Malala: We must talk to the Taliban to get peace

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A Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban for championing girls' rights to education has said talks with the militants are needed for peace.

Malala Yousafzai was attacked by a gunman on a school bus near her former home in Pakistan in October 2012.

The targeting of a schoolgirl who had spoken out for girls' rights to education caused outrage in Pakistan and around the world.

The 16-year-old was treated in the UK and now lives in Birmingham.

She spent months in hospital and required several operations to repair her skull.

In her first in-depth interview since the attack, Malala told the BBC that discussions with the Taliban were needed to achieve peace.

"The best way to solve problems and to fight against war is through dialogue," she said.

"That's not an issue for me, that's the job of the government… and that's also the job of America."

Written By: BBC News
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

46 COMMENTS

  1. According to Sky News the Taliban are still determined to kill this poor girl.

    http://news.sky.com/story/1151071/taliban-vows-new-malala-murder-attempt

    It is hard to describe the disgust I feel for these murderous, sadistic, pathetic excuses for human beings. Half the world purports, or at least attempts, to live in the 21st century and the other half are determined to remain in the stone age, worshipping their imaginary deities and torturing and murdering anyone who disagrees with their delusions or tries to better themselves.

    Humanity will never be able to call itself civilised until these throwbacks are wiped off the face of the planet.

    • In reply to #2 by Arkrid Sandwich:

      According to Sky News the Taliban are still determined to kill this poor girl.

      http://news.sky.com/story/1151071/taliban-vows-new-malala-murder-attempt

      It is hard to describe the disgust I feel for these murderous, sadistic, pathetic excuses for human beings. Half the world purports, or at least a…

      Extermination would be an attractive option, were it possible- but it’s not. Western-style education of the young is the only practical course, starting with Malala herself. She requires de-programming by way of reading the Koran in all its hideousness- tragic that she believes Allah saved her when ‘he’ was the reason for the attack! Just HOW ignorant are Muslims like Malala of their so-called ‘religion’? Astonishing to know 99% have NOT read the Book ( I know, unsubstantiated claim but it would not surprise me should 99% be near the mark!)

      For all her bravery and maturity, Malala is just another victim of her religion.

  2. More from dawn.com

    • “The bad thing in our society and in our country is that you always wait for someone else to come,” Malala said.

    • “If I’m saying that there is no-one who is doing anything for education, if I say there is no electricity, there is no natural gas, the schools are being blasted, and I’m saying no-one is doing this, why don’t I go for it, why don’t I do this?

    • “I believe that I will achieve this goal because Allah is with me, God is with me and he saved my life.”

    • Malala admitted Britain had been a culture shock, “especially for my mother because we had never seen that women would be that much free – they would go to any market, they would be going alone with no men, no brothers and fathers”.

    • She said: “I’m not becoming western, I’m still following my own culture, the Pashtun culture.”

    • In reply to #3 by AtheistGene:

      More from dawn.com

      ““I believe that I will achieve this goal because Allah is with me, God is with me and he saved my life.”

      “Killing people, torturing people and flogging people… it’s totally against Islam. They are misusing the name of Islam.”

      Not quite yet our next Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

      .

      • In reply to #6 by godsbuster:

        >

        I want to make education compulsory,” she said, “…..every girl and every boy will be going to school

        “Killing people, torturing people and flogging people… it’s totally against Islam. They are misusing the name of Islam.”

        Not quite yet our next Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

        Not as intellectually satisfying for you and I I grant, but just maybe she will make a bigger difference. Were 182 million Pakistanis to decide that this was their Islam and not that of the hate-filled Taliban then the journey to peace and reason would be irreversibly started. The actual and the mind forged manacles would be off. No death for apostasy…compulsory education…

        A religion is what the religious say it is.

        • In reply to #8 by phil rimmer:

          In reply to #6 by godsbuster:

          Not quite yet our next Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
          

          >
          Not as intellectually satisfying for you and I I grant, but just maybe she will make a bigger difference. Were 182 million Pakistanis to decide that this was their Islam and not that of the hate-filled Taliban then the journey to peace and reason would be irreversibly started. The actual and the mind forged manacles would be off. No death for apostasy…compulsory education…

          A religion is what the religious say it is.

