They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them
July 12, 2013 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Malala Yousafzai, sixteen-year-old Pakistani education activist, has delivered her first public address since she was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen in October last year. Yousafzai's speech at the UN headquarters in New York today is available in full as text or video. She has been credited with bringing the issue of women's education to global attention, a crucial concern given that a quarter of young women around the world have not completed primary school.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED (39 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
Gordon Brown called her the "bravest girl in the world".
posted by seemoreglass at 1:58 PM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


'Bravest' doesn't even begin to cover it: "Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorists group. I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child. I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists especially the Taliban."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:14 PM on July 12, 2013 [37 favorites]


What an amazing young woman. Who would dare suppress this voice?
posted by BlueHorse at 2:21 PM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


The air ambulance that took her from Pakistan to England was provided by an Islamic country, the United Arab Emirates, which struck me as an interesting little detail.
posted by ambient2 at 2:23 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't really have any words for this amazing young woman, except hope (and fear) for her future. She is likely to have a target on her back all her days. What I want is for her to be safe, and for her to have many, many supporters and imitators.

I don't see how anyone can look at this girl's life and not understand that the continued oppression of women, whatever excuse or creed you use to do it, will never be anything but evil.

It is a scary but amazing thing to see girls like her, the women of Pussy Riot, and the women in the US (and so many others elsewhere) standing up and refusing to be silenced. I fear for all of them (us) but I am so, so happy to see them fighting and hopeful for our future.
posted by emjaybee at 2:27 PM on July 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Who would dare suppress this voice?

Fear - those who are ruled by it and those who would rule by it.

It's sad and humbling that someone so young should have to be the one to teach the rest of us the importance of extinguishing ignorance.
posted by Mooski at 2:38 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, what a transcendent human being.
posted by Sreiny at 2:43 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


What an awesome young lady. Total respect for her courage and poise.
posted by futz at 2:44 PM on July 12, 2013


The extremists are afraid of books and pens.

Holy crap. She's my hero.

And then this?:

We call upon the world leaders that all the peace deals must protect women and children's rights. A deal that goes against the dignity of women and their rights is unacceptable.

We call upon all governments to ensure free compulsory education for every child all over the world.

We call upon all governments to fight against terrorism and violence, to protect children from brutality and harm.

We call upon the developed nations to support the expansion of educational opportunities for girls in the developing world.

We call upon all communities to be tolerant – to reject prejudice based on cast, creed, sect, religion or gender. To ensure freedom and equality for women so that they can flourish. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.


Phenomenal. I hope she stays this strong, this vocal, and this morally sound for a long, long time to come.
posted by grubi at 2:52 PM on July 12, 2013 [9 favorites]




Totally. Fucking. Awesome.
posted by starscream at 4:08 PM on July 12, 2013


Bless this child.

Every kid in the world should know about her and what she's doing.
posted by droplet at 4:20 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This sixteen year old girl is more valuable to the world than I will ever be, and I'm in awe of her.
posted by windykites at 5:01 PM on July 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm going to put a poster of her up on my wall. She's as strong, as smart, and as brave as they come. And you know, on top of it all, she's right.
posted by Mister_A at 5:51 PM on July 12, 2013


Amazing person.

We call upon the world leaders that all the peace deals must protect women and children's rights. A deal that goes against the dignity of women and their rights is unacceptable.

You probably don't want to read Youtube comments under videos of Malala's speech.
posted by dumbland at 6:06 PM on July 12, 2013


Trans World Sport profiles the Afghanistan National Women's Soccer Team. You will cry and be inspired.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:30 PM on July 12, 2013


"We just want to lead normal lives. Doing what we want to do. Why shouldn't we?"
posted by Brocktoon at 7:32 PM on July 12, 2013


I taught in a Muslim girls' school in Mumbai for several months, where several very bright girls were shrouded and facing unwanted early marriages. The community in which I worked did not like the fact that I was talking to my students outside of the classroom. Ultimately we ended up staging an abridged version of A Midsummer Night's Dream for an audience of uncomprehending parents (largely because their first language was not English). Perhaps only one of the faculty members of the school really appreciated what we (she and I) were doing.

Whenever I hear about Malala I think about those kids. Their passion for learning was so intense it was almost unbearable. Hats off, Ms. Yousafzai.
posted by seemoreglass at 8:12 PM on July 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


And if anyone has any recommendations for where one might best donate funds leading to a pen or a book to those in need, please add them here.
posted by seemoreglass at 8:35 PM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah I second that. I tried to find out if a specfic organization is helping her in her ongoing endeavors and came up empty. I was hoping she had set up some type of official social media and I couldn't really pin anything down there either.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:58 PM on July 12, 2013


Brocktoon, the official Malala Fund is run by the Vital Voices Foundation. She has also worked closely, per press reports, with the Women in the World Foundation, which has its own Girls' Education Fund. Finally, the Girl Up initiative is sponsored by the UN Foundation. I am reasonably confident of the legitimacy of all three.
posted by dhartung at 12:20 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


The air ambulance that took her from Pakistan to England was provided by an Islamic country, the United Arab Emirates, which struck me as an interesting little detail.

I hope I'm not being supercilious, but I hope you realize that Malala has strong support across the Islamic world; it's the Taliban who are isolated. The Gulf States, who are strongly allied with the West on security issues, have given hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Afghanistan such as for building schools.

The UAE in particular is also one of the few Islamic countries to have sent troops to Afghanistan as part of ISAF, although their primary mission is humanitarian.
posted by dhartung at 12:39 AM on July 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


I heard this called 'One of the greatest speeches ever given to the UN', and I thought it was hyperbole until I heard it.

