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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 assertions?

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 to school.

Note: Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.

DISCUSSION

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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


This report was posted on October 11, 2013.