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Fri Oct 10, 2014, 02:22 PM

Don’t Reduce Malala Yousafzai to a Cuddly Caricature of the “Bravest Girl in the World”

Earlier this week, I argued that the Nobel Peace Prize should go to nobody, “as an acknowledgment that the most notable eruptions of violence have been so grimly predictable, the result of years of individual and collective failures by governments and international institutions.” Despite that sentiment, I certainly don’t object to the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award this year’s prize to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi for, as the announcement put it, “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

The most surprising thing about the award may be how unsurprising it is. The last few peace prizes—particularly the ones given to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons last year, the EU in 2012, and Barack Obama in 2009—have been unexpected curveballs. Yousafzai, by contrast, was mentioned as a strong favorite in nearly every story leading up to Friday’s prize announcement.

The 17-year-old, who was shot in the by the Taliban in 2012 for campaigning for girls’ education in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, has become an international household name, particularly following her high-profile speech to the United Nations last year, and has authored a best-selling memoir.

Satyarthi, a 60-year-old campaigner against child labor in India, is much less well-known. He’s known for mounting raids on factories employing children—sometimes facing down armed guards—as well as running a rehabilitation center for liberated children, organizing the Global March Against Child Labour, and setting up a certification system to ensure that carpets are made without child labor.


http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_world_/2014/10/10/malala_yousafzai_don_t_reduce_the_nobel_peace_prize_winner_to_a_cuddly_caricature.html?wpsrc=fol_tw



Malala Yousafzai speaks at the United Nations in 2013. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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Reply Don’t Reduce Malala Yousafzai to a Cuddly Caricature of the “Bravest Girl in the World” (Original post)
Rhiannon12866 Oct 2014 OP
Enrique Oct 2014 #1
Warpy Oct 2014 #2
Rhiannon12866 Oct 2014 #3
big_dog Oct 2014 #4
Rhiannon12866 Oct 2014 #5
BlancheSplanchnik Oct 2014 #6
JayhawkSD Oct 2014 #7
muriel_volestrangler Oct 2014 #8
JayhawkSD Oct 2014 #9
CTyankee Oct 2014 #10

Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Fri Oct 10, 2014, 02:38 PM

1. very good read

people are treating her as if she is not political. In fact she is very political and it's more than just the Taliban that is threatened by her.

It reminds me a lot of Martin Luther King after he died, the difference being that Malala is still alive.

There is something irritatingly smug and condescending about some of the coverage of “the bravest girl in the world.” It was a particular low point when, on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart said “I want to adopt you” to a young woman who’s spoken very publicly about the support she’s received from her father—a pretty brave guy in his own right.

But that’s our problem, not hers. My guess is that someone’s who’s comfortable telling the president of the United States to his face that his military policies are fueling terrorism isn’t going to let herself be reduced to a cuddly caricature. And in any case, it was probably wise for the Nobel committee to pair the very young global celebrity with a relatively unheralded activist with years of work behind him.

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Response to Enrique (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 10, 2014, 02:43 PM

2. They are trying to turn her into a cuddly caricature because she's a pretty young woman.

If they admitted how incredibly tough she is, they might feel threatened, the poor dears.

I would expect her family to be exemplary, as well. Strong kids don't just pop out of nowhere.

She's taking her celebrity and milking it for all it's worth. Good for her.

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Response to Enrique (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 10, 2014, 03:14 PM

3. Thanks! And I saw the Jon Stewart interview...

I figured most people don't know a lot about her, beyond the obvious (including me), so I thought this was timely.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Fri Oct 10, 2014, 06:07 PM

4. Malala: I Feel ‘More Powerful’ After Nobel Win

 

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Response to big_dog (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 10, 2014, 08:05 PM

5. Thanks for posting this! And she's incredibly articulate even in another language!

Can't help remembering what I was like when I was just 17...

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Fri Oct 10, 2014, 10:30 PM

6. kick, rec. big time. n/t

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Sat Oct 11, 2014, 01:08 AM

7. The criteria of the prize seem to have been lost

 

I would be the last person in the world to disparage this courageous and fine young woman, but in what measurable way has her work "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses" in any nation or part of the world? Education for women and the pursuit of womwns' rights is a noble and worthy effort, and I applaud it, but it is not what the Nobel Peace Prize is supposed to be about.

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Response to JayhawkSD (Reply #7)

Sat Oct 11, 2014, 09:40 AM

8. "fraternity between nations" is a wide category

Here we have an American website, with people from at least the US and the UK discussing how important education is for girls, because of a girl from Pakistan. She gives international speeches on the subject.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #8)

Sat Oct 11, 2014, 11:39 AM

9. A good point, and she told Obama that drone strikes promote terrorism

 

But the three criteria for awarding the prize are cojoined with "and," not with "or." That would seem to mean that the recipient should qualify to at least some degree in all three of them.

And the criteria are prefaced with "done the most" indicating that the recipient should have accomplishments, or at least made progress in those areas, not merely made international speeches. You say we are "talking together about education," but can we point to actual international gains in education made as a result of her efforts? And even if we could, would that qualify as justification for a Nobel Peace Prize? Some other Nobel, sure, but the Peace laureate?

Again, I am not criticizing her. I think the Nobel Peace Committee lost all credibility when it awarded the prize to Obama. That's not a criricism of Obama, either. He was, however, a newly elected president who had made no measureable moves toward peace and the only thing to his credit in the international peace area was a passing remark that he was "against dumb wars." He no more deserved that prize than did Elmer Fudd. The prize committee has lost its way in awarding the prize. They feel the need to award it every year, and when there is no one deserving of it they award it in a more or less random manner.

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Response to JayhawkSD (Reply #7)

Sat Oct 11, 2014, 07:36 PM

10. Oh, but she has expanded the meaning of the criteria...why are you splitting hairs

when the essence is what is important? Do you not see that women's rights and promotion of peace are inextricably linked? Perhaps the original Peace Prize description is from another time, when women were not considered in the original definition of the Nobel Peace Prize. Why are you stuck in the past? That was a different world. Today, we have strong women leaders and now this young girl. What doesn't fit into the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala?

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