Rights group Amnesty International has announced to offer its highest honour to Malala Yousafzai. She has already been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. And former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has teamed up with Malala in undertaking an ambitious challenge: educating the Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. She has also been awarded prestigious International Children's Peace Prize. And we are more than happy because she certainly deserves all of them more than anyone else in the world today.
Yet, there is something disturbing in all the honours heaped upon her. She and all she stands for have been hijacked cynically by the West. This sixteen-year-old daughter of Pakistan and everything about her are now been used to justify a bigger barbarity which the world has been witnessing since past decade and more.
With all her ordeals and aspirations Malala offered the media in West a big story — a story that buttressed and institutionalized traditional Western concepts about the natives — brown men and women, their society. In their narratives — cynical and racist — men that live and roam on lands that lay beyond the domains inhabited by whites are all savages who burn, shoot and rape girls and women. Men in these badlands, especially the Muslims, are still years away from civilization unworthy of even interaction.
Naturally, to these Westerners and their media the story of Malala Yousufzai was more than a fairy tale — an unbelievable narrative of a sweet innocent girl ravaged by a bunch of blood thirsty savages who only want to take Pakistan and Afghanistan back to Stone Age. Malala, therefore, had to be taken out of such vicious environment, must be given the best medical care available in the world of the white men and projected as a justification of whatever the whites are doing in our world.
Britain, in particular, leveraged Malala and her story to whitewash its sins and crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. And not only that, Britons even, very subtly though, used Malala to justify its historical crime against humanity — its imperialism. Britain sought to emerge as "knight in shining armour" ever ready in the service of damsels in distress.
Malala the magic washed out in one sweeping stroke the West's crimes — its wars, its colonisations, its occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, its drone attacks that have killed scores of Malalas, its destruction of schools and its utter lies about Iraq and its former president Saddam Hussein.
Taleban's barbaric attempt to murder Malala left the world rather paralysed with pain, anger and indignation. And as our courageous daughter fought for her life in a hospital in Britain we all united in our prayers for her. We wanted her to be back among us but we did not expect that she and her cause would so be hijacked by Britain and the West to justify their crimes. This is unfortunate and is equally nauseating and we see the attempts as acts to institutionalize hubris.
Brutality, irrespective of who perpetrates the scourge, cannot be justified. And equally unjustifiable are attempts to use one brutality to validate another. The West cannot deny that it has, for past ten years and more, created hundreds of Malalas in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, destroying their schools and this denying them their right to education.
Shooting Malala was a barbarity that Taleban committed. But has the West been far behind Taleban in committing savageries? The parade of barbarism we saw in Abu Ghraib prison obliterated the "false divide between 'civilized' and 'barbarous' nations." The shocking narratives coming out of the prison in Iraq proved in its ability to descent into the darkness of barbarity the West — Britain, France, the United States and other white men's nations — is equally dexterous. Absolutely repugnant were the prison abuses.
Hearing Gordon Brown at the United Nations on Malala's sixteenth birthday was a nauseating experience for many. In his finely tailored signature suit Brown, sitting beside Malala Yousufzai, offered a great photo op for the cameramen who were seen falling over each other in projecting a story of how the West's intervention has been benign in a world where girls are shot when they want to study.
His broad grin looked more like a commercial of toothpastes and still that was acceptable. But the message he gave, or at least tried to give, — 'look at Malala! She and likes are the reason why we (West) waged the war' — wasn't acceptable at all. In no way was the West's intervention aimed at rescuing our society or the natives.
Naming a day after Malala Yousufzai and making her a brand ambassador of a cause are laudable steps taken by the masters of our planet. And why wouldn't they do so. In Malala they have found their justification, their means to proclaim their righteousness and a perfect tool to condone their own crimes.
Malala is focussed; she is steadfastly absorbed in her own cause; she wants every single girl child across the world to be educated; she does not understand the meanness of politics and that of the West; she isn't concerned with the innocents the drones of white men kill in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mali and elsewhere. To the West, therefore, she is the perfect tool by which the West seeks to wash its guilt and off load its burdens.
Malala certainly deserves our support because 32 million daughters across the world are in need of a figure to champion their cause. They are kept denied of education by society, poverty, parents and Taleban. We are proud that world has chosen Malala for the job. But, we cannot allow the West to hijack her for its own benefit. We condemn that effort.
The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman