Nobel Peace Prize 2014 goes to an Indian and a Pakistani
October 10, 2014 3:05 AM   Subscribe

"Kailash Satyarthi, the child rights activist from India, and Malala Yousufzai, the activist for girls education in Pakistan, were announced as the joint winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday."
posted by vivekspace (63 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
India and Pakistan share a Nobel Peace prize.

I'm gonna hide all media references to this news because no matter how hard I try, I cannot bring myself to like her
posted by infini at 3:50 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]




I love the day the Peace Prize headline rises above the usual gloom and doom news, at least for a few hours. It's wonderful to wake up to a reminder that humans get something right once in a while.
posted by oulipian at 4:24 AM on October 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


no matter how hard I try, I cannot bring myself to like her

You cannot bring yourself to like who???
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:25 AM on October 10, 2014 [12 favorites]


Welp, one of them is a man.
posted by infini at 4:47 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


India and Pakistan share a Nobel Peace prize.

Well... Malala is a de facto refugee but no one really talks about it otherwise gender might become a valid reason to apply for a visa.
posted by Marauding Ennui at 4:51 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is fantastic.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:23 AM on October 10, 2014


I'm happy that Malala was awarded the prize. I just wish she hadn't had to go through such trauma.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:33 AM on October 10, 2014


As press releases go,

"Malala will make her first statement on winning the Nobel Peace Prize after school"

...is a pretty good one.
posted by Wordshore at 5:34 AM on October 10, 2014 [34 favorites]


“I would like to send my heartfelt greetings to the [Pakistani International Marxist Tendency] congress. I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.”

-Malala Yousufzai, March 2013
posted by Greg Nog at 5:45 AM on October 10, 2014 [12 favorites]


I guess socialism is a scary word in the USA, but I see nothing wrong with that quote, Greg Nog.
posted by Pendragon at 6:13 AM on October 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


She's 17. I know some people who were Mao-quoting communists when they were 17, at least one of them is now in Congress.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:13 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


If Malala can somehow forge a path for all of us to be free of exploitation, I'm all for that.
posted by hippybear at 6:23 AM on October 10, 2014


her socialism probably won't even be mentioned in most Western media outlets

but that's none of my business tho
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:31 AM on October 10, 2014


Yeah, the word socialism has a meaning in the US that it does not have elsewhere in the world. It means "fairness and equality" most places. Nothing radical.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:33 AM on October 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


But why would someone not like Malala?
posted by bgal81 at 6:37 AM on October 10, 2014


I see nothing wrong with that quote, Greg Nog.

Neither do I! I think it's fucking baller! It's refreshing to see young people looking for alternatives to both capitalism and theocracy!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:41 AM on October 10, 2014 [23 favorites]


Great news!!

It seems to me that quoting Malala's take on socialism is meant to be an explanation of why people don't like her? Or maybe I'm reading that incorrectly. I think it's supposed to be clear but I'm also from a place where socialism isn't a bad word. It's an idea that can be applied where practical.

Anyway, it's a surprise to be that people don't like Malala. I'd be interested in hearing more about why.
posted by beau jackson at 6:47 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that quoting Malala's take on socialism is meant to be an explanation of why people don't like her?

no i just thought it was keen
posted by Greg Nog at 6:49 AM on October 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


This is a great choice. (It's odd to me that "liking her" would even be the question when one thinks about Malala Yousufzai and what's she's been through & what she's doing.)

Does anyone know how the money from the Nobel prize actually gets paid out? It seems like asset ownership for a minor who is a Pakistani citizen but residing in the UK as a quasi-refugee might have some complicated legal issues.
posted by yarrow at 6:58 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Malala is the best news of the day
posted by Flood at 7:16 AM on October 10, 2014


No matter the context, when I hear (or read) Malala's name I start to tear up. Such an amazing person. I feel lucky to have her in our world, and there are few public figures I can say that about with absolutely no reservations.
posted by odayoday at 7:29 AM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


No matter the context, when I hear (or read) Malala's name I start to tear up.

