Libmonster ID: TJ-535


Doctor of Philology Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: Pakistan, SwatTalibanPashtunswar on terrorwomen's education, UN

On July 12, 2013, an unusual guest addressed the audience at the UN headquarters in New York. On the podium, which has seen so many prominent politicians and public figures in its lifetime, stood a girl who celebrated her sixteenth birthday on this day - Malala Yousafzai.

Wrapped from head to toe in a pink shawl, from which her thin face peeked out like a cocoon, she addressed the audience, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, touching them as "brothers and sisters".

Malala said that a quarter of the world's girls and women still do not have access to primary education, and that in her native Pakistan, a girl's desire to learn can cost her her life, and ended with words that are now repeated by the entire world press.: "One child, one teacher, one book and one pencil can change the whole world" 1.


Malala's story is a testament to the new benefits and dangers that the information technology age promises to the average person. If it hadn't been for television and the Internet, Malala wouldn't have come within a hair's breadth of death, but she would never have known today's triumph. Malala was born into a Sunni Muslim family belonging to the largest Pashtun tribe, the Yousafzai. She was named after the folk heroine and poet Malalai, who participated in the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1881) and inspired the Pashtuns to defeat the British at the Battle of Maiwand (1880).

Named after the warrior maiden, "the Afghan Joan of Arc", Malala was born in the city of Mingora, which is located in the Swat Valley, a district of the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bordering Afghanistan. Swat, which was a princely state in Pakistan until 1969, is surrounded by high mountains, a carpet of green meadows and lakes with clear water, and until recently was considered a popular resort and tourist center. For its geographical location and the Swat natural complex.

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It is called "Pakistan Switzerland".

Here, on the banks of the cool mountain river Swat, people from all over Pakistan came in the summer to escape from the tropical heat. Numerous hotels, large and small, were crowded around the water's edge. Foreigners also came to Swat to relax and look at Buddhist antiquities. In the V-VII centuries AD, there were many Buddhist monasteries on the territory of Swat, and their picturesque ruins attracted European travelers. A big fan of these places was a young officer Winston Churchill, who served in British India, very close to Mingora (here you can still see the watchtower called "Churchill's Picket"). In 1962, the British Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Edinburgh enjoyed a brief holiday in Swat.

In 2004, a long-term armed confrontation between Pashtun tribes and the central government began in the north-west of Pakistan, in the mountainous region of Waziristan. One of the reasons for this war was the US anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan, which led to the displacement of the leaders of the Afghan Taliban movement and Al-Qaeda terrorists to the territory of Pakistan controlled by Pashtun tribes.


At the end of 2007, 5 thousand Pakistani Taliban under the leadership of Mullah Fazlullah opened a new front in the Swat region and established their own order in most of it. In February 2009, the authorities of the North-Western Border Province (since 2010, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province) concluded an agreement with the radical Islamists of Fazlullah, according to which Islamic law (Sharia) was introduced in the territory of Swat controlled by Islamists. All laws that contradict sharia law were annulled2. The measure was supposed to allow a truce to be reached between the Pakistani armed forces and local Islamic insurgents, which in turn would lead to normalization of life in Swat. Unfortunately, this did not happen, and today the Swat Valley is still rocked by explosions and terrorist attacks.

Under the rule of Mullah Fazlullah, time in Swat turned back to the Middle Ages. His" Movement for the Introduction of the Law of Muhammad " (Tehreek-e-nafaz-e-shariatp-e-Muhammadi) was banned in the rest of Pakistan as extremely extremist. The newly established Sharia courts fought against the manifestations of the "pro-Western" lifestyle: cinemas were closed, cable TV and the Internet were turned off, and the sale of CDs was banned. Electronics were seized from stores and video shows and publicly burned.

True, for all his hatred of electronic means of transmitting information, Mullah Fazlullah himself regularly preached for many hours using a primitive radio station, for which he received the nickname "Radio Mullah". Men were forbidden to shave their beards, and hairdressers suffered the most from this prohibition, who were not allowed to shave their clients on pain of the death penalty. Fazlullah, who himself suffered from polio as a child and therefore limped all his life, forbade vaccinating children against this terrible disease, declaring that the vaccine causes impotence and infertility and is an invention of the United States and Israel in order to "reduce the Muslim population" 3.


