Malala Yousafzai: A Manufactured Paragon
Malala Yousafzai is a young lady from Pakistan who lived under the Taliban, and who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for having to live in Pakistan under the Taliban.
Perhaps that’s unfair; she has done a little bit more than that.
Yousafzai belonged to a civilized, activist family, opposed to the tyrannical religious rules of Islam, and (with her father’s encouragement) kept a journal of her experiences as a girl getting an education in a country run by males who were terrified of women.
The girls were not too excited about vacations because they knew if the Taliban implemented their edict [banning girls’ education] they would not be able to come to school again. I am of the view that the school will one day reopen but while leaving I looked at the building as if I would not come here again.
This diary gained traction with Western audiences, and as a result she was sought out by the Taliban and shot in the head in October of 2012, a mere fourteen years in age. The gunshot did not kill her, however, and she was saved by Western medicine; she currently resides in Britain, and continues to advocate for women’s education and equality (a principle which Europeans have supported for centuries).
On the one hand, this is a tragic story about the nobility of the human spirit; about how a flower can grow out of a pot of dirt. The Islamic world runs on the cycle of violence, it encourages and fuels it: mother abuses son, son grows into an adult who abuses his wife, and his wife, therefore, abuses their son. The Yousafzai family rose above this. Malala herself showed great ambition and courage, taking on risks to please her father and mother, not out of fear, but out of love. And yet I’m forced to ask – does this young lady really deserve to win the Nobel Peace Prize while still a mere youngling?
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the 5 medals created by the eponymous Alfred Nobel, awarded annually since 1901 for those who have “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”; it comes with a cash award of $1.5 million USD. It should come as no surprise that it’s a controversial medal – your own political views will be the heuristic determining whether somebody deserves it or not – but for the most part, love ’em or hate ’em, the past recipients have at least made their mark on history. With few exceptions, they’ve all walked a dangerous path and stayed committed to their cause, and they’ve brought forth intellectual and political blossomings that were unprecedented. They’ve all been inventors.
You cannot say the same for Malala Yousafzai.
Thus far in her life, she’s been little more than a poster child for the prevailing superstitions of our times. Arguing that women should be allowed to read books is not revolutionary when you live in Britain, and while it may be brave for a girl in Pakistan to make such statements, they’re still not creative in nature; she’s merely channelling the culture of the Civilized West, repeating words that were written by others. She isn’t so much standing on the shoulders of giants as she is sitting upon them; doing what they did with no unique contribution of her own.
After all – she’s still just a teenager!
Even Beethoven didn’t write his first great symphony until he was in his 30s, and music is the sort of endeavour which can be focused on exclusively, it doesn’t require wisdom – just a lot of time. Politics, meanwhile, demands a wide set of experiences, a familiarity with the human condition, an awareness of your own dark nature, and a broad understanding of the various philosophies and ideologies which govern human society. There are no savants in politics. For a teenager to be awarded this medal demeans the medal, as well as the recipient.
Yousafzai is the sort of young lady who could potentially go far with her life, and truly achieve something notable, but that future is being put at jeopardy by the effusive praise she is receiving now. She’s become an icon for people who’ve never read her writings, a secular saint for the mediocre, no different in kind as are the pop starlets promoted by Hollywood: Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus – talented young people who are thrust into the spotlight too early, used by their audiences to achieve emotional catharsis, and thrown out onto the rubbish heap once their value has been sucked out of them.
Questioning Yousafzai’s eligibility for the Peace Prize results in caterwauling and gnashing of teeth from Generation Participation Trophy. “Leave Yousafzai alone!” they scream in their orcish tongue. These callow youths who make up the modern electorate are devoid of any accomplishments or hardships endured; they’ve been emotionally coddled from day one, ever since Barney the Dinosaur told them “It’s okay to cry”, and have been pumped full of the high-fructose corn syrup of the self-esteem movement, which tells them to feel pride in the outfit they bought at Hot Topic. They’ve never struggled and they don’t know how to struggle; all they can do is put on airs and seethe with jealousy whenever they encounter those who have actual greatness within their souls.
Incapable of achievement, they choose to deny its existence. Instead, they believe in the lottery; some people are just randomly chosen to show up on TV, and they’re deserving of our worship precisely because of how banal they are. The idea of hard work and innate genius is an anathema to them. Yousafzai, then, becomes a mirror; she achieved greatness by parroting the words of others – just like they do! Because of her age, they know that she didn’t spend years toiling in obscurity before earning her rightful recognition – Hey, I just got 100 likes on Facebook! The mere hint that she might not be worthy of the prize – because she has yet to earn it – causes a chilly loosening of the bowels to occur amongst these degenerates: they know perfectly well that they’ve never earned a single thing in their own lives, that every Gold Star was handed over by government fiat, and that they lack the knowledge or character to meaningfully contribute to the civilization which sustains them.
On the savanna they’d be dead, and in civilization they’re useless; they lives of purposeless, inward-looking ego masturbation. They are the detritus of history who cannot acknowledge it: ergo, they choose to call it all magic. They’re the special little snowflake who just happens to be the protagonists of the video game (a video game they cannot construct) and everybody else is there just to service their ego.
Don’t you dare take away Yousafzai from them – she pacifies their envy!