by Niala Mohammad
At the age of 12, Malala Yusafzai began blogging for the BBC under a pseudonym describing her life under Taliban occupation in Swat valley. Her voice reached the masses, her face was on television and her story became known to the predators she criticized. On October 9th 2012, a gunman boarded Malala’s school van in Swat, pinpointed her and aimed a Colt 45 straight at her face and fired three shots.
Malala miraculously survived and instead of silencing her, the Taliban inadvertently empowered her. Her story of survival and her mission to educate children around the world has gained both propriety and criticism.
While the majority of the west looks to her as a hero, some among her own people have sadly painted her a villain and an agent of the “CIA” that is perhaps more deserving of becoming an “Oscar Winner” than a Nobel Prize winner. These differences in opinions show the stark divide in mindsets amidst the population in Pakistan.
Social Media has been trending #MalalaYusafzai and #MalalaWinsNobel non-stop all day. Everyone from film stars to politicians have been praising Malala with words of encouragement and support.
United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon stated, “Malala is a daughter of the United Nations…The United Nations will continue to stand with her against extremism and for the right of girls everywhere to be free of violence, to go to school and to enjoy their right to education.”
However, many torn by conspiracy theories in her native Pakistan have made comments on social media such as, “Malala is just an international drama”, “international conspiracy…from bullet to trophy”, and “she [Malala] will probably end up with an Oscar as well [as a Nobel Peace Prize]”.
Malala Yusafzai is not an anomaly; she is representative of all the girls in the region and around the world who suffer at the hands of extremism. Regardless of anyone’s opinion, one thing is for certain-and that is that she has highlighted the importance of girl’s education in the fight against terrorism.