Malala Human Rights Advocate

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Law

Document 1

Malala Yousafzai’s story is one of the legendary stories that is unheard-of, influential and full of optimism. In addition to being a young girl who can easily be presumed to be little-bothered by the happenings in her community, she is just as vulnerable as the inhabitants of Swat Valley. Nonetheless, she is courageous enough to condemn the barbaric Sharia laws which deprive girls of their basic right to education. Malala exemplifies a social bandit with traits that inspire social, political and economic change. The political upheavals and the ensuing social environment in which Malala is brought up plays a critical role in her desire to be a girl child education activist. Women become the biggest victims and the most oppressed by the Taliban brutality as men appear to be the main oppressors (Shenila 540).

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While the majority of people presumably supports the Taliban’s Sharia law, a few showed courage and spoke strongly against the atrocities the Taliban group committed to the people especially forbidding girls from attending schools. According to Kooistra, when a nation fails to reflect popular conceptions of justice, especially in a culturally complex society, figures of extra-legal justice begin to emerge (Kooistra 226). As a result of the inability of the Pakistan government to contain the Islamist group and its influence in the region, many social, economic and political disorders emerged. The social freedom of people is severely affected as the Taliban group is determined to control all aspects of people’s social life entirely from the way they dress to the way in which they worship.

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Her name is said to be the name of a legend who died while fighting for freedom from the British colonies. Malala is a name that depicts freedom from oppression, and she grew up, she exactly stood for that. At the age of ten when she realizes that the Islamist group, Taliban is against girl education, Malala sees it as unacceptable, portraying the character of an activist. Her spirit of activism is revealed in the novel when she recounts how she saw a girl selling oranges but the girl was struggling to keep stock of her merchandises because of illiteracy and “[…] vowed I would do everything in my power to help educate girls like her. This was the war I was going to fight,” (Malala 108).

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Malala becomes the primary target of the Taliban Islamist group because she disregards the Sharia laws and sees them as oppressive to her community. She considers herself as part and parcel of the community and sees the problem facing Swat Valley community as inherently hers. Though young and just a girl, and considering the complex nature of the society in which she is brought up, Malala emerges out as a symbol of extra-legal justice endowed with the symbolic power to fight for what she believes is the best cause for her community. In response to the Taliban’s attempt to ban education for girls, Malala is quoted saying that, “The Taliban could take our pens and books, but they could not stop our minds from thinking,” (Malala 77).

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She writes and publicly speaks against the Sharia law, which to the Taliban Islamist group and their sympathizers, is a rebellion and deviation from the norms of the community. The actions of Malala had a profound impact on her life and that of her family as a whole. She did not only survive a gunshot, but she also moved away from home and country not to come back again. Her activism drew the attention of the international community for standing firm and remaining steadfast in her quest to restore the girl child’s right to access education. The attempted murder of Malala by the Taliban Militia became a turning point in her life. After the shooting, she realizes the magnitude of change that had taken place in her life.

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For being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala gained international recognition for being the first youngest girl activist in history. She was even invited to speak at the United Nations during her sixteenth birthday. Malala’s story is one that has influenced not only the Swat Valley community but the entire globe for the bravery that is unprecedented. As Seal argues, the outlaw heroes can influence, shape and even compel communities which are against the status quo (Seal 68). In Malala’s context, the influence is so enormous that it has driven communities with old-centuries practices and beliefs to claim equal rights in all aspects of life. For being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala gained international recognition for being the first youngest girl activist in history.

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