Comment: The earth bleeds for Malala

Published: October 10, 2012
Malala was the voice which made us consider that indeed there can be resistance to all forms of tyranny. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Malala was the voice which made us consider that indeed there can be resistance to all forms of tyranny. PHOTO: PUBLICITY


I hold in my hands the soft pashmina shawl which she had draped around my shoulders on a cold February day in Swat, while smiling at me with an assurance only the brave can exude. A young girl with startling brown eyes and a voice which banished any sense of despair that had wrapped itself around the shattered landscape of a paradise almost lost, Malala Yousafzai stood confidently, and spoke clearly and calmly of the need to move towards the path of progress where all citizens were afforded the opportunity of education.

Indeed, Malala had been willing to pay a heavy price for her struggle to ensure that the education of girls in Swat did not suffer despite the violence inflicted upon the people of Swat – their schools blown up, men and women publicly executed, businesses  destroyed, homes demolished – a valley torn asunder by hatred and extreme myopia.

Malala was the lone voice in that wilderness; hers was the voice which made us consider that indeed, there can be alternatives, and there can be resistance to all forms of tyranny.

Today, the attempt to silence that voice shall only make her stronger; the blood stains on her school uniform shall only feed the conviction that as long as there is breath and life, there shall be struggle.

An adolescent girl, veiled in white, her feet shod in the standard issue black pumps of public schools, Malala rose to heights few of us can aspire to.

Her diary, published on the BBC Urdu service website, testifies to the fact that all is not lost, that there are still amongst us those who can stare the enemy in the eye and resist the brute force with which all things rational and sane have been threatened.

In March, a month after meeting Malala, I was expecting her to receive special recognition for her courage, at a large gathering of men and women from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas – young people whose lives have also been torn apart by militancy.

Malala failed to turn up. Her father, a schoolteacher and her mentor, explained to me that she had received threats from extremists and it was advised that Malala should not attend a public assembly where she and others gathering there could become targets for the enemies of this state and its people.

At that point I did not think that the threat would involve a cowardly attack on a bus full of school girls.

But how else do these forces of hatred operate? They stalk the ones who dare; they silence their words; they cripple every limb, paralysing the life force which struggles to breathe in an increasingly fractured, injured environment.

Who are these men who hate the idea of progress, the thought of education and emancipation for women, so much; the ones who have crept into the vacuum created by an unresponsive, irresponsible, predator state; the ones who have slid through the cracks in our sense of self and created a monster sired by ignorance and obscurantism?

They are among us, just like Malala whose blood soaks the broken earth of our beloved, blighted homeland.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Shabi
    Oct 10, 2012 - 4:00AM

    Allah bless you with health Ameen.


  • Douglas Gray
    Oct 10, 2012 - 4:17AM

    It would be a great statement for women’s rights and a setback for the Taliban if this brave young lady were to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She really deserves it for her courage to stand up in such a dangerous place.


  • sabi
    Oct 10, 2012 - 4:41AM

    Where reside the ghairat of million men army, politcle janta,civil society.judiciary keep on your rhetoric of Bin Qasim, how he saved a young muslim girl from ‘infidls’.Why dont you come forward and repeat the history.Is there anyone who can take the lead and save this country from blackmailers.


  • A2Z
    Oct 10, 2012 - 4:55AM

    May Allah protect her and keep her safe.


  • Oct 10, 2012 - 8:06AM

    She is the hero that Pakistan needed.

    But its the Taliban extremists and their apologist cowards it deserves.


  • sajida
    Oct 10, 2012 - 9:59AM

    i sometimes wonder,why,it is always a female in a mans world who has to stand up and fight and leave an imprint of her brave struggle against these cowards who call themselves men.From Benazir to Malala, to all those, who dare to differ,i salute and say thankyou.


  • Naveed
    Oct 10, 2012 - 11:07AM

    What can we do. Only Dua’a. May Allah Almighty save her, cure her and give her health & happiness. We the general public are unsafe. The life, property and dignity of every citizen is at stake. Only those are safe who have armed guards.Talking about Muhammad Bin Qasim is easy but have you that much Imaan, Khilafat, wisdom and ability. May Almighty Allah save our country from blackmailers, traitors and corrupt.


  • Oct 10, 2012 - 11:57AM

    @ sabi…….We are living in time of hypocrites…….Ghariat brigade is deep in sleep, just mouthing condemnation and doing nothing, for the sake of reconciliation and saving democracy..This is a price we have to pay…at least we have a hand-full of teenagers whose voice puts shivers down the barbarians who weld arms, they are afraid of people like MalalaRecommend

  • Darth Vader
    Oct 10, 2012 - 12:03PM

    @A2Z:- Allah helps those who help themselves…

    On a separate note, the subject of this topic is fine …the earth bleeds, the sky bleeds, the wind bleeds etc etc..what fails me is the Demonic Taliban beasts don’t bleed…Its high time we should make them bleed… or in not so distant future, you will only see your children bleeding… Rise up and fight…there is till time…Recommend

  • Amer
    Oct 10, 2012 - 12:19PM

    She is the daughter of this nation, she stood up to the Taliban thugs in times of war when she was only 11 years old! She went to school when Taliban were destroying schools (more then 800 destroyed in KPK). She is brave face of this nation that has been plagued by war for the last 12 years and will continue to fight against the scum of the TTP. She is the future of Pakistan, she is our child and our daugther. We need to pray for her health and life.