          Pragmatically from a purely tactical standpoint I agree. In fact, adopting a Hirsi Ali stance would be too big a leap resulting in Malala losing the kumbaya, why can’t we all get a long, multiculti, belief in belief, accomodationists and apologists who make up the bulk of her fan base in the west. And, would instantly turn her into a pariah in Pakistan where, even before being shot she had arguably done more for girl’s education than, say, Ayaan has in Somalia.

          We have to crawl before we can walk.

          However, the best that it can lead to is the détente type scenario we currently still face with religion in the west more than 200 years after the enlightenment. Which seems to me quite a bit worse than just “not intellectually satisfying”.

          • In reply to #11 by godsbuster:

            However, the best that it can lead to is the détente type scenario we currently still face with religion in the west more than 200 years after the enlightenment.

            But we haven’t stopped moving have we? Europe gallops on. The US problem is unique in the west, perhaps due to its youth, size, varieties of people and the invention of free market religion (with vested religious interests cut back to let the new weeds grow) And even here, we see re-invigorated progress.

            Politics mixes things up to get a result. Initiatives will follow Malala’s. If the dire educational standard of her people are lifted, then there will be more to argue for more lifting. That is how knowledge works. She has pressed the two critical buttons against violence and for compulsory, universal education. If she were to create a country like Massoud’s vision for Afghanistan. then I would walk away and find an important problem to solve. Once you get to the “Quaker State” of personal moral responsibility and an end to proselytising the now trivial problem of religion will mostly fix itself.

            (OK. I’m a glass half full kinda guy…)

          • In reply to #13 by phil rimmer:

            In reply to #11 by godsbuster:

            However, the best that it can lead to is the détente type scenario we currently still face with religion in the west more than 200 years after the enlightenment.

            But we haven’t stopped moving have we? Europe gallops on.

            A gallop hobbled to a painful trot by the islam infection enabled by the pluralism hobbyists and vote whoring politicians, Putin’s antics not helping much either.

          • In reply to #26 by godsbuster:

            A gallop hobbled to a painful trot

            Progress is never smooth or easy. Sustained pressure on all available fronts is the key.

            I understand the frustrations but take a step back and see that the rate of change culturally is enormous and positive. The sweeping away of gender stereotypes (all sourced in religious dogma) over the last fifty years. Seventies movies can be cringe-worthy with their outrageous sexism. How often did sex scenes get framed as faux rapes? How soon have people adopted the idea of universal access to marriage? Gay is normal. These are substantial wins over religion’s core values. Belief is plummeting viewed from a generational perspective.

  3. The Taliban has renewed their commitment to kill her:

    The Pakistani Taliban on Monday said schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai had “no courage” and vowed to attack her again if they got the chance.
    Gunmen sent by the Taliban tried to kill Malala on her school bus on October 9 in 2012. She amazingly survived being shot in the head and has become a global ambassador for the right of all children — girls as well as boys — to go to school.

    read more

  4. “We must talk to the Taliban to get peace”

    Sadly, this is true. They may be ignorant murderous bigots, but they are ignorant murderous bigots with large amounts of weaponry and a fanatical hatred of everyone (even, or perhaps especially the people they already have under their domination)

  5. People need to make a stronger distinction between Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Taliban were the legitimate government of Afghanistan. We in the west did not like them because they were too fundamentalist. The Americans attacked them illegally and have occupied their country for a long time. The Taliban are simply fighting to get their country back. They are not in the same class of bad guy as Al Qaeda. Why are the Americans fighting with them? Various reasons have been put forth:

    1. for a pipeline route
    2. to get the lithium
    3. as a military base
    4. because Americans conflate all Muslims with bin Laden.
    5. as an excuse to spend a lot of money on contractors

    Many Americans will claim the USA was hunting bin Laden and that gave them the right not only to search but bomb the whole country into the stone age. bin Laden was in Pakistan. And the occupation continued even after bin Laden was killed. The war must have some other purpose.

