Writing anything about Malala and the Noble Peace Prize is like finding a sprawling garbage dump and putting something at the top. It doesn’t really matter whether the thing you have put at the top is a work of art, a real eye-opener or a collection of rambling points dipped in bigotry and baked in the oven of contempt. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s for Malala or against her. Quite frankly, it doesn’t even matter if it has facts or just a work of fiction. Being ill-informed is the greatest dilemma of this instantly informed world. We pick and choose what information we would like to consume and often discard, if not vehemently dispute, whatever doesn’t fit our appetite. In this context, one might ask, what is point of writing anything?
I write because it’s an outlet. Like the man in The Green Mile who sucks illness out of someone and spreads it in the air as tiny bugs, writing takes all of my observations, whether they are good or bad, and sprinkles it on the strings of the interwebs.
During the past week or so, however, I have remained less observant and more engaging. I’ve grown tired of people making ignorant generalizations. In the past, I would’ve ignored it or tried to put my point across through wit and humor, but I wasn’t able to do that during the past week. One reason would’ve been an over exposure to Peter Capaldi’s character – Malcolm Tucker – and as a result, I have been calling out people’s ignorance while including *s between characters as if that makes a difference. I guess it does. Saying Fuck and F**k does allow some room for probability. However, it’s difficult to sustain that level of assholeness. I am sure after every episode of The Thick of It, Peter Capaldi goes home and watches cartoons to counter the level of shit that he had to say.
So back to the point – my addition to the garbage dump. Malala Yousafzai got a Noble Peace Prize and the world went bonkers. Some went bonkers in the sense of “Fuck yeah! Take that extremists!” and some went bonkers in the sense of “No fucking way I am going to let this shit happen”. I think it’s a good thing that the Noble committee gave the award to the Chemical arms watchdog organization the previous year, because that ensured that the Noble Peace Prize had no other way to go but up, given that its recent recipients have been Barack Obama, the EU and the chemical watchdog committee. I don’t know why it didn’t go to NASA since they are the only ones actively working on finding worlds where we can establish some peace, and that they operate the most peaceful place in our solar system, the International Space Station. Anyway, they gave the prize to Malala and Kailash Satyarthi. The latter is also a worthy recipient who, thankfully, hasn’t received a hostile reaction. People are generally happy that he got the award.
On the other hand, the supporters and opponents of Malala are typing away furiously. Each pressing the enter as if it would send electric shocks to their opponents. The supporters are happy that their icon has been recognized. They acknowledge that her contribution hasn’t been great but it’s her courage and determination that has been rewarded. She is no longer a 17 year old from Pakistan, rather she is the symbol of the resilience of women and girls, specially Pakistani women and girls, and represents the root of all good; education. One might point out, though, that similar sentiments were echoed by the supporters of Barack Obama, when he got the prize in 2009, a mere one year after he got into office. The comparison must stop there because it would be unfair to compare Malala with Obama as she is still quite some years away from leading anyone into war or from ordering drone strikes. Unless there is a startup that comes along and takes drone strike requests from anyone with a credit card.
The opposition camp, however, is in complete disarray. The points against Malala range from people pointing out the meaningless of the Noble Peace Prize, to people demanding to know her list of achievements and culminating into the most pathetic of maneuvers – dragging Edhi into the discussion. A more amusing sight is of people describing the Noble Peace Prize as a useless prize and demanding that Edhi should’ve been given the award, in almost the same breath. Edhi is, without doubt, worthy of all the plaudits that the world could give and then some, but dragging him in this debate is quite pitiful. We, the supporters of Edhi, should’ve done more to highlight his case but most of us just pay lip service to his cause. If they really want to honor Edhi, then they should’ve contributed to his organization or at least talked about it instead of posting “Go Nawaz Go” or “Go Imran Go”. Edhi foundation is understaffed and underfunded. It needs support and very few of the people, who are dragging Edhi’s name into this, actually donate and volunteer for his organization.
The Noble Peace Prize is a political prize. It is chosen by a group of people selected by the Norwegian parliament. It is bound to have political overtones. But it is also an internationally recognized award. People and nations feel proud if one of them gets this award. After all the bad press that we get, and most of it is because of the right reasons, don’t you think that this time all of us should get together and be happy for a change? Next year, hopefully our water car might get something too.