As has always been the case in tribal societies, the Taliban's most severe restrictions were on women who were not allowed to go out without a male escort, sing and dance at weddings, participate in elections, or attend educational institutions. Under the Taliban rule, 400 schools in Swat were closed, some of them were blown up, and 40 thousand girls were deprived of the opportunity to study.

Malala had an undeniable advantage over many of her peers: her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, an educator, activist and owner of a girls ' school in Mingora, was involved in her daughter's education, including political education, from an early age. When Malala was just 11 years old, her father organized her first public appearance at the Peshawar Press Club, where the girl openly declared: "How dare the Taliban deprive me of my ancestral right to education?"4. This bold statement of the teenager was carried around the world not only by the Pakistani media, but also by American-Canadian newspapers, which indicates the ambitions of her father, who began to prepare the girl for a political career at an early age.

In early 2009, the editors of the Urdu-language BBC service approached Ziauddin Yousafzai, as the school's owner, to recommend a student who would be willing to run a blog about children's lives under the Taliban. Despite the danger of such an enterprise, Ziauddin recommended his own daughter to journalists on the condition that her real name would not be revealed. So Malala began to keep her online diary for the BBC website under the pseudonym Gul Makai (translated as a wild flower like a cornflower; the name of the heroine of Pashtun folklore). "Gul Makai's Diary" with its childishly unsophisticated sketches of the terrible events of everyday life was compared by some to "The Diary of Anne Frank". Here are typical excerpts from this diary::

"Saturday, January 3. On the way home from school, I heard a man behind me say, " I'm sorry, I'm sorry.: "I'll kill you." I quickened my pace and after a while turned to see if he was following me. But to my relief, he was talking on his cell phone and probably threatening someone else."

"Monday, January 5. I was preparing for school and wanted to put on a uniform, but then I remembered that our principal told us to come in our usual clothes instead of our school uniforms. Then I decided to wear my favorite pink shalwar kameez (a traditional Pakistani woman's costume, salwar kameez with many colors).

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loose tunic). The other girls also wore bright clothes, so the school looked homey. However, at the morning line-up, we were told not to wear bright clothes anymore, as the Taliban forbid it."

"Monday, January 19. Five other schools were destroyed, one very close to my house. It's amazing, because these schools were already closed, so why would they want to destroy them?"

"Thursday, January 22. I'm tired of staying at home, but I have to-since the girls ' schools were closed. My friends are leaving Swat, it's dangerous here. In the evening, Maulana Shah Dauran (a representative of the Taliban) again demanded that women not leave their homes. The Taliban introduced public flogging in Swat... It is announced that tomorrow three thieves will be publicly flogged and that everyone can come to watch... Would anyone really want to watch this?"

5" Saturday, January 24. One of my brothers, who is five years old, was playing on the front lawn. When my father asked him what he played, he said: "I'm digging a grave."

At first glance, it is not entirely clear why Malala's diary so annoyed the Taliban: in her simple notes, you can not find either the deadly "blasphemy" that scares Muslims, or the "slander of the Prophet", or the "worship of Western culture" that she was later accused of. It seems that these short notes of a schoolgirl simply destroyed the legend of a happy society of universal justice, which supposedly brings the Taliban power to Pakistanis. However, the further activities of Malala and her father, with the support of the Western media, launched a campaign against the Taliban, were fraught with real threats.

In 2009, journalists from The NewYork Times made a documentary based on Malala's blog, " The Class Is Disbanded. Malala's story". In the film, which was broadcast on many international TV channels, Malala no longer performs under a pseudonym, but under her own name. In fairly fluent English, although with a strong Pakistani accent, she talks about her dreams and plans and, in particular, states: "My goal is to serve humanity. I must become a politician and save my country from constant crises. " 6

In May 2009, government forces launched a large-scale military operation to push the Taliban out of Swat (it was called the "Second Battle for Swat"). Fighting raged in the streets of Mingora, and the population fled their homes in panic. Malala was sent to live with relatives in the village, and her father, who was sentenced to death in absentia by the Taliban, moved to Peshawar to continue campaigning against the Taliban. In Peshawar, Yousafzai's father and daughter met with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, and this purely protocol meeting later led detractors to accuse Malala of being a "US agent".

After three months of exile, the Yousafzai family reunited and returned to Swat, which was devastated but liberated from the Taliban. "Radio Mullah" with the remnants of his detachments went abroad - to Afghanistan. And Malala continued her studies and enthusiastically plunged into social activities. In 2010, she was elected head of the Swat Children's Assembly, created by the decision and with the financial support of UNICEF. In 2011, she was awarded the first National Youth Peace Prize, an award created specifically for her. Portraits of Malala, posters with her photos hung in all Pakistani schools.


