audience. Critics did review the book as the one invoking feeling of empathy in readers to burn up the feeling of Human right claims. It was reported that book exaggerated the incidents just to produce the feeling of empathy to deliver the message. However, the feeling of empathy has limits after which things fell overly hyped and while taking others troubles as our own we disown the troubles of more weaker section. The masses of Pakistan found this claim true, while Malala’s case was highlighted in all of the global media the trouble of others such as oppressions on women by the same Taliban group and limitation to their freedom was never publicised and presented to the world. Malala’s western fans were stunned by such claims as they never knew of such oppressions in the country.
International media Juggernaut
Another criticism related to problem was that media highlighted her case and many others fighting for the same cause never got such attention and support from the masses, media or the government. In order to prevent a suicide bomber from entering the school in Hangu in 2017 a15 year old boy was killed. When compared with Malala his courageous deed is paragon of valour. On 16th December the same year 144 school children were killed by Taliban in Army Public School never got so much attention. All these attacks were openly claimed by the Taliban and they were never criticized as required nor proper actions were taken against them. These Attacks were in response to the attack by the Pakistani army at North Waziristan Tribal areas on repeated insistence Bu the United States. The problem is clearly much larger than just education girl’s education while viewed in larger perspective.
There is a reason we know Malala’s story but not that of Noor Aziz, eight years old when killed by a drone strike in Pakistan; Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser, dead at seven from a drone strike in Yemen; or Abeer Qassim Hamza al Janabi, the 14-year-old girl raped and set on fire by US troops in Mahmudiyah, Iraq. “I wasn’t thinking these people were humans,” one of the soldiers involved, Steven Green, said of his Iraqi victims. It will always be more convenient for the west to paint itself as more righteous, more civilised, than the people they occupy and kill.
Fight against Violation of Human Right
On secondary level the whole fight was a fight for fundamental Human Right I.e. Education. Media decided to project Human right violation only in the year 1990’s when few government decide to add human right in their legal framework. Certain report said that prioritizing issue by reporters on the influential media organisations created carried strong message. They observed that media could have explained and contexed the information on human rights much better than they were already doing. Pakistanis developed a nationalist sentiment after the media covered the cases of Aafia Siddiqui, Raymond Davis incident, and Osama bin Laden’s death. They started suspecting Western reports and reported them of manipulating facts to malign the country. These feeling prevented some readers in Pakistan develop feeling of empathy for Malala’s story, especially because the co-author was British. The Fight against terrorism was declared a fight against human oppression and fight for women’s freedom and dignity.
The memoir of Malala Yousafzai depicted how her father stopped her from leaving schools whenever she wanted to leave Birmingham. The justification was that the schools there were pretty good and she should gather knowledge and excel in them to know how to use the words powerfully. No wonder her father meant her to fight more effectively on her return from Birmingham with the weapon of knowledge acquired there which sounded like planned agenda. It is Christina Lamb’s thought that Madrassa education clearly showed that there was no such thing called science or literature and that Dinosaurs never existed and that man never had capability to reach moon.
Reflection of failure of Pakistan and divided opinions
It was never a surprise that Pakistani audience received the memoir of Yousafzai’s in different perspective than it was reflected in the west. Many a times there was complete breakdown of law and order situation in the country creating a sense of insecurity in the name fight against globalisation and terror. Pakistan like many other east Asian country had no choice to shake hands wit USA to bombed in her own land and to return to Stone-age. In a country where death is at all time rise in the fight between Taliban And Pakistani army, as the army supported US drone strikes, celebration of Malala is seen as clear mockery. Many of the readers felt that highlighting every media channel, magazine and newspaper with her face was Unfair and amplified the failure of Pakistani government to control its own land. After UN speech of Malala Yousafzai many of the elite thinkers felt that she was used as middle weapon to ashamed Pakistan of the deeds that were on the first-place faults of the western powers. Though many of the educated Pakistani were left uneasy by the Malala attack many understood the international drama that was only used to deteriorate the identity of Pakistan at global scale.
Most negative aspects such as rampant militancy was at the cost of her fame, education imparted to her gave support to western agenda and the admiration given to her by the west was hypocritical at it overlooked the problems of innocent victims and casualties by US drone strikes are the points that some of the critics believe on. There is sharp divide between beliefs of the working class and the elites. The smaller upper section of the society which considers themselves progressive modernised and secular are always disdained conservationist of Pakistan. Although the Taliban is harming the daily lives of masses, attacks by the drones are considered graver as they are inflicted by outside forces. The progressive section of Pakistan has different opinion which summarizes that drone kills so that Malala’s can live with dignity.
Lessons from Memoir
1. Extremism is Volatile
It is difficult to believe how societies quickly turn into militant Theocracies. Political Instability and military conflict were major cause but it is surprising to see how ordinary citizens decided to support Sharia law in Swat instead of opposing it sternly. A different cultural Style in European nation makes it difficult for extremism to fester. These are week community integration, poor performance of academic institution and Muslim attitude that condones extremist ideas.
2. Being secularist and religious at same time
Personal faith of Malala Yousafzai helped her to face suffering moments of Islamic extremism. Malala found inspiration and hope in faith in Allah despite the pain inflicted on her by Islamic preachers, militants and politicians. This affirms the division between Islam as personal religion and Islamism as ideology, accepting one doesn’t oblige to accept the other, and the idea that one can be secularist and religious at the same time.
3. Secularism an important deal for democratic society
All of the suffering was linked with Islamic fundamentalism and merging religious ideas into political policies. It is ideal that a secular state is the one where there is guarantee of freedom of religion and freedom from religion and this is the only way to guarantee human rights.
4. Education is everything
The Yousafzai family knew the power of education and put their lives in grave danger to obtain and impart knowledge. On the other side, the Taliban was so terrified that even resorted to kill a 15-year old defenceless girl to cut down this threat. Amateurs accept the propaganda spread by them because they were never exposed to another viewpoint. A proper, rounded education which encourages critical thinking, questioning authorities and debating is important for immunisation against extremist ideologies.