Red is Black

By Rabia Umaima Ahmed

The day Malala was shot, I went to my university wearing a black ribbon as a sign of protest. I received a mixed response, largely negative and discouraging. Even the bus conductor did not spare me his sarcasm. That was when I realized what most girls, not just Malala, have to go through.

Observing everything happening around us, it’s easy to conclude that we have no sense of balance left in our temperament. It’s more like a pendulum now. We can shout over the target killings, drone attacks, political issues and each ill of the society, but when it comes to the minorities, we make every attempt to justify shameless mistreatment. We are not ready to accept newly emerging educated and well-informed politicians, and wish to keep voting for the feudal who keep their own people deprived of the basic necessities of life. We love to display our hate towards the West, but still use its gadgets and dream of obtaining a foreign nationality. We can count the statistics of the divorces and the domestic violence taking place in the foreign countries, but when it comes to Pakistan, we either close our eyes, or naively put all the blame on the women to justify the torture against them. We shed tears over the chaos and destabilization in other Muslim countries but won’t condemn what is happening in our own state, right under our nose. This list can go on and on.

Coming back to Malala, what exactly is our problem? Her being shot? Oh no! That surely can’t be. Nothing new and shocking about a citizen getting shot, right? Well, then it must be education. Yes, it must be, because when women are educated, they would know how to protect themselves. How to raise their voice, how to question the suppressors and even walkout when the domination exceeds its limits. Being a male dominated society, topped with the “self-oriented religion” cherry, we have lost track of the actual message of our Prophet (PBUH).

Now again coming to the point, why Malala? Well, why Sir Syed? Why Iqbal? Why Jinnah? Why Benazir Bhutto? Why Dr. Abdus Salam? Why Moin Akhtar? Why Shahid Afridi? Why Anwar Maqsood? Why Ali Moeen? Why Arfa Kareem? And last but not the least why Imran Khan? These people were not the chosen ones right from their birth. They stood up for something in life. They dreamed. They worked hard, and they proved themselves. They had a spark that ignited them and they spread their light across the globe. The world appreciated them. Does that mean we start calling them ‘agents of the West’ now? Who is stopping you, the scores who are so quick to demonize this girl, from going out there and taking a stand for something you believe in? Go ahead. Perhaps you can rise above the rest.

The State is being maligned by a 16-year old girl, according to its citizens. Her dedication towards education is a heinous crime in a country where burying women alive, exchanging them on the orders of jirgas, parading them naked and presenting them to be raped, marrying them to the Quran to save honour, are all acceptable practices. In addition, Pakistanis are routinely deported from all countries across the world due to illegal activities, human trafficking and provocation of violence. Now, having a green passport is becoming a global problem.

There is another issue that’s bothering all of us. Malala should return to Pakistan. Yes, I agree, she should. But will we give her the same protection as our leaders have? The same protocol? My dear fellows, accept the reality: witnesses to crimes also don’t come forward due to the lack of security. So how do you expect her to return?

As far as the letter of Adnan Rasheed to Malala is concerned, I hate to waste my time on discussing this man. Any person who attacks the President and Army Chief of my country is a criminal and a traitor. Period. And when he himself claims that Allah is the best judge, then neither he nor his “brothers” have any right to forcefully impose their religious school of thought on anyone.

It’s about time we learn to solve our problems in a civilized manner, which can be done only through “education”. As the conditions are getting worse, I hardly see any hope. There is no unity or equality existing in our state. To me, “red is black” now, blood flowing in our streets is a stigma on our existence. God bless us.


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