Interview: Even If Its People Hate Me, I Will Still Love Pakistan, Says Malala
an article by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (abridged)
Child-rights icon Malala Yousafzai has called on
conspiracy theorists and critics in Pakistan to
think about her message before condemning her. In
an exclusive interview with RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal
correspondent Abdul Hai Kakar, Malala says her
intentions in promoting the rights of girls and
women are pure.
Malala Yousafzai conversing with Abdul Hai Kakar from RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal
click on photo to enlarge
RFE/RL: In Pakistan, some people claim that you did
not write the blog for BBC Urdu that brought you
into the limelight. How would you respond to such
Malala Yousafzai: The month of January in 2009
was the most dangerous of times in Swat. Every
night the Taliban used to slaughter two or three
people in Green Square in the center of Mingora.
One day that month, my father told me that a BBC
journalist was requesting a blog by one of our
students. He asked me, 'Would you like to do it?'
I told him, "Sure, I will do it because it is a
good opportunity for us to tell the world what the
people of Swat -- the children and, specifically,
the girls here -- think." I was very happy and
told my father that I would write the blog or
would just dictate it over the phone. . . .
RFE/RL: Some clerics in Pakistan say that you are
being manipulated by the West for their own
objectives, and that your rise is part of a
conspiracy against the country. Do you see any merit
in such allegations?
Malala: Any talk of me engaging in a conspiracy
against Pakistan is completely baseless. Pakistan
is already in the midst of many conspiracies. The
situation there has been deteriorating for a long
time. We have not gone a day without hearing about
a few people being shot in [the southern seaport
city of] Karachi. We have not gone a day without
people being murdered. I want people to remember
that Pakistan is my country. It is like my mother
and I love it dearly. Even if its people hate me,
I will still love it. . . .
RFE/RL: Adnan Rashid, a Pakistani Taliban commander,
recently wrote an open letter to you. He alleged
that your campaign was not aimed at promoting
education and was really targeted against the
Taliban. How would you respond to him?
Malala: It was his right to express his views. I
think I have a right to live my life the way I
like. I did not engage in propaganda against the
Taliban, I only spoke about girls' right to
education, and the Taliban had banned girls from
going to school. So I am against some of the
things that the Taliban has done and advocates. No
doubt I am against banning children from
education. I stand for every girl to be able to go
Note: Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter
for this article.
Question(s) related to this article:
What is the relation between peace and education?,
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Letter from Mohatma Gandhi to Maria Montessori.
To Madame Montessori
Even as you, out of your love for children, are endeavoring to teach children, through your numerous institution, the best that can be brought out of them, even so, I hope that it will be possible not only for the children of the wealthy and the well-to-do, but for the children of paupers to receive training of this nature. You have very truly remarked that if we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have the struggle, we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.
Mohatma Gandhi, Young India, 19-11-''31