Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Malala – The Swat Valley Rebel

As National Liberals we have made our opposition to the UK’s involvement in US actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan (via drones) quite clear. We don’t believe in using military force to change a government or a people’s culture. In any event its impact, apart from destruction, is limited and is usually consigned to the dustbin of history once the guns leave. However, we are not neutral in our cultural preferences. We believe in greater not less democracy (referendums and initiatives), greater civil liberties (for privacy and free expression) and the right for individuals to improve themselves through equality of opportunity. The recent shooting (although still alive) of a little girl in the Swat Valley of Pakistan (a Taliban stronghold) for having the temerity to choose her dress, her education and lifestyle reminds us what is, for us, acceptable and not. Our resident poet Jason reflects.

Malala – The Swat Valley Rebel

Who dare to stop me in the valley of Swat?
From acquiring education, for which I’ve a right.
Wrote thus, a teenage girl of little fright –
And lit too she, a flame of resistance against edict;
And vengeful fatwa imposed by holy men, criminally bent.

Aged fourteen, yet she displayed a mature disposition!
Among adults of amiable, adoptive and wavering positions;
And among cowards with guns, stood she firm with a pen,
To note her own dilemmas; yet shone bright her vision.
Swat – where even the mighty military cannot sway
The fate of ordinary people, came Malala with a spirit
To face the deviant dictators; and dared she, to defy
Edict bearers, and wake a nation to stand for girls’ rights.

Oh poor decent minds of the world! Do consider,
For a moment the era we live in, for its heightened terror!
Firing on defenceless children to impose deranged fear,
Seem the test to our resolve: should we take a stand or dither?
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