I will neither confirm nor deny rumors that some dork in a Yaris at a stoplight was seen openly weeping when Steve Inskeep announced she'd been awarded the prize.

okay yeah i was definitely crying
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 7:38 AM on October 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm impressed by this award, for both recipients. Malala is obviously the more well known one, but for people who don't know anything about Kailash Stayarthi (this included me 10 minutes ago), here's an OpEd by him from September 2012: Getting ready for the new law against child labour.

(This was something he campaigned hard for - e.g., The Activist who made Child Rights Fashionable. As with anything that involves India, the numbers beggar belief. There are officially - officially - 5 million child workers in India. NGOs claim 50 million.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:44 AM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Perhaps Malala is, naively, looking for allies wherever she can find them - and they're certainly thin on the ground in Swat - but the International Marxist Tendency are not exactly unobjectionable fellow travellers. In the first place, they're Trotskyites, so their definition of "socialism" isn't the same as, say, William Morris's. In the second, their hero-worship of a mass-murderer and support of a human-rights violator is repugnant.

That said, she herself is an admirable and inspiring person and richly deserves the Prize. Here's hoping this timely Nobel gives her access to broader supporters and allies in the fight for the rights of all children to education.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:53 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I cannot bring myself to like her

Why not? (Not having a go, I've just honestly never come across any reason to dislike her.)

I must admit I twitched a bit at the IMT link. That's probably just because I grew up near Liverpool in the 1980s and have mixed feelings about Militant Tendency, though I do seem to remember some... weirdness a few years ago when all the IMT groups in Spain and South America split to form a new organisation (something to do with Hugo Chavez supporting Iran, I think?).

Anyway, they're just old-fashioned entrist Trots, but you'd think that'd be enough to poison her reputation completely in the US, what with the whole 'seize all the private businesses without compensation' thing. I'm honestly surprised Rush Limbaugh or, er, that mad bloke who cries all the time on his telly programme haven't gone after her yet.
posted by jack_mo at 8:02 AM on October 10, 2014


In the second, their hero-worship of a mass-murderer and support of a human-rights violator is repugnant.

Well, that's certainly a incredibly partisan way to refer to Leon Trotsky and Hugo Chavez.

I mean, I'm sure the IMT has its faults, and we could discuss how Trotsky and Chavez aren't angels, but come on.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:17 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


But why would someone not like Malala?

Some people don't like her because she refuses to stop talking about rights for women and girls. They don't like her so much that they tried to kill her for not shutting up the way they thought she should.

Other people don't like her in (I hope) a much more ordinary sense, but why anyone would bother saying so (and without even talking about why) is weird.

I think both choices for the prize are excellent ones.
posted by rtha at 8:24 AM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


[One comment deleted; let's not turn this into a debate over socialists and mass-murdering politicians through history. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:26 AM on October 10, 2014


I've just honestly never come across any reason to dislike her.

Reading her wikipedia page (this section), it seems like most of the criticism of her is not really criticism of her per se, but an unease at the West's promotion of her in the midst of their awful AfPak policy: "Drone strikes? What drone strikes? Look at how this girl defies evil people!"

So yeah, I don't see any reason to dislike her activism.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:36 AM on October 10, 2014


Yeah, because if it weren't for Malala, we'd totally be paying attention to the fine details of our foreign policy instead of whatever stupid thing the Palin family has done lately.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:39 AM on October 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Takes me right back to when I was 17 and they announced in front of my entire school that I'd won the Nobel Peace Prize. Talk about embarrassing! All just part of growing up, though.
posted by glhaynes at 8:47 AM on October 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


> no matter how hard I try, I cannot bring myself to like her

People with Yousufzai's level of courage (closely allied with determination) seem a bit above my likes and dislikes.
posted by jfuller at 8:49 AM on October 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


No disrespect to infini, but the fact that one Mefite doesn't happen to "like" this person hardly seems worth the intense interest and discussion that has ensued.
posted by yoink at 8:56 AM on October 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


Her appearance last year on The Daily Show was pretty remarkable.
posted by jbickers at 9:00 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Perhaps Malala is, naively, looking for allies wherever she can find them - and they're certainly thin on the ground in Swat - but the International Marxist Tendency are not exactly unobjectionable fellow travellers.