    • In reply to #9 by Roedy:

      People need to make a stronger distinction between Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Taliban were the legitimate government of Afghanistan. We in the west did not like them because they were too fundamentalist. The Americans attacked them illegally and have occupied their country for a long time.

      The 2001 Afghan invasion was (just about) legal and had a UN mandate. The 2003 Iraq invasion was illegal. But the 2001 mandate in Afghanistan was fulfilled when the training camps were destroyed and the allies had found or failed to find bin Laden. What then ensued – a sort of “white man’s burden” colonial guilt trip to “civilize and democratize” the place was mission creep gone into total meltdown. We should have been out of there a decade ago, and are no longer even remotely welcomed. Only Afghans can decide how they want to run their country, and it may well not be democracy as we know it.

      That said, Malala is an inspiration. She’s odd-on favourite (out of 259 nominees including Vladimir Putin) to get the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. I hope if she gets it we are not just painting a target on her.

    • In reply to #9 by Roedy:

      People need to make a stronger distinction between Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Taliban were the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

      Ahmad Shah Massoud was the one who did most to kick out the Russians. He was the one most democratic in his principles and the one most supported in free and fair elections. The Taliban fought him bringing three times their own number in soldiers from Pakistan funded entirely by Saudi Arabia to suppress this hugely successful democratic challenge.

      You completely misrepresent the history of the region. The Clinton administration were indifferent to the democratic efforts of Massoud, favoring the Arab funded Taliban because of oil interests. Remarkably only Dubya recognised the immorality of this oil first strategy and then too late. As Massoud was warning the West of Al Quaeda plots against them he was assassinated 2001 Sept. 10th by his nemesis Bin Laden…

      The history has far more pertinent detail than either of the accounts you see here. I urge people to go and look at what really happened to understand that there are indeed clear moral paths that were and still are clearly visible. I have yet to find an account with a member of the Taliban taking one.

      • In reply to #12 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #9 by Roedy:

        People need to make a stronger distinction between Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Taliban were the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

        Thanks Phil, your post ordered my confused thoughts and expressed my objections to Roedy’s rather ill-informed opinion in a way I could not.

        Ahmad Shah Massoud was the one who did most to kick out the Russians. He was the one most democratic in his principles and the one most…

    • In reply to #9 by Roedy:

      People need to make a stronger distinction between Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Taliban were the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

      In what sense, other than that of killing more people in their grab for power than the opposition, were they legitimate?

  6. “Killing people, torturing people and flogging people… it’s totally against Islam. They are misusing the name of Islam.”

    I’m sorry but is she actually serious?
    Malala, you are hurting your credibility as a human rights activist by promoting Islam!
    I hope you will gain the strength to renounce your religion and publicly criticize it.

    • In reply to #14 by Terra Watt:

      “Killing people, torturing people and flogging people… it’s totally against Islam. They are misusing the name of Islam.”

      I’m sorry but is she actually serious?
      Malala,……. hope you will gain the strength to renounce your religion and publicly criticize it.

      Yet that will have two immediate counterproductive effects. It will prove to the religious masses that the Taliban were accurate in their assessment of her, that she is an infidel and her death is justified. She will lose most of any mass traction she may currently access.

      We need to get politically realistic here. Leave the wish thinking to the religious.

      Besides, what if she’s even cleverer and more political than you think? And if that is the case, what can you best do to help?

      • In reply to #15 by phil rimmer:

        ……….We need to get politically realistic here. Leave the wish thinking to the religious.
        Besides, what if she’s even cleverer and more political than you think? And if that is the case, what can you best do to help?

        I understand that she is an incredibly brave girl for speaking after being shot by the Taliban.
        Where as I don’t even have the courage to post my picture as a avatar.
        That said this is still inappropriate of her. My advice for her would have been to not make any comments on Islam whatsoever,
        other than perhaps the occasional thanking of Allah for saving her…

        That is to say, as a beacon of hope, she can simply talk about human right violations on their own account.
        There was no need for her to comment on Islam with these issues. And if she was directly confronted on her faith,
        she could have simply extrapolated a peaceful rendition based on her own personal thoughts,
        rather than being specific, like in the following.

