The brave girl Malala
In 2014, a young girl of 17 years received one of the most coveted prizes of all: the Nobel Peace Prize. This is a prize that is given once a year in Oslo, Norway. It is given to people who have made a special contribution to peace. Malala got it together with the Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. She was not only the first Pakistani woman to receive this award, but also the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner. But why does such a young girl get such an important award? Who is this Malala anyway?
Malala fights for education
Malala is from the Swat Valley in northwestern Pakistan. If you look at the map, you can see that Afghanistan is not far from it. Malala is no ordinary Pakistani girl because her parents made sure that she could go to school and study at an early age. Her father was the director of a school and for him there was no question that girls should go to school just like boys. Malala learned quickly and at a very early age campaigned for other girls to go to school as well.
She reported about her life in a well-known internet blog that many people abroad could read. Here, however, she did not write under her real name, but under a pseudonym, i.e. an alias. But she became known as a blogger by her real name and therefore lived dangerously. Because in Pakistan and especially in the region where Malala lived, the Taliban have great influence. And they don’t want girls to go to school and learn something. Women should have no influence at all and should subordinate themselves to men. And Malala didn’t fit into this picture at all.
The attack on Malala
The Taliban tried to kill the young girl in an assassination attempt. But Malala survived the attempt, but was very seriously injured. Because her injuries could not be adequately treated in Pakistan, she was transferred to an English hospital where she could be better cared for. She had to undergo several operations.
Her family now also lives in England and Malala goes to school there. She advocates the rights of girls and women for education. She has made this her life’s work. At the age of 16, she wrote a book entitled “Ich bin Malala”, in which she describes in detail her life up to the attack.
Not everyone appreciates Malala – why?
While Malala is venerated almost like a saint in the West, things are different in her homeland, Pakistan. Many even hate them here and pity them. She is seen as a puppet of the West, polluting Islam and with it her country. That is very sad, but it shows how deep the rifts are between the West and a country like Pakistan. For more information about Pakistan and Asia, please visit constructmaterials.
Many Pakistanis see Malala as a traitor to their cause. Some even claim that the West planned the assassination attempt to turn Malala into a heroine. At the same time, she is accused of only wanting to earn money with her efforts. Pakistani private schools even proclaimed “I’m not Malala Day” as a protest against Malala.
Wishes and goals
We do not know how badly this affects Malala personally, as she dreams of one day being able to return to her homeland, which she has lost, and be politically active there. She wants to be perceived as a Pakistani woman and lives her Muslim faith. It is sad that she finds so little support in her own country, because she not only fights for girls’ rights to education, but also for understanding for a country that we often do not understand at all.
But not all women submit. There are women who demand a different, self-determined life for women. Who want education and a job for their daughters. There are also those in Pakistan – even if they are still in the minority. One such woman is Malala Yousafzai, who advocates the right to education for girls in Pakistan and around the world. You can read more about them here.
There are certainly businesswomen and politicians in Pakistan. When we talk about Pakistan, we also have to see this side of the country that had a prime minister in Benazir Bhutto – and that in a country where many girls and women cannot write and read. She campaigned for the rights of women and girls in Pakistan and was the first head of government of a Muslim state.
While there are modern, committed and well-paid women, influential women in Pakistan are still in the minority and make up only a very small part of society. Nevertheless, it is to be hoped that their share will grow and with it their influence on changes in society.