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On the day of children’s rights

I tweeted a lot in the last few days. I was at the European Parliament to celebrate 25th Sakharov Prize anniversary. All the Sakharov Laureates were there except Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Hu Jia, Jafar Panahi and a few others. Shirin Ebadi the Nobel Peace Prize winner came to represent Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Iranian lawyer who received Sakharov Prize last year. We attended many conferences, seminars on Human Rights, official lunch and dinner.

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On November 20, the Children’s Rights Day, Pakistani girl Malala Yousufzai was given Sakharov prize for freedom of thought by the president of the European Parliament. Malala is a brave girl. Talibans wanted her to be dead. But she survived. Thanks to the medical science and skilled physicians. Malala has been talking about the children’s rights to education in the region where talibans burnt down girls schools. She was shot in her head for ignoring the taliban’s rules. She deserves to be awarded and to be encouraged to continue her advocacy to promote children’s rights to education. Malala has already become the symbol of resistance to the fanaticism.

Malala is not alone. The whole world is supporting her. Many agencies and film, fashion, music, publication etc. industries are now behind her. This is probably good for her. Her story is getting known to many more. Though sometimes I get disturbed by some questions and comments like whether girls education was always forbidden in Pakistan or it was Malala who started education for girls. I told them that girls education started in Pakistan centuries ago, girls schools were already there, so that the taliban could burnt them down.

After she got the Sakharov prize we the Sakharov Laureates took family photos. In the photo below, Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament is standing between Malala and me. I congratulated Malala for the prize. She shook my hand with expressionless face. I came from the Indian subcontinent, almost from the same background, fighting religious fundamentalists for women’s rights, but her expression tells me that it means nothing to her. She in her speech expressed that the names of the previous Sakharov laureates that amazed her were Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi and Kofi Annan. A few dats ago I requested the European Parliament to arrange for my meeting with Malala when we both would be at the parliament. But I was told that no bilateral meeting would be possible for Malala. She is now like a big superstar, no one can touch her. I imagine how busy she is with hundreds of different things in the West but I never could imagine she would not talk to any Sakharov Laureate, give no interview to any media after getting the prize and she would not be present in the discussion on children’s right at the European Parliament and would not be present even in the official dinner hosted by the President of the European Parliament for her honor. I heard her father said no to everything. I wish she could be herself. Would she be able to be herself someday in this protective environment? The glamour world and the business world both are dangerous for human rights activists.

I did not expect but was not shocked either when Malala started her official speech in the name of Allah. She said, Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim while she was giving a speech at the secular European Parliament. Malala believes in Allah and Islam. She often praises Islam and talks about women’s freedom. I wish she knew ‘religion is not compatible with women’s rights’.

Everybody loves Malala. I am afraid she will be able to convince young Muslim girls that Islam is a good religion that respects women and it is good to wear Islamic veils. She talks about changing the world by books and pens. All children need books and pens. But the truth is, in all Muslim countries including Malala’s Pakistan, children are given the book called Quran to be indoctrinated in order to change the world to Darul Islam. The Taliban use pens to write the names whom they plan to kill. I think it is better to mention what kinds of books are needed to make the world a better lace. And what should be done with pens.

I asked a politically incorrect question to children rights activists during children’s rights debate at the parliament: ‘You have been talking about children’s right to an adequate standard of living, health care, education and to play and recreation. You have been talking about children’s right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. But you are not saying for once that children should not be brainwashed to be superstitious, racists, chauvinists, misogynists, fanatics, terrorists. Why don’t the activists say that brainwashing children with parents’ religion or with any other religion is against children’s rights and mutilating or cutting children’s genitals in the name of religion, culture, tradition is also against children’s rights?’

Seriously, no good answer was given to me. A woman said she was fighting against female genital mutilation. I asked ‘what about boys genital mutilation?’ She wrinkled her forehead as if she never heard that boys got also mutilated.

I don’t get surprised easily. A European Parliament’s official secretly informed me that there might be a plan to give Sakharov award to Pope.

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FYI, the Sakharov Prize was established in 1988 in honour of Russian nuclear scientist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is the highest tribute to human rights endeavors the European Union accords. It gives recognition and moral support to the Laureates, who are strengthened and empowered in their fight for their causes. Sakharov Laureates are seen in a group photo on November 20, 2013 at the European Parliament. They are from Bosnia, Bangladesh, Turkey, China, Algeria, East Timor, Spain, Israel,Angola, Cuba,Belarus, Nigeria, France, Russia,Sudan, Libya, Iran and now Pakistan.

