News Release

* Syria * Pakistani Malala Yousafzai’s Shooting

IARA LEE [email]
A filmmaker, Lee’s latest documentary is “The Suffering Grasses,” which was filmed at the Syria-Turkey border. She wrote the piece “The Only True Revolution in Syria Is Nonviolent.”

The Los Angeles Times reports: “Malala Yousafzai, the teenage education-rights campaigner who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan, has been able to stand for the first time since the attack and is communicating by writing, a British hospital official said Friday. But the 14-year-old whose plight has aroused international concern is still fighting an infection caused by the bullet that entered her skull, burrowed through her jaw and lodged in her shoulder blade…”

SONALI KOLHATKAR [email]
Kolhatkar is co-author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence and is co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission. She said today: “The U.S. has been waging an undeclared drone war in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including in the Swat valley where Malala Yousufzai was attacked. What is not being heard amidst the uproar is that U.S. and Pakistani government actions in that region have harmed and killed more civilians than ‘militants,’ and have ended up strengthening the very Taliban and other fundamentalist forces that targeted Malala. War doesn’t bring women’s education and liberation. The past decade has proven that.”

DERRICK O’KEEFE [email], @derrickokeefe
O’Keefe is co-author of Afghan member of parliament Malalai Joya’s political memoir, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice. He recently wrote the piece “Sickening attack on 14-year-old Malala used to justify more war and western intervention,” which states: “The shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai has unleashed a wave of revulsion and protest in Pakistan, along with a wave of media attention around the world.

“Across the political spectrum people are, quite naturally, interpreting this brutal crime through their own ideological lenses.

“Unfortunately, leaps of logic and aggressive, violent non-sequiturs abound — in both the misogyny-addled justifications for this brazen assassination attempt and in the attempts to use this sickening attack as cover or justification for deadly and destructive foreign interventions.

“The criminals themselves have tried to dress up their disgusting actions in the language of anti-imperialism. A spokesman for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan told the media, ‘She was pro-West, she was speaking against Taliban and she was calling President Obama her idol.’

“I have seen no evidence to substantiate these claims about young Malala’s views. An international Marxist group has said that Malala was in fact a sympathiser of theirs. But little else has been reported in the media pertaining to Malala’s political opinions, beyond the obvious that she has been a courageous advocate of education for women and girls. And of course — it should not even have to be said — assassinating a child would never be justified in any circumstances, whatever her political views.

“This rhetoric from the group that targeted Malala is, to say the least, an ‘anti-imperialism of fools,’ and fortunately seems to have fooled only a very small minority in Pakistan. Civil society, religious and political leaders across Pakistan and around the world have condemned the shooting. Yesterday, tens of thousands marched in Karachi to demand justice for Malala’s would-be assassins.

“There has also been no shortage of pro-imperialist fools enlisting the moral power of Malala’s plight to put forward their own pro-war views. Sometimes this process is subtle; often it is vulgar, aggressive and ahistorical.

“Take Piers Morgan — as CNN recently did. …”