Too many people live in fear. Fear has evolved from an instinct necessary for survival into a mean of mass manipulations, especially where there are no other reasons for subordination. Intimidation can take different forms, even civilized forms, use extremely sophisticated methods, but it always prefers to keep one of its allies to itself. That ally is ignorance.
In 2009 the world heard eleven-year old Malala from Pakistan, when she wrote a blog about her life under Taliban occupation. She told about the Taliban’s ban on women’s education, how they destroyed schools and prohibited women from visiting markets and even hairdressers. She became a voice of modern East. At least, one of its facets.
But she paid a lot for her courage. In October 2012 a Taliban gunman shot Yousafzai as she rode home on a bus from school. The masked gunman asked which of the children was Malala and shot at her. Two other girls were also wounded in the shooting. Chance of survival was small, but Malala was lucky. Talibs wanted her to stop speaking, but her voice enhanced. When she was 16, Yousafzai spoke at the headquarters of the United Nations to call for worldwide access to education, became a nominee of a few international awards. In 2014, Yousafzai was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. She shared the prize with Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights activist from India.
What is this Pakistani girl fighting for? Is it true that her worlds were dictated by someone interested in negative attitude towards Islam and Muslim World? On the one hand, the child’s desire to have education and live in freedom and dignity is fully understandable. On the other hand, the problem exists and it’s obvious. If there wasn’t Malala, someone else would be, sooner or later. There are a lot of them, but not all voices can be heard.
Harassment and humiliation of women are not new in Arabian countries. News about women that were attacked with acid, stoned or killed, appear so often that are commonplace. A prohibition to wear trousers or women’s public punishment will surprise nobody in some Eastern countries. While many girls are playing football or try topless sunbathing, their Asian peers can only dream about going to school and wearing something other than hijab.
It is said that the Westerner cannot understand the East. Also some people say that Malala represents the Western view, destroying her country’s ideology. The USSR’s ideology comes to mind, when the Western vision was criticized. Time helps to set the record straight and knowledge helps to avoid mistakes’ repetition.
There are many territories that could become a real paradise, but there is always someone who wants to destroy it to suit his personal interests. It is much easier to manipulate people by threatening life, property, family, deterring individuals from accessing information, education, making think only about their own survival. Malala’s voice isn’t voice against Islam; it is a voice for peace, nonviolence, tolerance and human rights. If child can do it, we all can.