Fazal Rahman, Ph.D. October 11, 2012
The news of recent shooting of a young girl, Malala Yousafzai, in Swat, Pakistan, has spread like wildfire, all over the world, fueled by the wind machines of the Western media, which have found a new opportunity for the explosion of their chauvinistic, omissive, and hypocritical political, moral, and cultural revulsions and condescensions. The feelings of shock and rage are being stirred in people everywhere, including in Pakistan. This brief paper is a spontaneous reaction to the one-sided, abstract, omissive, and hypocritical exploitation and manipulation of this incident by the Western media, politicians, and the so-called celebrities, as well as their stooges in Pakistan. Basically, the story that is being radiated is that of a young woman who was struggling for the right of going to school and was shot by the Taliban because of that. However, her activities and role, and the role of Pakistani and Western governments and media in determining, guiding, and rewarding these, are much more complex than that, which are being almost totally omitted from the partial and erroneous story being peddled.
When all the known facts and dots are tied together, it becomes clear that she was doing much more than just struggling for the right to go to school and, in fact, was being used as a pawn by the Pakistani and some Western governments and news media, for the propaganda war, as part of the phony “war on terrorism”-which, in fact is an imperialist war of US and NATO state terrorism for geopolitical and economic domination and exploitation purposes. Nothing can justify such brutality against a young, naïve, and vulnerable woman, who was being used by such powerful forces for their information and “winning hearts and minds” warfare. Their arrogant ignorance of the history, culture, and mass psychology of Pathans-who constitute majority of the population of Afghanistan and of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan, of which Swat is a part-borders on insanity. They invade and occupy the lands of Pathans and then expect to win their hearts and minds! That is the climax of arrogant insanity and stupidity and now they are learning that truth, in a very hard way, after twelve years of continuous, integrated, and high-tech military-psychological-propaganda warfare, in which they invested huge financial, military, and human resources. In spite of their incomparable military, technological, and economic superiority, they are now losing to the anti-imperialist Islamic forces of Taliban and their allies in Afghanistan, who have become increasingly more powerful and popular because of their increasingly more effective resistance to the imperialist invasion and aggression and experience and competence in use of guerilla warfare tactics that are suitable in the conditions of Afghanistan.
Malala had become a BBC blogger and the Pakistani government had awarded her the Pakistan National Peace Prize in 2011, the same year in which she was one of the five nominees, and a runner-up, for the Dutch International Children Peace Prize. According to some reports, the US president Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, had also met her, and she had pleaded with him for a military intervention in her region of Pakistan. These are some of the known facts. There must also be many others that are unknown and hidden. It is obvious that this young, naïve, and ignorant woman was elevated to grotesque levels of prominence and publicity in the propaganda war against the Taliban and their allies. It is very likely that she and her family were well rewarded for their collaboration. All that has now resulted in what happened to her. The shooter was masked and escaped after the shooting. It is being alleged that it was ordered by the Taliban. However, there is no definite proof of that yet. The only evidence being offered is some alleged phone call by some alleged Taliban spokesman, who claimed Taliban’s responsibility for the shooting. The key point is that the Western media and politicians, as well as the Pakistani government, are also responsible for causing this tragedy, by using, exploiting, and elevating this young and naïve woman-who was totally ignorant of the nature and history of US and Western imperialism in the region or internationally and of the nature of the conflict and the resistance to imperialism-for their propaganda war and endangering her life. Such methods are routine in the arsenals of Western imperialist powers. Some recent examples are the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a so-called Chinese dissident, who is not satisfied with the current level of restoration of capitalism in China and was active in subversive activities against the Chinese state and politico-economic system for the purpose of establishing a US type of extremist capitalist system there, and the elevation of a similarly shallow, ignorant, and naive Cuban woman blogger, Yoani Sanchez, to even more bizarre levels of prominence and publicity than Malala’s. Yoani has been given numerous prestigious international awards for her stupid little blogs, betrayals of the Cuban revolution-of which she has been a beneficiary, receiving free education, healthcare, housing etc.-, and advocacy of the restoration of capitalism (covered up under the masks of “democracy”, “freedom”, and “privacy”). Such shallow, ignorant, treacherous, and naïve “dissidents”, in the countries and forces that are considered to be the enemies of US imperialism, are given absurd levels of exposures and publicity by the mass media of the US and other Western countries, while even the most knowledgeable, profound, original, insightful, and creative political dissidents in their own territories are shunned like plague, and, as a result, very few people know about them or their ideas and work. This is just a small glimpse of the real nature of the “free” and “independent” mass media of the West in general, and the US in particular. As they also dominate the news, analysis, and mass media culture and mass psychology in much of the rest of the world, such phony and Orwellian “freedom” and “independence” are also internationalized.
