Ten-year-old Nadia was at school when a drone strike hit her house, killing her mother and father. Having moved in with an aunt in a nearby town, Nadia told Center for Civilians in Conflict she had “no source of income with my parents gone… my aunt looks after me now and I help her in the house… but I want admission to school. I want an education.” More here.
what happened to malala is horrific – it should never have happened in the first place. it was not malala’s dream to “blog” about her life, little girls in swat don’t necessarily subscribe to this western idea of publicly articulating their liberation on the web. it was a bbc reporter’s idea. he approached malala’s father to find a girl who would be able to do this project for the bbc. malala’s dad runs a school in swat. he approached some of the most capable girls in the school but they (and their families) refused. he then offered the services of his own 11 yr old daughter. the bbc agreed. initially, her name was kept anonymous. but later malala’s father wanted to nominate her for an intl peace prize and he decided to reveal her identity. i find all these decisions taken by adults, about an 11 yr old child, to be irresponsible, in fact downright reckless. now, once again, this little girl is being celebrated by adults as their heroine. it might have been better to have allowed her to be a normal little girl, not some kind of symbol. more on this background here.
the connection between malala and nadia is inexorable. when people like christine fair come out of this tragedy with “drones r the only option” or pakistani liberals (much like their american liberal counterparts) come out on the streets with placards that read “drones must kill so malala can live” then it becomes impossible not to talk about nadia and her tragedy. she was supposed to be the sacrificial lamb for liberals all over the world, in their determined fight against extremism. unfortunately, malala could still not be saved.
it’s not just malala who wanted to go to school and become a doctor. many little girls (and little boys) in the world aspire to great things. all their dreams should be equally important to us.
we can’t stop the taliban (in fact the war on terror has been a boon to them), but we can try to stop the drone attacks ordered by our elected president and paid for by our tax dollars.