The extremist mindset

It’s Malala day today. It’s global.

People around the world are expected to hold vigils and demonstrations honoring Malala and calling for the 32 million girls worldwide who are denied education to be allowed to go to school.

Pakistani prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf saluted Malala’s courage and urged his countrymen to stand against the extremist mindset that led to her attack.

That’s sweet. But…when I say “global” I mean partly global. I don’t mean Malala’s own hometown, for instance. It’s not Malala day in Mingora, not openly.

But in Mingora, the threat of further Taliban reprisals casts a fearful shadow, and students at Malala’s Khushal Public School were forced to honor her in private.

“We held a special prayer for Malala today in our school assembly and also lit candles,” school principal Mariam Khalid said.

“We did not organize any open event because our school and its students still face a security threat.”

Though their bid to kill Malala failed, the Taliban have said they will attack any woman who stands against them and fears are so great that Khalid said even speaking to the media could put students’ lives in danger.

Because that’s how it is. We can all have decent lives in which we can pursue our dreams only on the sufferance of violent thugs. If there are enough violent thugs determined not to let us and not enough law and civil society and policing to stop them, then we can’t.

Comments

  1. Rodney Nelson says

    Though their bid to kill Malala failed, the Taliban have said they will attack any woman who stands against them and fears are so great that Khalid said even speaking to the media could put students’ lives in danger.

    I am shocked but unfortunately not surprised.

  2. latsot says

    It doesn’t have to be violent thugs. Perfectly civil thugs can and do have exactly the same effect. They are still thugs. We sometimes use the (often real) threat of extremist violence to justify cowardice about opposing more peaceful-seeming but still bullying and oppressive behaviour.

    You know what I’m talking about. Things like police arresting people for (legally) filming them. Things like people being arrested for saying stupid shit on Twitter. People being widely condemned and receiving social and/or legal sanctions for saying that perhaps people should be treated equally. And how about the authorities and media that devalue the testimony of rape or other abuse victims? Or the supposed community and/or religious leaders who do nothing when there are honour killings or forced marriages or violence that fits their personal definition of what horribleness is OK?

    We certainly need to oppose violent thugs. But the real enemy is the civil thug.

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