        “Killing people, torturing people and flogging people… it’s totally against Islam. They are misusing the name of Islam.”

        There was no need for her to get that specific or for her to mention the name Islam.
        She could have just said something like, Allah asks us to be kind and gentle or some crap like that.
        If she continues to make such erroneous comments about Islam, then she will show herself to be ignorant on the subject and
        disingenuous to Muslims who are aware of the violence in their religion. I really hope she won’t bring this subject in the future for her sake and for sake of those girls depending on her to get fair chance at life.

        So yeah, My advice to Malala would be to simply talk of her passions and her sincere concerns for human rights.

        • In reply to #24 by Terra Watt:

          In reply to #15 by phil rimmer:

          ..If she continues to make such erroneous comments about Islam, then she will show herself to be ignorant on the subject.

          Like Ahmad Shah Massoud?

          A reminder- there is no spooky essence behind this religion shit. A religion is what the religious say it is.

          Besides she cannot avoid the question (about her religion) much as you want her to. If she seeks any influence over Muslims in the nature what is acceptable Islamic behaviour she will need to clearly assert she is no Infidel if she is to survive. Simple as that.

          • In reply to #28 by phil rimmer:

            Like Ahmad Shah Massoud?
            A reminder- there is no spooky essence behind this religion shit. A religion is what the religious say it is.
            Besides she cannot avoid the question (about her religion) much as you want her to. If she seeks any influence over Muslims in the nature what is acceptable Islamic behaviour she will need to clearly assert she is no Infidel if she is to survive. Simple as that.

            What are you on about? Religion is most certainly NOT what the religious say it is.
            It is what the scriptures say it is. That is if religion is what the religious say it is, then Muhammed will no longer have
            any relevant role, since the word of Allah will be up to one’s own interpretations. Essentially everyone becomes a potential
            prophet who thinks they know the word of God for themselves.There is a clear information hierarchy in just about all religions, but especially in Islam. It is definitely against her best interests to inadvertently present herself as an authourity, on defining what is Islam and what is not Islam.

            I realize that she can’t avoid the question. I really really wished that Jon Stewart didn’t bring up her religion in the dailyshow interview. I mean seriously, this is a girl that got shot in the head by a fundamentalist group!
            He should have showed some commonsense and to stay quite on the topic.

            As for having influence over Muslims, I’m afraid you are dead wrong.
            Her commentaries does the exact opposite of what you think it does because her potential influence lies with the moderate Muslim.And the moderates due to their compartmentalized nature, would find no problem in supporting her solely on the grounds of her demands for fair rights. But the moment you setup the possibility for the moderates to confront their religion, they will back down. Essentially Malala would NOT be seen as an infidel as long as she makes no authouritative comments on Islam.

          • In reply to #40 by Terra Watt:

            Religion is most certainly NOT what the religious say it is.

            30,000 Christian sects say it is. Islam is more locked up but has schismed a few times so the principle is there. Sunni, Sufi, Shia, Ahmaddiya. Much more importantly the practice of Islam is insanely oppressive in say Pakistan, but only a few decades ago in the intermittently Taliban gripped Afghanistan the northern provinces achieved a surprisingly liberal and democratic state, with a deeply religious leader (or so he astutely professed).

            We must not do the imam’s job for them and insist upon absolute fidelity to their preferred texts. Unless we recognise the the tried and tested route to intellectual freedom societies have managed to date we will stall progress and trap millions.

            The pernicious deep root of the viral memplex that is religion with its worst symptom an infantile dependency on the virus itself does not go in to spontaneous remission. We grow up and out of it over generations of steady pressure. We do not recognise that we are not the same person we were ten years ago, because most changes happen imperceptibly.

