It doesn’t matter how much they promote their beliefs and thinking liberally; it doesn’t matter if they wear three-piece suits with ties because their trousers will still end above their ankles. It doesn’t matter because no one has ever told them anything different, because in any case, they are against learning, understanding, and thinking. It seems like they have some bizarre enmity with education, wisdom, and intellect. Their thirst for learning and intellect can either be satisfied by our maulvi hazraat, or by those self-proclaimed intellectuals who rule the media today.
But when these perfume-drenched intellectuals in colourful clothes embroidered with flowers open their mouths, rivers of wisdom and intellect begin gushing out. Our nation suffers from a famine of learning; the book and the pen were taken away from it ages ago. What little ability to think, to challenge and question that the nation still retains is slowly being eradicated. Their thirst for learning is so easily satisfied by this handful of intellectuals, who have only a couple of books to their reading credit. Neither will they read themselves, nor let others read. They consider themselves to be intellectuals merely on what they have heard and understood.
The media and the social media have produced solutions to all problems. People share and comment on things without having read them through, and without understanding them. TV channels constantly shove a microphone in a passer-by’s face, and then air whatever gibberish is said by the latter. Ignorance is being promoted with immense diligence, while the gates of learning are being closed down one by one. Those doors of education that haven’t closed yet have been given up to the care of some of the greatest ignoramuses to be found. So how can they educate the public, and why would they do that anyway?
When a daughter of this nation is honoured greatly by the entire world, for them it seems that their sense of honour was sullied. What a nation this is! A nation considers thieves, terrorists, and murderers its heroes, and worth every honour it can bestow on them. But if someone does something good, winning immense respect from all over the world for this country, then that individual is likely to be treated with scorn. The speeches and press conferences of the so-called representatives of the people are aired live by TV channels, even if they are filled with insults and lies. But if a daughter of this nation addresses the entire world on the issues of education, women’s rights, and the right of a child to education in our country, on the same platform where thieves and dictators have represented us, it is ignored by the media in favour of the latter, which it airs with pride.
The hatred and the stench that has begun to emanate from the people is due to the fact that she is our own daughter, but has been mistakenly born a woman in Pakistan. Her job is to look after the house; reading, writing, and thinking are only for the men to do. If a woman writes something, the male intellectuals are flustered, and think that it is a man writing with a female pseudonym, probably that woman’s father, husband or lover wrote it, because a woman cannot simply write like that. Similarly, they think that Malala’s speech was written by someone else because she can’t possibly write like that. Not only do those who fear light and prefer darkness think this way, but also those who like to call themselves ‘progressive’, ‘liberal’, and many other labels like these share these ideas. They are all bothered about why she equated a certain person with another in her speech. A 16-year-old who evidently has read more widely than all these commentators combined, was addressing her peers, hence her simple language. Then why must you expect her to philosophise in her speech when you are doing that job yourselves.
For those who say that she did not write the speech herself, about a week before the speech, a journalist of the Jang and Geo jirga fame and a former Jamaati described his visit to United Kingdom in his column of July 6 in Jang newspaper. In his column, he wrote about how he visited Malala and her family at their Birmingham residence, and stated that Malala had written her UN speech herself and read it out to him. He had disagreed with several points she had raised in the speech, and asked her to remove or change them. But she refused flatly and did not change anything. But our nation of habitual non-readers cannot fathom how a 16-year-old Pashtun girl from Swat could say all these things.
The killers who had been sent to murder her had not been sent on a whim. They are the people who are always prepared to wipe out any ray of hope that they can see. They have already extinguished so many similar flames of hope. But God has blessed not just Malala herself but also this country, this nation, and the women of this soil by keeping this particular flame alight. Malala is the voice of the women of tomorrow, who are feared by the worshippers of darkness, and always will be feared by them.
I see Pakistan’s bright future in Malala’s countenance; a future that will be in the hands of women, who are as strong as her, and think and comprehend like her, and are as genuinely patriotic as her. The country’s future will be in the hands of women who are proud to be women. Those who carry rubbish in their minds will be told by their daughters, sisters, and mothers that the future of the nation lies in the same woman who these people attempt to shroud in mounds of veils. Not only will she shine herself, but also spread the light of education across this nation that is so deprived of learning.
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