Comments

  1. Reena Lahiri e says

    The revelation given by Ms Taslima is
    quite natural After all Malala is inexperienced & need further proper guidance She has received protection hence
    she s’d b courageous !

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Malala Yousufzai occupies a very difficult position, even aside from the fatwas and assassins.

    Should she deny Islam in any perceptible way, such apostasy will be used to condemn the entire movement for girls’ rights, and to bring down multiple waves of extreme violence onto girls and their schools throughout south, southwest, and central Asia. If she continues to profess Islam, students and their educators can continue to work and organize behind her name and image.

    Aside from the personal stresses of deconversion, should Yousafzai join ranks with the Nasreens and Namazies of the world (or even the Ayaan Hirsi Alis), she risks not only increased danger to herself and her family, but to the thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands, in Pakistan and beyond – who bravely stand up for her and her cause today. Perhaps in a decade or so, when a part of the adrenaline has ebbed, she and some of her fellow campaigners may be ready for the next step, but at present she has, regrettably, solidly secular reasons to remain a Muslim.

  3. UJJAL says

    Its a vicious cycle. Children do not exploit children rights, elders do. The rights for children are not protected because the rights for elders are not established. Elders do not respect the human right for another elder. Hence they do not even care to extend that to the children also.

    The offender of human rights are too aware of their abuse and crime. Elders just seem to find various reasons behind religion, reason behind revenge or reason in sadistic pleasure and act aggressively against basic human rights. In some cases reasons for greed also drives them against human rights.

    Children being children are the most vulnerable section exposed to the world of inhumane elderly reasons.

    It is the duty of the various governments of the world to ensure and restore and impose safety and human rights for its citizen. The failure begins from here.

    No doubt, Malala is a true brave youth. As she is preaching in favor of education, she needs to be brave one more time to come out of her religion after she gets herself adequately educated in science books and do not find her religious books any more valid in human civilization.

    Pope – ha ha just cant stop laughing at the use of such a position today. Pope should just read the bible over and over and over again and preach only what he has read without adding or subtracting any meaning of the book to his choice. The language of the bible is NOT difficult at all. The pope and priests make it difficult with adding their own interpretation.

  4. says

    Malala, a little girl, raised her voice against the Muslim fundamentalists like Taliban to protect the right to education of the Muslim girls. It’s no doubt a big battle which always involves life risks. She was already attacked by the fundamentalists and narrowly saved. The fundamentalists told that they wanted to kill her. They have also announced that Malala was still their target. Yet, Malala has declared that she was not afraid and would not give up her battle. So, she deserves to be awarded and to be encouraged.
    She believes that Islam is a good religion and this religion is in favor of the every right and freedom of girls and women. It’s nothing but her ignorance. I believe that she will understand in future that Islam like all others religion is also a big enemy of the woman.

  5. says

    Taslima, I’m really glad you pointed out the things you did, and raised the questions you did. Part of me feels like she feels the weight of her security and that of her whole families lies on her. So she must do as she’s told and say the things she’s told to say, so they can all stay in “safe” place. In her interview with NDTV I thought there is an originality of thought that I hope will allow her to be herself when she finds the scope. When she was asked about dancing, which she likes, and why it is frowned upon, she explained it is how people are socially conditioned to think. Sort of hypocritically. She gave the example of shoes. She said, everyone wears shoes in India, but they look down on the caste that makes the shoes ! I hope that flame stays burning and one day she her strength to be just her.

  6. MOHAMMED ANZARI-P says

    Islam is not malala . Through you can not get islam . You learn about Qur’an and hadees (word of muhammed nahi (SA) ). Yen you can Understand ” What is Islam ?”
    Qur’an & hadees not written only for gens. That is not only for muslims . That is written for human beings . Ok . Read Qur’an & hadees . Then you all are find out mistakes . You can not get mistakes . That is true. Any doubt will come you ask with Dr zakir nayak (Peace tv) .
    All are make a group . Then learn & show mistakes .
    Islam allowed women education. What is they needed every thing is allowed. But some fools born in Muslim family . They made their Owen some rules and regulations . That is not islamic. God allahu subhanavuthaila & messengers Mohammed nabi(Sa) what is teach that islam .
    In falastheen so many childrens, womens & girls are killed . Then no problem for world . No money for them . No questions for them . No respect for them . ‘ WHAT IS THIS ?” .

  7. MOHAMMED ANZARI-P says

    sorry some mistakes in my English .Yen- then, that islam -that is islam . like wise some mistake are their . Because I am week in English .

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