            To deny Islam the capacity to be a wide range of things (which it already is, Pakistan being at the badder end) is to deny it its one useful attribute to be used against it, that of the self deception of a singular label. Christians do it all the time, summon up the great number of all the various flavours to prove the validity of their little bit. Allow (encourage!) Islam to be a moveable feast, allow. encourage Massouds and Malalas to educate, to lead out (sic) their fellow Muslims.

            And the moderates due to their compartmentalized nature, would find no problem in supporting her solely on the grounds of her demands for fair rights

            Few would fall into your moderate category here I think. Nor would they be foolish enough to take any visible political action on the matter as it would be attacked as anti-Islamic and Malala would not be able to argue the case. Besides, we have to give ordinary decent Muslims as much help and cover as we can to operate under the gaze of the bullies who oppress them.

            I think your proposal entirely squanders the opportunity and hugely increases the dangers. This is not the moment for political squeam.

          • In reply to #42 by phil rimmer:

            In reply to #40 by Terra Watt:
            “Religion is most certainly NOT what the religious say it is.”

            30,000 Christian sects say it is.

            I don’t think that the underlying information hierarchy in religion ((prophet to scripture to priest to follower)) is disproved by the existence of schisms.
            Schisms are more evidence of there being a lack of coherence in the source material.

            Much more importantly the practice of Islam is insanely oppressive in say Pakistan, but only a few decades ago in the intermittently Taliban gripped Afghanistan the northern provinces achieved a surprisingly liberal and democratic state, with a deeply religious leader (or so he astutely professed).

            Yes, those are essentially the moderate Muslims I spoke of in my previous post.
            However you need to understand that moderates function with a compartmentalized mind,
            so as to not risk contrasting their religious views with views on topics like science, humanitarianism and politics.
            So its best to only speak on the terms of the relevant issue and avoid needless hindrances.

            We must not do the imam’s job for them and insist upon absolute fidelity to their preferred texts. Unless we recognise the the tried and tested route to intellectual freedom societies have managed to date we will stall progress and trap millions.

            My point exactly! This is why I stated previously that Malala should have been cautious with her religious statements,
            so as to not be so bold as to state what is Islam and what it isn’t!
            It is against her best interests to render herself as an authourity on the subject.

            The pernicious deep root of the viral memplex that is religion with its worst symptom an infantile dependency on the virus itself does not go in to spontaneous remission. We grow up and out of it over generations of steady pressure. We do not recognise that we are not the same person we were ten years ago, because most changes happen imperceptibly.
            To deny Islam the capacity to be a wide range of things (which it already is, Pakistan being at the badder end) is to deny it its one useful attribute to be used against it, that of the self deception of a singular label. Christians do it all the time, summon up the great number of all the various flavours to prove the validity of their little bit. Allow (encourage!) Islam to be a moveable feast, allow. encourage Massouds and Malalas to educate, to lead out (sic) their fellow Muslims.

            This is where you didn’t account for the point about the information hierarchy.
            Islam is not a generalized cultural view of a certain population that can be subjected to social pressures and influences.
            It has its own predefined structure of information that is not based on free inquiry, discussion and general social behaviour of the people involved.
            Where as a memeplex don’t tend to be so clearly organized and just arises out of the generic behaviour of a population.

            I firmly believe that to void the validity of a religion in the mind of the moderate,
            that it is best to speak solely on the terms of the concerning issue.
            This way the moderate persons’ religion becomes more and more irrelevant and alien to him, eventually to
            the point where it finally proves redundant to his day to day functions.
            That said, I agree with you on how most changes happen imperceptibly.

            “And the moderates due to their compartmentalized nature, would find no problem in supporting her solely on the grounds of her demands for fair rights”

            Few would fall into your moderate category here I think. Nor would they be foolish enough to take any visible political action on the matter as it would be attacked as anti-Islamic and Malala would not be able to argue the case. Besides, we have to give ordinary decent Muslims as much help and cover as we can to operate under the gaze of the bullies who oppress them.
            I think your proposal entirely squanders the opportunity and hugely increases the dangers. This is not the moment for political squeam.

