Fix Perspective Terrorism

Pakistan Prays For Malala, Against Taliban

 

By Arooj Khalid
Reporter
LAHORE, Pakistan – Across the length and breadth of Pakistan at
noon today, people prayed, whether they were at home, school, an office, a
mosque or wherever they happened to be.
All of them prayed for the same thing: the recovery of
14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who is lying unconscious in a military hospital after
a Taliban gunman shot her three days ago on the way home from school.
Thinking of Gul Makai, the pen name that Malala used, gives
me goose bumps. My heart mourns. What else can I do? I feel depressed and
frustrated that women who stand up for change, who decide to face whatever may
come, can suffer such a cruel assault.
What was Malala’s crime? That she wanted to study? That she
spoke the truth? I don’t understand.
On one side are the vicious Taliban, loaded with heavy
weapons, and on the other, there is the innocent Malala, who only has a pen and
some pieces of paper.
The Pakistani nation has always stood against the Taliban in
one way or another, but I have never seen such general outrage against its
activities. I hope that it will lead to a good ending.
In the long run, Malala and her passion for education will
win, not the fanatics and their disgusting agenda.
Malala Yousafzai Facebook photo

 

Malala Yousafzai in undated photo


When I was very young, I visited the Swat Valley, where
Malala lives. I have faint memories of a peaceful, beautiful valley.
Then the Taliban came, setting up military operations there,
bringing hard times for many, including Malala, who couldn’t go to school
freely.
Thousands of other girls in northwestern Pakistan continue to
seek an education and remain united in their commitment to keep studying and
never stop.  We must support all of them.
Yet when I read parts from Malala’s diary, I am filled with
shame because I don’t think that any of us would have been so brave if we were
in her place. I can’t imagine how she found the courage to sneak to school in
her pink dress, slipping past the Taliban soldiers so she could pursue her
studies. Because of her commitment to education, her passions, ideas and words
matter.
And yet she is only one girl.
What about those numerous innocent Pakistanis who die every
day in bomb blasts, targeted strikes and drone attacks?
In a drone attack yesterday, 18 children died. Didn’t they
have the right to live, too? Don’t their lives have any value? Don’t they, too,
have passions and dreams?
Of course, Malala was a brilliant student who wanted to
promote education, but isn’t that what every student in the whole of Pakistan
wants? Aren’t each of them important? Why are so many killed for no reason?
Who is going to answer these questions? Who is going to care
for them?
The Taliban’s reasoning for shooting Malala is totally
baseless. Westernism? Admiration for U.S. President Barack Obama? The desire to
learn?
The gunman who shot her supposedly said Malala was “propagating
against the soldiers of Allah. She must be punished.”
But Malala was merely promoting education, which is an
important part of Islam. A well-known hadith says that getting an education is
mandatory for every Muslim man and woman.” So how can they think that they are
soldiers of Allah?
The Taliban does nothing to promote the rules of Islam. They
have, in fact, always been against its tenets.
Malala did exactly what Islam calls on her to do by stressing
the importance of education. How can the Taliban argue that education is a
Western influence? It is not.
Moreover, even if she was promoting Westernism, so what? It’s
not a crime and deserves no punishment.
Pakistan itself was only formed because its founders valued
education. They were purely Eastern and fully educated, too. Without their formal
schooling, Pakistan would never have gained its independence.
Besides, I don’t think there is anything to be scared of if
the West mixes with East and vice versa. The world is now a “global village”
and people, cultures and customs are coming closer to each other.
What harm can sharing one’s culture do? There should be no
restriction to adopting something better, no matter where it comes from.
And if Malala admired Obama, why shouldn’t she have the
right? He is a noted leader with good qualities. There is nothing wrong with
admiring him.
Besides, everyone has an opinion and in Pakistan, everyone
has a fundamental right to freedom of expression.
I cannot understand why Malala and so many others should be
treated so badly.
The whole world is with Malala now and I don’t think the
cruel men who shot her will escape the consequences of their actions.
Meantime, we must pray for Malala. We must stand united. And
we must make her dreams come true.



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