Note: this piece is from last year, before Malala won the Peace Prize. But I still think the commentary is good.
The Jewish Forward poignantly notes that “As touching as Stewart’s interview with her was, and it was touching, it did overlook a big part of what makes Malala Malala, and that is her religion. Yousafzai is a Muslim, and sees the potential for reform within the context of Islam, and not, like other prominent feminists from Muslim countries, outside of it.”
In all the Western media craze over Malala, there is another key point ignored about her: she is not only a Muslim feminist, she is a socialist with Marxist tendencies. In her own words: “I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.”
Malala has taken part in the national Marxist Summer School in Swat. In a message she sent while recovering from her injury, she wrote the follow, which the Western media has ignored in their attempt to appropriate her:
“I’d like to thank The Struggle and the IMT for giving me a chance to speak last year at their Summer Marxist School in Swat and also for introducing me to Marxism and Socialism. I just want to say that in terms of education, as well as other problems in Pakistan, it is high time that we did something to tackle them ourselves. It’s important to take the initiative. We cannot wait around for any one else to come and do it. Why are we waiting for someone else to come and fix things? Why aren’t we doing it ourselves?
“I would like to send my heartfelt greetings to the congress. I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.”
This same appropriation by the bourgeois, corporate media and even by Queen Elizabeth II andPresident Obama, is reminiscent of the way in which Western schools have appropriated Helen Keller, who was famously Communist. While the moral lesson taught in American schools about Keller is: “with a lot of hard work and determination, you can overcome any obstacle,” Keller herself widely explained that her ability to communicate in spite of the obstacles that life had handed her were a result of her father’s socio-economic class. Had she been born poor, she would have remained unable to communicate on the level that she eventually became famous for.
Now, this is happening with Malala. She has become the darling of Western corporate media, politicians and even Islamaphobes trying to exploit her message and activism for their own bigoted purposes. All of this in spite of the fact that she is a Muslim feminist who sees reform framed in the context of Islam and socialism. This media ploy only works if we allow them to get away with it. SPREAD THE WORD, and let everyone know the REAL Malala Yousafzai, in her own words!