Malala Yousafzai: a leader in the making

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The world was shocked last year when Pakistani teenager and education campaigner Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban, apparently furious with her for campaigning for education for girls.

I was away from the UK when Malala made her recent remarkable speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, on her sixteenth birthday, so I have had time to reflect on it.  It was a tour de force.  It was confident, authoritative, even magisterial — in fact almost intimidating in one so young.  Leave aside the ethnic differences and the delightful South Asian lilt in the voice, and this could have been a young Margaret Thatcher.  The self-confidence, the determination, the certainty, the commitment.  If there is any justice in the world, we were looking at a future Prime Minister of Pakistan (although you may think that tangling with the Pakistani Taliban as Prime Minister is not a whole lot preferable to tangling with them as an education campaigner).

Then, an amazing twist in the plot.  A certain Adnan Rasheed, a commander in the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, in an apparent attempt to limit the reputational damage to his organisation, wrote to Malala. Not to apologise, but at least to express his shock at her shooting.  And to explain that it was done not because of her campaign on education, but because of her criticism of the Taliban.  So that’s alright then?  It is appalling that this man apparently believes that this would justify his colleagues in shooting a defenceless teenage girl.  Clearly the Pakistani Taliban needs lessons in freedom and democracy, in public debate and diversity of opinion.  And in freedom of speech.

It is also, of course, a blatant lie.  The Taliban has repeatedly bombed and burned schools, and shot and killed teachers and pupils, purely because it objects to the education of girls.  To try to pretend now that it does not seek to kill people for advocating such education is not only cynical, but patently false.  They can bring themselves to lie, but they cannot bring themselves to apologise.

Adnan Rasheed also invited Malala to return to Pakistan.  I hope she will do so, but not under the auspices of Mr. Rasheed.

No one can be in any doubt about the unmitigated evil of the Taliban.  What sort of God to these people worship, that they seek to honour him with bombs and bullets, murder and mayhem?

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5 Responses to Malala Yousafzai: a leader in the making

  1. The god of Moses, is, I think, the claim?

  2. PJ says:

    Very well said Roger. The same applies to all these muslim fanatics-ask Lee Rigby’s family or the families of others murdered here in the UK that are kept out of the press-for obvious reasons. Why some,people feel that these people can be Wwesternised” is totally beyond me for thees people only have one way of doing things…….. “my way or death to all infidels” !

    • B Hough says:

      If for killing infidels god gives them all those virgins, do they not fear what he will have in store for them when they kill fellow muslims?

  3. George Morley says:

    It beggars belief that anyone can do this in the name of religion. and it is up to the muslims to deal with it. The courts should make examples of all of these taliban supporters and hate clerics in the UK by deporting not just the individuals but all of their families as well. If they want Sharia law then send them where it is practised. This would be giving them their ideal home. I have no doubt that the family members are aware of them and they would have to deal with any who threatened their lifestyle. Extreme – maybe a bit. Effective – I think so. And tell the human rights lot that we are protecting our human rights.

    • Good point George. Certainly the “right to a family life” is often cited as a reason to allow foreign wrong-doers to remain in the UK. I’ve never understood why we don’t invite them to exercise that right in their own country, rather than in ours.

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