            I am surprised that you think that way. I am sure that the moderate Muslim would have little to fear,
            as long as their religious views aren’t brought up in relation to the humanitarian cause they support.
            Besides Malala and moderate Muslims don’t even have a proper case to argue with the mainstream proponents of Islam!
            They are more likely to be attacked as being anti-Islamic if they chose to bring up the subject.

            P.S.
            Either way, I don’t have much more to add to this discussion than the points I’ve already made.
            I hope all goes well for Malala and her friends dream, of being able to go back to school in their own hometown.

          • In reply to #45 by Terra Watt:

            We’ve been round the loop at least once, so I guess we’d better stop. I just don’t see moderates in religiously oppressive Pakistan behaving in the way you suggest in any significant numbers. I suspect an hour or two hammering it out over a beer or two might nail it. I fear that country is generations from toleration and intellectual honesty.

            Massoud was a great humanitarian, politically very shrewd and hence, I claim, professed or at least demonstrated himself to be holier than his rivals (He knew his Koran and the myriad Hadiths [maybe 30.000] and it is the hadiths here that most create the varieties.). He could argue for his position against the bullies. He forced a space for decent views where ordinary religious folk (an electoral majority, no less) felt safe enough to come out of their shells. Had these people been granted a generation or two’s peace this mode of religious living would have taken root and spread. Tradition is nine tenths of religious truth. That is why Saud had to fuck it up quickly.

            I know you and I want the same end result and I know my route is the slower paced, but I believe it may sweep more before it.

            So, here’s to decent states and withering religion.
            Cheers.

  7. It is a ‘nice’ human ideal to be able to discuss things and sort them out but humans will be humans at a more compelling level and history is replete with examples of the failure of dialogue. Basically if a man wishes to fight you can do two things, either run away or oblige him but belligerents rarely and probably never resolve issues by talking and if you run you are reinforcing the idea that belligerent stances are a solution. Dialogue becomes possible only when the parties stop to think of the next steps and that too often happens when they are on the verge of a catastrophic defeat.

    However laudable the notion (and I applaud it) and it may be worth trying, there are realities. If these people were amenable to talking, they wouldn’t be shooting helpless people.

    • In reply to #16 by Vorlund:

      If these people were amenable to talking, they wouldn’t be shooting helpless people.

      Far from all of them are shooting. Bad as they are on average, they are still a mixed bag and half of them are women. Traction with some is all you need to start, that and time for their kids to see things a little differently than their dad. There are no “essences” of religion or culture, just some bad shit we mistake for it.

      • In reply to #17 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #16 by Vorlund:

        If these people were amenable to talking, they wouldn’t be shooting helpless people.

        Far from all of them are shooting. Bad as they are on average, they are still a mixed bag and half of them are women.

        Traction with some is all you need to start, that and time for their kids to see things a little differently than their dad.

        ‘Half of them are women’, So what?

        &

        ‘differently than their dad’ ,What about their mothers?

        Are you suggesting that men and only men can do evil and vile things and teach them to their children?

        • In reply to #18 by veggiemanuk:

          ‘Half of them are women’, So what?

          So their motivations for acting their part in their sado-masochistic lifestyles are different from their husbands. The wives will tend to fear social change for more general reasons (Social unrest always causes problems. He’ll get angry. My kids will suffer. I’ll get thumped.) Whilst husbands mostly fear the simple loss of authority.

          Not having a viable plan is not good enough these days. We need to find the more pliant points to begin change. Without education these women don’t know they have choices, don’t know how extreme their society is compared to other Muslim societies. Educating women is the most powerful tool for change we have.

          Thats what.

          Are you suggesting that men and only men can do evil and vile things and teach them to their children.

          Strawman.

      • In reply to #17 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #16 by Vorlund:

        If these people were amenable to talking, they wouldn’t be shooting helpless people.

        Far from all of them are shooting. Bad as they are on average, they are still a mixed bag and half of them are women. Traction with some is all you need to start, that and time for thei…

        I know they are not all shooting. Your point seems to imply that by talking to the one’s that are not shooting or the women (who exert nothing like the influence that they could) there might be a difference. Well Ok given a few generations it might but that still leaves the question of the ones’ that can and do shoot. They might even be in a minority but they wield enough power to press their point and keep the others from dialogue.

