18/07/2013 08:24 BST | Updated 16/09/2013 06:12 BST

Assed Baig's Skin Deep Analysis of the West and Malala


This is a reply to Assed Baig's post "Malala Yousafzai and the White Saviour Complex"

To suggest Malala was shot because she "simply wanted an education" is to oversimplify. For in the Taliban's own words:

"We did not attack her for raising voice for education. We targeted her for opposing mujahideen and their war," said the Taliban.

'... we targeted this girl who made fun of jihad, the veil and other Islamic values on behest of the British Broadcasting Corporation."

[From Previous Post]

The Taliban remark also takes away the idea by Baig that the media promoted Malala only after she was shot. Her blogging about education, Islam, the Taliban and terrorism had the BBC's attention before this, and that of the Taliban who had an assassin's bullet as their right of reply.

What "saved" Malala was not a knight in shining armour, but a skilled experienced team of specialised trauma surgeons and intensive care staff in the UK. That a 15 year old being shot for writing about civil rights might strike a chord with activists on these global universal human rights issues should not surprise us, except perhaps Baig and others that suggest a Western saviour complex.

Baig suggests the west are destroying educational opportunities in Pakistan. Forgetting the 750 odd schools targeted and damaged in Taliban controlled areas of Pakistan [Source BBC]. That is deliberate targeted terrorist attacks on the education of children, and indeed to kill children on purpose. That straw man "appease their white-middle class guilt also known as the white man's burden" is Assed being a blow hard - we all want to build schools and see boys and girls educated. Blowing them up is the aim of the Taliban.

Assed attacks Gordon Brown on voting for war and not giving that context when supporting Malala. But then he himself only states the Second Iraq War for the start of educational decline - neglecting the context of education in Iraq. From the Iran/Iraq war onwards teacher salaries became slashed to virtually nothing, the education budget as a percentage of GDP went into decline, the gender parity for enrolment widened, and Baathist ideology became increasingly part of the curriculum.

Under Saddam Hussein a country with one of the best indicators of education in the region became one of the worst, and after the war with Iran, the first Gulf War Saddam invading Kuwait did not help. His wars and misrule did nothing for the children of Iraq.

Assed states the west has an attitude of "Non-white Muslim man ... as someone beyond negotiating with". Which fantasy news world is Baig dreaming up his ideas from? The White House is happy to talk to the Taliban [Source Tribune] and David Cameron says talks with them should have happened a decade ago [Source Telegraph]

Women are looking to fight back on the frontline in the war on the Taliban, rather than waiting for white men to rescue them. This happened last Sunday:

"Twenty-four Pakistani women made history on Sunday when they became the country's first group of female paratroopers to complete their training (AFP). After three weeks of basic airborne training, the women completed their first jump on Sunday and were given their "wings." A military spokesman recognized the historic day and said: "From now on, lady officers will not be restricted to the Army Medical Corps...They will be able to serve alongside men in active combat on the battlefield" (ET). [Source Afpak]

As mentioned in the above source the Taliban are now in Syria spreading their violent ideology.

Malala reminded people in her speech about her friends injured in the attack on her; no one was suggesting she was the only casualty in the theatre of human conflict. She was talking to the UN in a youth forum capacity speaking for one specific reason. As she said:

"Dear fellows, today I am focusing on women's rights and girls' education because they are suffering the most. There was a time when women social activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But, this time, we will do it by ourselves. I am not telling men to step away from speaking for women's rights rather I am focusing on women to be independent to fight for themselves." [Malala's Speech]

She gets to chose what she focuses on, not you or I.

Baig confuses a rallying cry not to abandon the Afghanistan and Pakistan people - women, men, boys and girls - to the Taliban. Instead claiming we are trying to ease our consciences or trying to make up for past sins of colonialism and acting out of a white sense of superior morality or desire to save. I have long since shaken off the sins of my ancestors as a complex. The one that matters to me now is the sin of omission.

When children are targeted for assassination, schools blown up for extreme religious ideological reasons, then the fight is a universal one for all humanity. Forget oil, diamonds, uranium - children are the natural resource worth fighting for and defending.

Art work comes from Lejla Kuric - used with permission [Do check out her site]