Or perhaps she's just a Trotskyist. I think suggesting she's naïve does her a disservice - it's not like she's some daft teen exploring politics for the first time.

Whatever, a hugely popular young socialist on the international stage seems like a very good thing indeed.

Reading her wikipedia page (this section), it seems like most of the criticism of her is not really criticism of her per se, but an unease at the West's promotion of her in the midst of their awful AfPak policy: "Drone strikes? What drone strikes? Look at how this girl defies evil people!"

Aaaand now I'm remembering an extremely infuriating conversation with a friend who insists Malala is some sort of imperialist-colonialist stooge. Said friend is very definitely a Trotskyist, funnily enough.
posted by jack_mo at 9:01 AM on October 10, 2014


Malala is one of my personal heroines, and I could not be happier that her bravery and selflessness have been recognized via such a major distinction.
posted by Aubergine at 9:01 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


No disrespect to infini, but the fact that one Mefite doesn't happen to "like" this person hardly seems worth the intense interest and discussion that has ensued.

Well that's what happens when the first comment in a thread about someone famous for doing amazing things is "I don't like her".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:02 AM on October 10, 2014


Well that's what happens when the first comment in a thread about someone famous for doing amazing things is "I don't like her".

"That's what happens" only if we choose to make that happen. And that's my last word on that subject.
posted by yoink at 9:04 AM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


bgal81: But why would someone not like Malala?

I wouldn't say dislike, but more of a cynicism. In this age of mass media saturation, it's almost impossible to discern propaganda from news. The heavy handed message of "those Taliban animals shot a girl in the face for daring to go to school" serves nicely to boost public support of the sustained military campaign in the region. Inflating or inventing such a thing isn't outside the realm of possibility as the whole "Iraqi troops tossing babies from incubators" fiasco from Gulf War I demonstrates.

That said, she seems to be the real deal and is extremely deserving of the honor.
posted by dr_dank at 9:24 AM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


The heavy handed message of "those Taliban animals shot a girl in the face for daring to go to school" serves nicely to boost public support of the sustained military campaign

Yeah, God knows that the Taliban are usually such sweetie-pies and are generally known to be strong supporters of women's education.
posted by yoink at 9:35 AM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think that discussing why people may or may not like her is perfectly relevant, given the reason she's risen to such prominence that she has a Nobel at the age of 17.

Propaganda in service of drone strikes is bad, but the existence of propaganda doesn't make the Taliban and its aims and actions acceptable. They have done far more and far worse than just shoot one girl in the head in an attempt to shut her up. Trying to bomb them out of existence, though, is not really a thing that's likely to work, if history is any guide. The tactics and strategy she employs are (we hope) more likely to succeed in the long run.
posted by rtha at 9:46 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


But why would someone not like Malala?

This sheds some light:

The antagonism towards Malala in Pakistan

"On social media congratulatory messages were followed closely by scornful and sarcastic ones.

It did not even make the grade for Pakistani TV's typically hysterical breaking news marathons. Many Pakistanis would not even have known she was up for the award.

Indeed, Tariq Khattack, editor of the Pakistan Observer newspaper, actually condemned it, telling the BBC: "It's a political decision and a conspiracy."

"She is a normal, useless type of a girl. Nothing in her is special at all. She's selling what the West will buy."
"

"While many in Pakistan have praised her for her desire for education and her courage to make a stand for it, many others view her as a stooge of the west, as someone the Americans have set up to become a role model and misguide Pakistani Muslims."

"So the mixed reaction that Malala has attracted can be partly explained in terms of her political heritage in a society where religion - and an enduring perception of the West as the enemy of Islam - has come to dominate public discourse."