I think it's one of the greatest speeches in my lifetime.
posted by Mezentian at 3:45 AM on July 13, 2013


I got goosebumps...
posted by ipsative at 4:44 AM on July 13, 2013


I fear she is not long for this world. So courageous, so brave, so gracious.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:48 AM on July 13, 2013


Thanks dhartung!
posted by Brocktoon at 7:34 AM on July 13, 2013


Such an amazing speech, and such an amazing story. Her words are irrefutable.

I wish her a long and successful life, and not the least because it would frustrate and condemn the cowardly scum who tried to murder her.
posted by Gelatin at 8:05 AM on July 13, 2013


I fear she is not long for this world.

I want to anti-favourite this post.
So hard.

She's been shot in the head. I like to think the 'verse likes her and wants to use her as a fuck you to, well, pretty much all the haters.
posted by Mezentian at 8:57 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Usually the UN HQ is filled with useless windbag elites blabbing on about whatever. This was very refreshing.
posted by tarvuz at 11:02 AM on July 13, 2013


"Yeah I second that. I tried to find out if a specfic organization is helping her in her ongoing endeavors and came up empty"

The United Nations.
posted by tarvuz at 11:13 AM on July 13, 2013


I hope she has a long and happy life. She is already becoming the change we all would like to see in the world. Such bravery and grace.
posted by arcticseal at 11:38 AM on July 13, 2013


There must be something wrong with me. I look at Malala and I see, and hear, her (forceful and influential) father. I have opinions about pushy parents living their lives through their children and am compelled to apply those opinions to Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala's father, and (no doubt) speech writer.

Hero worship is the last thing Malala needs. I almost want to chant "Free Malala". Time will tell.

Meanwhile, paint me impressed when the UN similary indulges the more than worthy Humaira Bacha.
posted by de at 4:00 PM on July 13, 2013


de, here's what TIME had to say:
Still, the Yousafzais, says Qadri, were “ordinary people made extraordinary by this ridiculous situation” created by the Taliban paranoia about secularization. “This is no elitist Karachi family with cousins in London,” says Ellick. “They are lower-middle-class peasants. They are villagers. Their relatives all live within a short walk.”

It's clear her father has ambitions for his daughter, beyond what he could accomplish, and her "preternatural maturity" may indeed be the product of coaching, but it's also a common enough thing. We have the Kennedy family, the Bush family, and now apparently the Clinton family; Pakistan is even more built along clannish lines, with recent PM Zardari being the widower of former PM Benazir Bhutto being the daughter of former PM Zulifkar Ali Bhutto. The subcontinent in particular has a habit of grooming younger generations, even in far more democratic India with the Gandhi (i.e. Nehru) family.

In a way, her fate is less tied to her father's ambitions, though, than to the tug and pull of history, in which she has been swept up against her will. None of this would have happened if she hadn't been shot. That she has rejected victimization and turned her access into an opportunity for others is something we expect only of the best adults, and speaks well of her father even if this is his thinking influencing her actions.

Maybe, like too-young athletes or entertainers, she will retreat into privacy as she grows up, but I hope not.
posted by dhartung at 4:59 PM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure citing the Kennedys, Bhuttos and Nehru/Gandhis as a defense of grooming children to enter politics is very comforting in this context given how many of the groomed were assassinated.

It would indeed be depressing if Malala is more of a tool of her father than we are led to believe, especially as her message is one of female liberation. That would make her father a hypocrite or just incoherent.

But it's hard to separate a child's ambitions from that of her parents; I don't care who you are.
posted by seemoreglass at 5:45 PM on July 13, 2013


I was responding to the grooming, not the concern over assassination. I have my doubts that there is a direct association between the two.
posted by dhartung at 7:04 PM on July 13, 2013


The United Nations.

I'm not sure the UN is doing much beyond inviting her to speak at a Youth Assembly. I don't know much about the UN, but I kinda doubt they are financing her campaign.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:12 PM on July 16, 2013


The air ambulance that took her from Pakistan to England was provided by an Islamic country, the United Arab Emirates, which struck me as an interesting little detail.

According to a report from December 2012, there are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity. As such, Islamic countries are not a homogenous thing. For a quick overview, see The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society (April 30, 2013) from The Pew Forum. And for a slightly dated overview, here's Yahoo! Voices "Top 5 Most Liberal Muslim Countries" (July 2, 2008), which ranks UAE up with Jordan, Turkey, Kuwait and Bahrain.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:06 AM on July 17, 2013




I was just coming to post that, too, homunculus. It's being framed quite differently in the wire story on sfgate, though:
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A prominent Pakistani Taliban commander has written a letter to a teenage girl shot in the head by the group, expressing regrets that he didn't warn her before the assassination attempt that propelled her activism to the international stage.

The letter from Adnan Rasheed, however, didn't apologize for the October attack that left Malala Yousafzai gravely wounded. Rasheed, who has close relations with Taliban leaders, only said that he found the shooting "shocking" and wished it hadn't happened.
From the NYT link, the first two grafs:
A senior Taliban commander blamed Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the militant group last year, for provoking the attack by “smearing” the Islamists, according to a copy of his letter published on Wednesday by Britain’s Channel 4 News.

The four-page letter, addressing the 16-year-old education advocate in English, was signed by the militant Adnan Rashid, a former Pakistani Air Force officer who took part in an attempt to assassinate Gen. Pervez Musharraf a decade ago and escaped from prison last year, in the biggest jailbreak in Pakistani history.
posted by rtha at 10:37 AM on July 17, 2013


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