        It is not possible to reason with a belligerent by dialogue when all he/she has to do is shoot you to silence you. We even see in some small measure in the UK how a few idiots can posture and threaten and make enough racket to dissuade people from acting against them and they aren’t shooting anything either.

        • In reply to #19 by Vorlund:

          They might even be in a minority but they wield enough power to press their point and keep the others from dialogue.

          It is not possible to reason with a belligerent by dialogue when all he/she has to do is shoot you to silence you.

          They are in a minority and the strategy must be to undercut their support progressively. It will take generations, like Ireland, a job still far from done, but a journey started at least. Note the long haul nets some benefits early on. No job involving social change ever gets truly completed.

          Massoud knew that peace could only be approached with the full political involvement of all parties. Doing politics, like making sausages, is a grisly business, and in this instance more dangerous too. The point is that discouraging though the process may seem the price of doing nothing is not to be countenanced.

  8. Watched a Doco on Malala on TV in UK last night… this girl is amazingly brave and very clever and her father is a very decent activist for rights too…I see Malala becoming a professional politician one day….she is an outstanding human being and she is a true humanitarian – she deserves the Nobel peace prize – I hope she gets it…..It may be a culture shock in the UK for Malala and her family to see that women and girls have rights and freedom…but now she has experienced it she may never want to return to being caged and oppressed. and well said ..Phil Rimmer on all points…

  9. I just watched Malala on the Jon Stewart show. Wow, what a presence. It is very hard to believe that she is only sixteen. She completely stunned Jon. After the pieces he has been running about the jerks who have shutdown our government, I expected him to look at her and say, “Can you please stay, and be our government?”

    • In reply to #25 by Quine:

      I just watched Malala on the Jon Stewart show. Wow, what a presence. It is very hard to believe that she is only sixteen. She completely stunned Jon. After the pieces he has been running about the jerks who have shutdown our government, I expected him to look at her and say, “Can you please stay…..

      She knows exactly what she is doing.

  10. Malala’s interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night is an absolute must see for those of you who haven’t come across it yet. Her bravery and humility put us all to shame. I freely confess that listening to her tell her story reduced me to tears in fairly short order and Jon appeared to be struggling to hang on to his emotions too as she received several rapturous ovations from the crowd during her talk. No wonder the Taliban are so terrified of her. The bullet they tried to kill her with has surely created the engine of their own eventual downfall and every word she utters reveals how far she rises above them in enlightenment and evolution while they grovel in the stone age dirt of their own misogyny and hatred.

    If she isn’t a shoe-in for the Nobel Peace Prize I’ll eat my hat. I can’t think of anyone who’s ever deserved it so richly. At just 16 years of age she is an inspiration of the calibre of Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela and perhaps history will go on to record her as greater than either.

  11. Terra wat comment 28

    There was no need for her to get that specific or for her to mention the name Islam. She could have just said something like, Allah asks us to be kind and gentle or some crap like that. If she continues to make such erroneous comments about Islam, then she will show herself to be ignorant on the subject and disingenuous to Muslims who are aware of the violence in their religion.

    I;m sorry! Malala is a Muslim and that is her Islam! It is not erroneous because Islam like all religions is really down to whatever interpretation people want to put on to it.

    Malala is as much as Muslim as the taliban who tried to shoot or. Her father is a Muslim who have stood up to the taliban in telling them girls were equal and in continuing to educate them in his schools despite the threats from the taliban. And if everyone here were honest bout their muslim friends that is exactly what they say about Islam.

    And look at what Islam has made her! She’d be incredible as an adult so is even more so given she is only 16. What a role model she is. What comparable female role models has atheism produced exactly? And where are the male atheists who are as into feminism and womens rights as Malalas father?