    I remmember how the Swat operation started and the video that was the trigger. I hope this attack on our children by the TTP wakes the mighty Army of Pakistan and they smoke these thugs out of their holes. I hope sense prevails and our children can go back to school.
    May Allah bless you Malala and give you a speedy recovery. Ameen.


  • Babar
    Oct 10, 2012 - 1:38PM

    This incident will prove to be a turning point against the militants… the tiny support that some people in KPK (especially in Swat valley) had for the TTP will go away!

    The people of Swat valley stopped supporting these sick people when they attacked innocent people at a funeral prayer at Haji Baba in February 2008 and now this coward attack is going to create further hate for the TTP in the minds of people of Swat and Pakistan.


  • Maheen
    Oct 10, 2012 - 5:34PM

    Proud of the little girl who with almost no resources decided to take such a step, and here we are educated and blessed with every opportunity and yet we dare not say a word or take a step to protect our country because we fear! MALALA BRAVE INDEED!


  • 1984
    Oct 10, 2012 - 7:09PM

    Modern education to Talibanis are like kryptonite to Superman…..


  • Saad Ali Shah
    Oct 10, 2012 - 8:49PM

    I am really sad to hear about the incident. Malala was the voice of young girls, not only in Swat, but for the whole nation. Islam teaches us love, sympathy forgiveness, not to killing some one. I think those who are involved in this cowards action are not Muslim. Why they are killing innocent people like Malala. What she did wrong? Dear sister, the whole nation stand with u, they are prying for ur better health and early recovery. Oh, God help Malala and give her good health and save her from the enemy of Islam.


  • i-umaid
    Oct 10, 2012 - 8:52PM

    We are proud of you Malala, Get will soon inshallah


  • Oct 10, 2012 - 10:49PM

    it is very good news to listen recovery from operation i pray to god her life is going smoothly


  • sensible
    Oct 11, 2012 - 12:56AM

    i believe this is the beginning of end, of all the terrorist groups, now its the time that whole nation stood up against them, back the army to crush these COWARDS, if we don’t then wait for the time when our future generations will be living under the rule of these barbarians! Malala we know how brave you are, we know you will be back soon inshallah, we know you have courage to clinch life from jaws of death!


  • abid
    Oct 11, 2012 - 1:57AM

    They are among us, just like Malala whose blood soaks the broken earth of our beloved, blighted homeland. give me a break here. lots of other things happent which is more sad than this. the media has create a hype over this. lets focus on other things too. i pray for her quick recovery.


  • Fayaz
    Oct 11, 2012 - 4:00AM

    The madrassas who produce these talibans should be closed instead.


  • Ali
    Oct 11, 2012 - 5:56PM

    As a resident of a fool nation, I pray for healthy life of sweet kid Malala. What we Need is “Just an understanding… “who is using name of Taliban for their malicious campaign??”. Putting every(fake)responsibility every time on Taliban name. Please Do’t exclude culprit & corrupt Government of Pakistan and agencies who provide Hot & cash earning material for Electronic media to divert public minds from actual issues. In short time of 12 hrs, Taliban accept responsibility of every sin every time including bomb blasts, GHQ attack, attacks on Air bases??? Things are more complex than what we perceive them.


  • Ali
    Oct 11, 2012 - 6:33PM

    As a resident of a foolish nation, I pray for the great health of Sweet kid “Malala Yousafzai”. What we need to understand is that who is using name of Taliban for their malicious campaign?? I am very much against Taliban (American made gangsters) but Why we always put fake responsibility of every sin, every time on Taliban in mean time of 10-12 hrs. Remember we can’t exclude corrupt and culprit Govt. Of Pakistan which is full of conspiracies. Agenda is what so ever, Media is getting hot stuff for their earning, Media is crying badly(using its Anchors) to divert public minds away from actual solutions. Things are much more complex than what we perceive them. Now we must wake up, otherwise there would be no more Pakistan on Earth’s crust. Recommend

  • Douglas Gray
    Oct 12, 2012 - 2:01AM

    It is interesting to contrast the world wide response to this incident with the recent report by the Stanford & NY Law schools stating that:

    One, the U.S. drone campaign against terrorists in Pakistan has killed about 180 children
    Two, it has killed or injured hundreds of other innocent people
    Three, it is terrorising an entire section of the Country
    Four, it has only killed about 50 high ranking terrorist, leaving the ratio of high level terrorists killed to innocent children killed at about 3:1
    Five, it makes the majority of Pakistanis feel that the U.S. is their enemy, and thus plays into the hands of the terrorists.

    This is not my opinion, but that of the group that made a deep study of the subject


  • Gauhar Siraj
    Oct 17, 2012 - 3:47PM

    I only wish that more of the children badly injured in the war, including the hundreds of children younger than Malala injured in US drone strikes, received the same level of care and treatment. They don’t. They are left to struggle on and, frequently, die…because the truth is that Malala is not getting this treatment because that is what is done for children shot or blown up in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Plainly that is not the case. She is getting this treatment because she became, and remains, an exploited propaganda symbol. If the US and UK really cared about her as a child , they would give the same level of medical care and publicity to the many, many children injured by the drone attacks of the ‘Allies’. But “those” are not to be shown.


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