The more Malala's fame grew, the more often she received warnings to keep quiet and behave modestly, as a Muslim girl should. Threats came in the mail, even printed in newspapers. "We don't want to kill her, but what can we do if she still won't shut up," one of Radio Mullah's aides said in an interview7.

On 9 October 2012, a school bus carrying Malala was stopped by masked gunmen on her way home from school. One of the militants entered the bus and began to question the girls, who of them was Malala. When her identity was established - which was not difficult, since the girl's portraits were everywhere - the gunman shot Malala twice, hitting her in the head and neck. One of the bullets went through, and two schoolgirls, Shazia and Kainat, who were sitting behind Malala, also received gunshot wounds. Malala was taken by helicopter to a military hospital in Peshawar in critical condition.

Although after a three-hour operation, the surgeon still managed to remove the bullet, the girl was in a coma, and the chances of her recovery were low. Later, when Malala Yousafzai's condition was somewhat stable, the Pakistani government arranged for her to be transported to the United States.

page 35

UK, where the girl was treated and rehabilitated in a Birmingham hospital.

The Taliban Movement of Pakistan (Tehreek-e-taliban-e-Pakistan) claimed responsibility for the attempted murder of Malala, calling the girl "a symbol of unbelief and shamelessness" and saying that " Sharia law allows even children to be punished if they oppose Islam."8. This time, however, the Taliban statement did not find support in Pakistani society, even in its most conservative circles. A group of reputable religious figures issued a fatwa strongly condemning the attempted murder of a teenager. The reaction of ordinary people in Pakistan was acute: Anti-Taliban rallies and demonstrations in support of Malala were held in various cities of the country. The government announced a reward of Rs 10 million.* for information that will help catch criminals.

While doctors were fighting for Malala's life in a British hospital, a campaign in support of her was spreading in the West. Former First Lady Laura Bush wrote an article about her in The Washington Post, comparing Malala to Anne Frank 9. Hollywood movie star Angelina Jolie has launched a fundraiser to benefit Malala and other Pakistani girls who were denied school opportunities by the Taliban.10 Time magazine named Malala one of the 100 most influential people of 2012, with an article about her written by Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton.11

The assassination attempt on Malala was publicly condemned by President Obama, leaders of other Western countries, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The UN has declared July 12 (Yousafzai's birthday) international "Malala Day"12. The girl was showered with prizes and awards for her contribution to women's education and the protection of human rights. The apotheosis of this recognition was her nomination by members of the Norwegian Parliament for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. 13

However, the most extravagant action in support of Malala was the performance of the scandalous singer Madonna, who on the day of the attempt on the girl gave a concert in Los Angeles. Madonna dedicated her song Human Nature to her and at the end of the performance, turning her back on the audience, arranged a small striptease. On the pop diva's bare, muscular back, viewers could read the name MALALA 14 written in large black letters. It is easy to anticipate the reaction to this speech in Pakistan. Kakar Khan, a former leader of the Afghan Taliban, put it this way: "If anyone has any doubts about Malala's game, let them watch a Madonna striptease."15

Indeed, while one part of the world was admiring Malala's courage and showering her with awards, another part of the world was debating whose agent she was and whether the attempt on her life was staged, once again justifying the "war on terror" and the American bombing campaign in northern Pakistan.

In Pakistani society, even in its educated and liberal strata, conspiracy theories are very popular. The assassination attempt on Malala was no exception. Representatives of the Taliban and the religious parties Jama-at-e-Islami and Jamiyat-e-ula-ma-e-Islam called her an American spy. In particular, the leader of the latter, Fazlur Rehman, claimed that there was no attempt on Malala's life at all, but that it was staged by the US special services with the consent of Malala's family and with the support of President A. A. Zardari. Malala allegedly only pretended to be injured, and doctors in Peshawar were also involved in the conspiracy.

As proof that Malala was not operated on, her photos taken in the hospital were cited. On them, the girl's head is covered, but not bandaged-

* $1 is approximately equal to 104 Pakistani rupees.

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on, and under the white shawl, the hairline is visible. Fazlur Rehman, claiming to be a neurosurgeon, claimed that if Malala had actually had surgery, her hair would have been shaved off.16

However, anyone who has seen Malala's performances on television may have noticed that the girl's face is distorted by paresis-the result of a wound to the right side of the head.

