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The News Minute | October 12, 2014 | 12.51 pm IST

Indian media largely missed something about Malala Yousafzai in its coverage of her receiving the Nobel Peace Prize along with Indian national Kailash Satyarthi.

The international media dint. Many of them reproduced the statement she made when she met the American president Barack Obama.

When she met the Obamas in October 2013, Yousafzai had released a statement to the media about the meeting in which she said: "I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fuelling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Patakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact."

According to an article published by opinion portal CounterCurrents, the committee that selects the awardees for the Peace Prize seems to be ignoring the will that the man who instituted the prize left behind. In his will, Alfred Nobel says the prize must go to “the person who shall 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.”

Writing for CounterCurrents, David Swanson says: “So, she actually advocated pursuing education rather than war, and yet the Nobel Committee had not a word to say about that in announcing its selection, focusing on eliminating child labour rather than on eliminating war.”

He adds: “Malala Yousafzay became a celebrity in Western media because she was a victim of designated enemies of Western empire. Had she been a victim of the governments of Saudi Arabia or Israel or any other kingdom or dictatorship being used by Western governments, we would not have heard so much about her suffering and her noble work. Were she primarily an advocate for the children being traumatized by drone strikes in Yemen or Pakistan, she'd be virtually unknown to U.S. television audiences.”

In November 2013, Al Jazeera reported that another child from Pakistan had visited the United States. The American government hardly paid her any attention. 

Al Jazeera reported: “However, despite overcoming incredible obstacles in order to travel from their remote village to the United States, Nabila and her family were roundly ignored. At the congressional hearing where they gave testimony, only five out of 430 representatives showed up.”

Nabila and her father were in the United States to tell the American government that members of their family had been killed or wounded in drone strikes authorized by it. Drone attacks in North Waziristan in Pakistan are common, and have caused much anger among Pakistani citizens, forcing the government to raise the issue with the United States. 

Nabila Rehman

Nabila Rehman. (Photo Courtesy:  aispantherexpress.wordpress.com)

The Al Jazeera report quotes Washington Post writer Max Fisher: “Western fawning over Malala has become less about her efforts to improve conditions for girls in Pakistan, or certainly about the struggles of millions of girls in Pakistan, and more about our own desire to make ourselves feel warm and fuzzy with a celebrity and an easy message. It's a way of letting ourselves off the hook, convincing ourselves that it's simple matter of good guys vs bad guys, that we're on the right side and that everything is okay.”

Writing for CounterCurrents, Swanson quoted Fredrik S. Heffermehl, who has tried to compel the Nobel Committee to give the peace prize for peace. Heffermehl said: "Malala Yousafzay is a courageous, bright and impressive person. Education for girls is important and child labor a horrible problem. Worthy causes, but the committee once again makes a false pretense of loyalty to Nobel and confuses and conceals the plan for world peace that Nobel intended to support.

"If they had wished to be loyal to Nobel they would have stressed that Malala often has spoken out against weapons and military with a fine understanding of how ordinary people suffer from militarism. Young people see this more clearly than the grown ups."

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