Somebody said, “Wow, Malala is so lucky. She didn’t have to do anything. She just got shot and became famous!” This sentiment is shared by many. Now, I don’t know her personally, nor do I believe in hero worship but I kinda feel like defending the teenager here. I don’t know if she deserved Nobel Peace Prize or not…but I am not sure if we should dismiss her fame so casually.
First of all, Malala was into activism MUCH before she got shot. She used to blog for BBC anonymously. You might say that anonymity is playing safe but many girls refused to do this because it was highly risky (her identity was eventually revealed).
She won Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize even before the famous incident. She was involved in promotion of girls’ education. Her father was an activist and even got death threats MUCH before the incident.
Here’s why her fame is not bullshit: Imagine living a life where you cannot even go to school (I know school sucks, but I’m talking about basic rights here). Imagine hearing gunshots near your house and living in fear. But you still get up and have the courage to go to school. Because your passion is more than your fear. Because you believe it is better to die than let your dreams die. People like me and those who sit in the comfort of their homes take things for granted. It is not a big deal for us to go outside and have a walk but there are places in this world where you cannot do that.
Yes, there were MANY other girls besides Malala who went to school despite Taliban. They are heroes too. But the nature of fame is such that only few are celebrated..that’s what happens in every field.
Rather than dismissing her fame, let’s reimagine it: maybe, she is more like a symbol. All famous people represent our dreams and fears. She is a symbol of courage. She represents all those girls around the world who are standing up for themselves. Of course, the REAL Malala would be flawed, like you and me. She is just another human being with a good and a bad side. She is not perfect. There is no need to worship her. There’s no need to completely dismiss her fame either.
P.S. I might be wrong about the events and information about her life. But I hope the focus is on the essence of the message.