Saturday, 11 October 2014

So Malala Yousafsi

has been awarded, along with Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Prize. I am both pleased and saddened by this.
I am pleased that her focus on the right to all girls and women to an education is being recognised as important.
I am saddened that it took one girl blogging from a village in Pakistan and then shot by the Taliban for this to happen.
There is nothing "lucky" about Malala's Nobel Prize. It is just going to make her life even more difficult.
She had, after hearing the news, the profound good sense to continue with her school day as normally as possible in those circumstances. I think I admire her even more for that. It must have been difficult.
From now on however she is going to have to live with the consequences of being the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Wherever she goes she will be tagged by that. She will be expected to use it as an influence for good for the rest of her life.
And, how long will the rest of her life be?
Yes, that's a reasonable question. I do not doubt for a minute that there will be Taliban and others who will wish to see her and her family dead. She is not safe. She has not been safe from the moment she started to write about her life and education in a village in Pakistan. She is even less safe now though than she was before.
Earlier this week my father and I watched a documentary programme on our multi-cultural broadcasting service SBS. It was about women in a Yemeni village who have, through the aid organisation CARE, been given the opportunity to run a water supply and an electricity supply for the village. There were problems, major problems. Put simply, the men did not like it. They have always had complete control. Women cannot do anything outside the home without the permission of their father or their husband in that remote, mediaeval place. Electricity would make a major difference to their lives, almost as big a difference as a good water supply. The men were prepared to deny everyone that simply in order to retain the power they have had for centuries. To say that my father was appalled and angered by this would be an understatement. As a teacher and school principal he spent his working life trying to ensure that everyone had an equal chance to learn. 
I want to see a "Malala Movement". I want to see girls and women everywhere standing up and saying, "We have a right to an education and not just a right but, at very least, an equal right."
I am afraid that there are people who will try to silence Malala. That cannot be allowed to happen.
Malala, you have my utmost support.


jeanfromcornwall said...

That was a truly good piece of news, but, like you, I fear for her.
To call the Yemeni men's attitude mediaeval is not that accurate - I just read a quote in a book, "Period Piece: Gwen Raverat" where a Victorian architect was quoted as saying one should have the coal storage as far as possible from the kitchen to encourage economy.
My Mother's kitchen was terribly inconvenient, and worn out, but I several times heard my Father say that he had thought about having it done, but that "She doesn't want the upheaval" It was the first thing she had done when she got her hands on the purse-strings!

catdownunder said...

oh yes, some of those Victorian men were horrors but the Yemeni men do not allow the women to go out unaccompanied, do not allow them to go to school and expect them to wear the burqa. I think the Victorians were a little more reasonable.