  12. Phil Rimmer comment 29

    The sweeping away of gender stereotypes (all sourced in religious dogma)

    Sorry Phil that isnt strictly true. Malalas father for example is a shining beacon of equality and yet is a muslim. So too is his daughter. And I work with catholics, anglicans, muslims, hindus etc all equally devoid of gender stereotyping and sexism.

    But read some of the comments on this site about women and you’ll find gender stereotypes worthy of the most fundamentalist of religio nuts. Gender stereotypes exist regardless of religion and are not its sole preserve. Go look at a thankfully small minority of your atheist peers on this website – you;ll find just as many dinosaurs as you would in any church or mosque. It is not a religious dogma thing at all.

    • In reply to #35 by PG:

      Phil Rimmer comment 29

      The sweeping away of gender stereotypes (all sourced in religious dogma)

      Sorry Phil that isnt strictly true. Malalas father for example is a shining beacon of equality and yet is a muslim. So too is his daughter. And I work with catholics, anglicans, muslims, hindus etc all…

      My point was only about the rate of progress in Europe to counter a view that progress against religious fed cultural attributes here was rather slowed. I stand entirely by this. The changes have been substantial and positive within my lifetime.

      Earlier I noted that programs of social change are never completed, there seems always a residuum of fossil behaviour. I wasn’t saying that all gender stereotypes have been swept away or that they are all entirely religious at root (religion co-opts and buttresses that which it finds useful) and I was saying nothing about outside of Europe.

      Two final thoughts directed generally outwards rather than to this conversation…

      1) It is probably fortunate that Malala publicly counts herself a Muslim

      2) If people are traveling in the right direction I am not going to criticise them for their starting point.

  13. Phil Rimmer Besides, what if she’s even cleverer and more political than you think? And if that is the case, what can you best do to help?

    Agreed. Whether by design or accident. Look at where she is from and what they are going through. Hundreds of girls bravely going to school and the taliban trying to stop them using Allah. And they shoot Malala. What are the people of the Swat valley who believe devoutly in Allah going to think he wants after viewing that? That Allah is on the side of the taliban.

    But then Malala survives. Now what are they going to have to think Allah wants? Girls at school, girls as equals. Religion doesn’t disappear just like that, Malala is right education is the key. And if those less educated think Allah wants education then suddenly the next generation is a few steps closer to freedom, firstly from the worst interpretations of Allahs words and finally from Allah completely.

    She will succeed where others have failed because she understands what she is dealing with .

  14. Phil Rimmer comment 32

    My point was only about the rate of progress in Europe to counter a view that progress against religious fed cultural attributes here was rather slowed. I stand entirely by this. The changes have been substantial and positive within my lifetime.

    Hi Phil, I’d partly agree. The changes have been substantial and positive and I’ve benefitted but within my lifetime in the UK there have ben serious attemptst to drag them back to where they were. And not by the religious at all but by those who object to women objecting to ubiquitous portrayal of them as body parts.

    All I’m saying is progress here in the UK with regards to womens rights now is rarely in the hands of atheists. And dragging women backwards in the UK is never in the hands of the religious here.

    And even without Islam I suspect the taliban would be destroying the lives of girls and women in the backward countries they inhabit That backward view of women persists in many non Islamic and even non religious countries. I’m not sure how much you can attribute it to religion which after all just reflects the cultures and traditions of wherever it happens to be. If not religion it would be something else fuelling the taliban.

    And I agree with you about being glad Malala is a Muslim. Whatever it is about her and her take on it, it has made her who she is and shown other Muslims a better way.

    • In reply to #39 by PG:

      That backward view of women persists in many non Islamic and even non religious countries. I’m not sure how much you can attribute it to religion which after all just reflects the cultures and traditions of wherever it happens to be.

      Religion co-opts what is already there in society, generally favouring the exploiters. Its particular trick is its appeal to a non-negotiable authority then harnessing it to a group loyalty. It locked the problem fast and rendered most powerless in the face of its unfairness. It was the lynch pin holding oppressive societies together. Its removal is the biggest act of liberation there could be. The habit of thinking there is a “meant to be” or “natural” order is these days a legacy of religious absolutist thinking.

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