LAHORE: This is with reference to Syed Mohammed Ali’s article of July 26 titled, “Rethinking Malala’s UN visit”. The article seems more of the same, and is placing the heavy burden of delivering a perfect speech at the United Nations on the shoulders of a 16-year-old girl. The writer first praises Malala a little in his opening sentences and then goes on to criticise her, much like many others have. The fact of the matter is that Malala was there only to talk about education and to say that her speech “wasn’t broad enough” or was in too much praise for the UN is to miss the point.
She was speaking at the platform of the UN and this is meant to represent all nations (however flawed their policies or however ineffective they may be as an institution). Her responsibility or role is not to critique the policies of the UN and the states that make it up. Even our leaders don’t touch the ‘broader’ issues, yet, for some reason, everyone expects it of Malala.
Please stop focusing on the child; if you can’t be supportive of her cause, then leave her alone. She’s just a child trying to do whatever she can for a cause she believes in. If others are trying to use her for their own agendas, that’s not her fault.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.
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