By no means am I suggesting any of those reasons are what animates our respected mefite infini, just some insight as to how she's perceived in Pakistan.
posted by VikingSword at 9:54 AM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]




Propaganda in service of drone strikes is bad

Obviously, but you can't blame Malala for other people using her for that purpose. She herself is a vocal anti-drone campaigner - when she met with Obama last year, she told him to his face that his drone strikes have to stop because they only serve to encourage terrorism.
posted by jack_mo at 9:59 AM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Obviously, but you can't blame Malala for other people using her for that purpose.

Agreed, and to clarify, not something I was attempting to imply.
posted by rtha at 10:08 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oop, sorry rtha, I realise that - in my head I was responding to dr_dank's earlier comment and am not entirely sure why my fingers grabbed the quote from you!
posted by jack_mo at 10:19 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not taking anything away from Malala - she is clearly an extremely courageous, smart and determined girl. But I cannot help noticing this (from the link I provided earlier):

"Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who has been her guide and mentor, is associated with ANP, a political party that links up with the Red Shirt movement. This is a secular force of Pashtun nationalists that was allied to Mahatma Gandhi's All India Congress and opposed the Indian partition."

She grew up in a family that understood secular values. Her father has been her "guide and mentor". In this context, her determination to continue her education, and to oppose religious obscurantism and the illegal efforts to prevent girls from furthering their education - well, it didn't arise in a vacuum. It didn't just jump into the head of a pre-teen girl out of nowhere.

What of the millions and millions of girls not so lucky to have grown up in such a family? Girls who grow up in poisonously religious families, whose fathers (and mothers and uncles and brothers etc.) rigidly enforce extremely narrow and oppressive roles, girls who are controlled with absolute ruthlessness, who have no role models anywhere, whose entire existence is submerged in an unrelenting orthodoxy? Girls who are given away as brides at ages that are simply unconscionable. Girls who have no chance at any kind of education or indeed an independent life on however small a scale. There are millions upon millions of such girls in Pakistan, in surrounding countries such as Afghanistan where the Taliban is just one enforcer of mores that go back a lot further and are rooted a lot deeper, and indeed all over the world.

Those girls don't even have a chance to become a Malala. They have no supportive home environment or supportive environment at all, merely lucky not to have been victims of female infanticide.

Malala at least had a chance. She - to her everlasting credit - took that opportunity and made the most of it. She is truly brave - no ifs, buts or maybes, no qualifications of any kind. She deserves every accolade she's getting, and I too join in the chorus.

But I also refuse to forget those others, far less fortunate than even her. I mourn their lost potential, and I mourn the fact, that they, through no fault of their own, don't even have a fighting - fighting however bravely - chance.
posted by VikingSword at 10:28 AM on October 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't know when I will become strong enough to not choke up when I see her name in print or start tearing up when she talks.

Scratch that. I never wanna be that 'strong'. I am a grown man who is moved by a teenager so special she transcends everyone's distrust of the nation and religion she is from.
posted by savitarka at 10:44 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Actually, the "holy shit there are people who don't like Malala" just reminded me of the last line to the song "Nothing to Prove" by the Doubleclicks, which is also kind of thematic when it comes to the whole idea of whether women "belong" in the same intellectual circles as men, so I've been playing that for Malala for the past 20 minutes.

"Haters are gonna hate....."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:06 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Those girls don't even have a chance to become a Malala. They have no supportive home environment or supportive environment at all, merely lucky not to have been victims of female infanticide.

Part of what impresses and moves me so much about her is how she is fighting to give those girls that chance. That's what education can do for them. She is taking the privileges and advantages afforded to her by her upbringing and her father's support, and she is working to make sure that other girls can have a chance at them too. And she is doing so at tremendous personal risk. I can scarcely comprehend such bravery and dedication.

I can understand why many in Pakistan and the rest of the Middle East are cynical about her, but I can only hope that she won't let it get her down or hinder her. For all her youth, Malala is in a position to get shit done. I look forward to what she will do when she's older.
posted by yasaman at 11:07 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


What of the millions and millions of girls not so lucky to have grown up in such a family? Girls who grow up in poisonously religious families, whose fathers (and mothers and uncles and brothers etc.) rigidly enforce extremely narrow and oppressive roles, girls who are controlled with absolute ruthlessness, who have no role models anywhere, whose entire existence is submerged in an unrelenting orthodoxy?

