Malala’s shooting: Why are you being so cowardly, Pakistan?

Published: October 11, 2012
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Strangely, bizarrely enough, in the face of these monstrosities our nation, the Pakistani people, have as always chosen the cowards way- to remain silent, to do nothing. PHOTO: REUTERS

In memoriam:

Soon they will forget you,

They will forget the sadness, the horror,

Of what you had to bear-

Most do not know,

Do not care-

But I will always remember you,

You were another girl,

I could not save.

Feminism to most people seems to mean an aggressive, narrow minded, anti-men approach to life that encourages individuals to campaign for female supremacy. Moreover, most people consider it a waste of time in this day and age. But I feel that every Pakistani woman should be a feminist- a feminist in the sense of the word that one should campaign for the rights of women and children in this sordid world we live in and that one should cease to be indifferent to the atrocities and suffering around us.

What makes me a feminist?

Three things, the Mukhtaran Mai case, the case of an unknown girl in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and now the Malala Yousafzai shooting incident.

I remember the first time I heard about Mukhtaran Mai; I was ten-years-old, and I was sitting in a drawing room. There were some ladies sitting nearby discussing, what was then, the most shocking and horrifying incident of the time.

I did not know what was meant by ‘rape’ at that time, but my impression was that whatever this woman had undergone was so terrible that there were no right words to describe her suffering. What sticks in my head is what one of the ladies said,

“It’s so horrible, how could they do such a thing? People say that she begged them to spare her, she said ‘For God’s sake let me go, I teach your children the Quran!’”

Yet, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa case that I read about this September was far, far more haunting and appalling. A girl of no more than eight was abducted from outside her school by three men. They raped her, offered her money, and when she would not stop crying, they beat her to death and dumped her body near her home so that ‘it would be easy for the family to find the body’.

And now, a young girl, Malala Yousafzai, a symbol of hope, perseverance and courage was brutally, nearly fatally, shot by some barbarian who claimed that she was a ‘westernised’ girl who deserved to be gunned down.

And strangely, bizarrely enough, in the face of these monstrosities our nation, the Pakistani people, have as always chosen the cowards’ way ─ to remain silent, to do nothing.

At the most, some apathetic consciences may be stirred to armchair, drawing room or Facebook activism.

But what use is it condemning these crimes and doing nothing effective?

Sure, you may be horrified and disgusted by what has happened, but what of it?

Will this disgust and horror save another potential victim from experiencing these terrible crimes?

No it will not.

I don’t know whether the law enforcement authorities think that we as a people are stupid or blind. The women’s protection bill- at the time of its induction, lauded by feminists like myself-is nothing but a sham to appease foreign organisations and ease the pressure from establishments like the UN to do something about the sickening violations of basic human rights. The bill passed recently, for safeguarding women against acid attacks is likewise a deception.

If these bills were genuine, would not the rapists of Mukhtaran Mai be sentenced to death?

Would not the innumerable acid throwers be dealt with appropriately?

Would not all the depraved monsters of our nation cease to be free and run rampant?

As a nation we decry blasphemy and are ready to lay down our lives to protect our faith. We are ready to take up arms and protest against a blasphemous film— a film that can in no real way affect the station of our beloved Prophet (pbuh).

Is it not blasphemy to silently and indifferently watch God’s creation attacked, humiliated or defiled?

Where are the protests now?

Where are the emotionally charged tirades against the perpetrators of these crimes?

Let me give you one good reason to care; with these mad monsters running wild and free to do as they please, you or your children, God forbid, could be next.

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Leila.Rage

Leila Rage

An aspiring writer and human rights activist who lives in Lahore.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.