The attitude of most ordinary Pakistanis towards Malala is ambiguous. On the one hand, people sympathize with her, on the other-they consider her story unnecessarily inflated by the Western media. Children, including school-age girls, were targeted by the Taliban before and after Malala. As a recent example, in June 2013, terrorists blew up a university bus on the outskirts of Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, killing 14 first-year female students. No international actions or campaigns in support of these victims of terror were held, which seems unfair to many. In several schools in Swat, schoolgirls tore up portraits of Malala, allegedly in protest against her participation in a "campaign against Islam." "If she were a good Muslim, would she be supported by such enemies of Islam as Obama, Bush and Madonna?" - one of the 17 girls explained her action.

In fact, as practice shows, any political or cultural event in Pakistan that is supported by the West, in particular, the United States, immediately falls into the "conspiracy theory" zone.

Something similar recently happened with the first Pakistani film, which won the highest cinematographic award "Oscar" in 2012. Intellectuals and journalists, i.e. the progressive part of society, accused the film's director, Sharmeen Ubaid-Chinoy, of being a conduit for American influence on Pakistani art. 18 In Malala's case, the very list of people who have led the campaign to glorify her - Barack Obama, Bush's wife, the Clintons ' mother and daughter, Angelina Jolie, not to mention Madonna-looks odious to the average Pakistani. These are either politicians who fought a war with the Muslim world over the years, or icons of Western mass culture rejected by Islam.

* * *

Today it is already known that Malala did not receive the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize: the Nobel Committee preferred the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, whose activities were particularly relevant given the current situation around Syria. But on October 11, 2013, the day the new Nobel laureate's name was published, Malala was received in the Oval Office of the White House as a "consolation prize." Obama, who announced that in her honor, this day will now be considered International Girls ' Day 19. In the first decade of October, the autobiography "I am Malala"20, written in collaboration with the famous American journalist Christina Lamb, specializing in Pakistan, was published in the United States in a huge circulation. The publication of this book was accompanied by numerous interviews and press conferences, during which Malala declared that she was not a "puppet of the West" and was proud to be a Pakistani 21.

Indeed, Malala and her father will have a difficult choice: to return home, where they will be rejected and even gloated by many compatriots (after all, the award was not given to her!), or to stay in the West, reaping the fruits of success and public attention, which, as a result of any sensation, is unlikely to last. But Malala Yousafzai is only 16 years old, and we can only hope that her story will continue happily.

1 Student who was attacked by the Taliban speaks at the UN -

Matthias Gebauer. 2 Pakistan's Swat valley: in the realm of Mullah Fazlullah - ullah-a-518962.html

Ashfal Yusufzai. 3 Impotence fears hit polio drive

Rick Westhead. 4 Brave Defiance in Pakistan's SwatValley - ml

5 Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl -

Ellick Adam, Ashraf Irfan. 6 Class dismissed. Malala's story - 296/class-dismissed.html

7 "Radio Mullah" sent his squad after Malala Yousufzai -

Declan Walsh. 8 Taliban Reiterate Vow to Kill Pakistani Girl - ml?hp&_r-0

Bush Laura. 9 A girl's courage challenges us to act // The Washington Post, 10 October 2012.

Angelina Jolie. 10 We all are Malala -

11 The 100 Most Influential People in The World // Time, April 29, 2013, p. 140.

12 Malala Day -

Kari Huus. 13 Malala, teen champion of girls' rights, nominated for Nobel Peace Prize - ights-nominated-for-nobel-peace-prize

Seth Ahramovitch. 14 Madonna Dedicates LA. Performance to Child Activist Shot in Pakistan // The Hollywood Reporter, 11 October 2012.

Sami Yousafzai. 15 Malala: With Friends like Madonna // The Daily Beast, 22 October 2012.

Crilly Rob. 16 Pakistani Islamist politician claims Malala was not injured // The Telegraph, 20 November 2012.

Abdullah Al Andalusi. 17 The Shooting of Malala Yousafzai and the 'Great Game' - me/

18 See: Suvorova A. A. The first Pakistani "Oscar": international recognition or information War? // Asia and Africa today. 2012, N 9.

19 Obama meets Malala Yousafzai -


21 Malala says she is no Western puppet - malala-says-shes-no-western-puppet-111 442739.html


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