Yeah, why doesn't Malala start an organization to advocate for those girls getting their educa - oh wait that's exactly what she won the Nobel Peace Prize for doing in the first god-damn place
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:08 AM on October 10, 2014 [26 favorites]


She grew up in a family that understood secular values. Her father has been her "guide and mentor". In this context, her determination to continue her education, and to oppose religious obscurantism and the illegal efforts to prevent girls from furthering their education - well, it didn't arise in a vacuum. It didn't just jump into the head of a pre-teen girl out of nowhere.

You know, Rosa Parks was active in the Civil Rights Movement as early as the 1940s. Does that somehow taint her refusal to give up her seat?
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:10 AM on October 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


her determination to continue her education, and to oppose religious obscurantism and the illegal efforts to prevent girls from furthering their education - well, it didn't arise in a vacuum. It didn't just jump into the head of a pre-teen girl out of nowhere.

True. And her determination caused her to be so outspoken that the Taliban decided to have a bullet also not jump just out of nowhere into her face, which she somehow survived, and her determination remained untouched.

Nobody emerges from the shadows with no background to become a champion of any marginalized group. Except maybe Zorro, but even he's been given a backstory.

Malala's backstory is one that proves that parentage has a profound influence on children, and that those children can grow up to be profound people if given the chance. She wasn't required to be the person and personality that she is, she made that choice for herself starting quite young and carrying forward to this day.
posted by hippybear at 11:18 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Holy shit is there anything you people don't argue about

Malala Yousufzai does good work, but the way the media report her story, and the way Western governments use aspects of her story, can be pretty bad - which is no fault of Yousufzai's, it's true, but the situation isn't unequivocally good. There are absolutely points to be argued here.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:24 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


[A few comments deleted. Please don't make this about other members' views on US intervention in Syria, and as usual, metacommentary doesn't belong on the blue.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:14 PM on October 10, 2014


She is so young, and has such a sweetness and innocence about her -- although she isn't innocent of the horrors of the world, of course. Just her youthful idealism and determination in the face of everything she's already been through -- it provokes in me a strong desire to GIVE HER A HUGE MOM-HUG.

Not because she needs protecting. Just because she is young, and great, and all the most wonderful expressions of teenaged energy, and, I don't know, I just wanna hug her the way you want to hug your own kids when you are amazed such an accomplished little person could possibly have spring forth from your flawed DNA and parenting.

I am unexpectedly moved.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:52 PM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


LoC Nobel: India, Pakistan celebrate, but really we should be ashamed

On a day when one India-born Satya (Nadella of Microsoft) covered himself with ignominy and Twitter-shame for his comments about women in tech, another Satyarthi has redeemed our national honour. [...] But even as we puff up with pride we have to admit that this award is rather embarrassing on both sides of the border albeit for different reasons. It’s a bit of a rude shock for most Indians to realise they know way more about the Pakistani Nobel winner than they do about their own home-grown one.

... Indians can console themselves, as they often do, by looking across the border and saying the Pakistanis have it worse. We can be embarrassed about not knowing our Nobel laureate but at least we didn’t drive our Nobel laureate out of the country to Birmingham.

posted by RedOrGreen at 2:25 PM on October 10, 2014


I'm a thirty-something dad and I basically tear up at the mere mention of her name. I've read nothing about her that makes me in any way think that she is a mouthpiece or stooge for western governments. And I don't think there's a stance she could take now or in the future that would in any way reduce the good she has already done.
posted by Brodiggitty at 2:53 PM on October 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Kunwar Khuldune Shahid: “Why I HATE Malala Yousafzai”
posted by Wordshore at 3:12 AM on October 12, 2014




I admire her, but I'm not sure that the award such a great thing for someone that young.
posted by tavella at 1:03 PM on October 12, 2014




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