TUESDAY OCTOBER 9,
“Dear Diary, Its a bright Mingora morning here in Swat Valley; I just had my breakfast and now heading towards school. Last night I saw a strange dream. There was this lamp in middle of a dark jungle. Some people were trying to put it off because it seemed different and brighter, but every time they did, little fractions of flame lit up again, in different colors, lights and styles. I smiled on their nuisance, they couldn’t understand, ‘lights cannot be put off so easily”
As I read this excerpt from Malala’s Diary my eyes are wet with tears. This depicts how she was filled with optimism and hope, how her bright eyes shone with pride when she talked about her city Swat, when she talked about her father and when she talked about herself; being the first Pakhtoon girl from Pakistan to be nominated for an award.
Malala Yousafzai was a 14 year old child who wanted to study, to become a doctor one day and help humanity. I don’t know if she will be able to fulfill her dream now. Her Father; a renowned activist in Swat operated a Girl’s school. As he said in an interview “I fell in love with Malala the moment I set eyes on her as a new born” His eagerness to work for the education of little girls probably dates back to that day when he wanted his daughter to study and go ahead in life. He knew Malala was no ordinary child since the very beginning.
Malala came to public attention in 2009 by writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under Taliban militants who had taken control of the valley. At that time she was just a little child of 11 years old and a time when she should have been talking about dolls, about colors and all the other childhood joys; she wrote about guns, about artillery, about fears, about death. As I read through her diary I couldn’t help shed tears when I scrolled though her descriptions of the Taliban, how hundreds of girl’s schools were burnt down, closed. I was sad at the fact that the girls couldn’t afford to wear school uniforms and instead wore plain clothes to school because otherwise the Taliban would be after their lives. And this is what happened…finally a Taliban succeeded in aiming a shot at little Malala.
I was compelled to think that is this still the 21st century? What disappointed me even more was that how were we all so naïve to this all? When I scroll through her diary I see how free access the Taliban had to FM at that time, how they were authorized to freely lurk and kill who so ever they didn’t see up to their mark?. How they so conveniently destroyed hundreds of girl’s schools in Swat; a city which was once one of the most beautiful expectacular reservoirs of natural beauty in Pakistan; a place where tourists from all over Pakistan and the globe came to visit.
I was sad to feel that when elite class women were busy shopping for expensive brands, lawns and what not in cities like Karachi and Islamabad; a woman was not even allowed to go to the market to buy day to day groceries in Swat. I was sad to imagine when so many socialites and elites send in their dumb children (those who are not actually interested in the studies but just the package of going to England) to places like England, when our politicians are able to afford luxurious security protocols for their children even in universities like Harvard; these innocent little children are not even able to go to their local school.
I began to remember a description from “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Husseini where he describes how the Talibans did not even allow women going off to hospitals and how many women died during child birth just because they were not given access to a health facility.
The world needs to know that this is not what Islam is. The Taliban are clearly following some other God or Belief; this is not Islam which is certainly a religion of peace. Islam teaches equality between men and women; Islam tells everyone to get education, even women; we clearly have the examples of Hazrat Ayesha who taught women and also practiced as a tabib.
At one extreme is the Talibans and at the other extreme is the US with its constant bombing at numerous regions of Northern Pakistan with Drones; numerous lives almost every day are being taken in this. They attack whole weddings, schools, Army Bases claiming Taliban presence and whole families are swiped off; people who survive are left paralyzed. Is this what Pakistan is? And at the end all we do is open the NATO supply again just because they supposedly apologized? Is an apology just enough for all the lives they have taken? What if Malala had died in a drone attack instead? What would they say then? Would they still consider it manslaughter?.
s our country also turning into another Taliban led Afghanistan? Is this our future? And who is responsible for this? Where is the government at this point? I think it’s high time and we all need answers. We need to make ti clear to the world that we can’t sacrifice any more for the so called war on terrorism in which what I see is that only the common man is dying; no one else is affected.