In an interview, Malala declared US President Obama-responsible for the mass murders of tens of thousands of Muslims, including children and women-to be her favorite world leader! Is this utter idiocy and ignorance or is there some more sinister reason for the utterings of this young heroine of the West? It is very clear that she and her family have been generously rewarded by the West and its puppet Pakistani government for her services to the imperialist forces. It seems that a large number of Pakistanis are failing to connect the known facts and dots and are reacting emotionally, rather than logically and factually, on the basis of contextual knowledge. This young woman has been used as a double bait, both for the Taliban and their allies as well as for the Pakistani people. If Taliban ordered her shooting, they have swallowed the bait. But, whether they did it or not, a large number of Pakistani people, including politicians, academics, mass media and TV anchors, and “intellectuals”, are definitely swallowing the bait. Many of them are now clamoring for invading North Waziristan. Who will benefit from that and who will be harmed? Both objectively and subjectively, that is the simplest, but most important question that must be asked. The answer is also very simple and clear. Invasion of North Waziristan and attacking the anti-imperialist forces there will benefit the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and damage the anti-imperialist forces of Afghan Taliban and their allies. It really does not require a great deal of intelligence to see through that. Is it not the infinity of insanity and idiocy to swallow that stupid little ignorant bait of the West and start another war against part of their own population, because of her? How many thousands, including children and women, among others, will be killed in that operation? How many thousands will be maimed and injured? How many tens of thousand will be made refugees? How many billions of dollars of damages will be inflicted to the properties, businesses, and agriculture? To trigger an incomparably greater social, human, and political tragedy with this tiny little individual tragedy, will add another chapter to the insane and sinister history of Pakistan. Whoever planned this sinister scheme must have studied and counted on the manipulation and exploitation of the emotional nature of Pakistanis. Usually, one catches only one fish with one bait. But, Malala seems to be magical bait. Tens of millions of fish are being caught with it.
Numerous political leaders and government officials, some so-called celebrities, and the mass media in the West have shifted into high moral gears in relation to the Malala shooting, inflating it into grotesque proportions, while, at the same time, totally keeping mum, dumb, deaf, and blind on the incomparably greater continuing monstrosities and atrocities committed recently, against the Muslim populations of Afghanistan, tribal areas of Pakistan, Iraq, and Libya, in which around three million-including tens of thousands of young girls, boys, and women-were slaughtered or perished as a result of the destruction of infrastructures; countless millions injured, maimed, and forced to flee to other countries, as refugees; the whole fabric of cultural, social, and politico-economic life destroyed; massive sectarian divisions and violence created; massive unemployment and poverty created, especially in the formerly prosperous country of Iraq; and the ongoing destruction of free healthcare and education systems in Iraq and Libya, by the high-technology barbarism of US and NATO imperialism. This constitutes an unmatchable historical hypocrisy. As far as the individual acts of brutality and barbarity are concerned, innumerable such acts have been committed by the US soldiers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Libya. Each drone attack is incomparably more brutal and barbaric than the shooting of Malala, in which most of those killed are non-combatants, and a large number are children and women. Similarly, there have been many bombings of wedding parties in Afghanistan, with the same results. And what about the US soldiers sodomizing Iraqi children in the Abu gharaib prison and urinating on the corpses of Afghans, who were fighting against the invasion and occupation of their country, in Afghanistan? What is more brutal and barbaric? These or the shooting of Malala?
Similarly, Pakistani government and military forces unleashed their own state terrorism on the people of Swat and tribal areas, causing enormous losses of life and other damages to parts of their own population, on the orders of their masters in Washington, D.C. and London. They have also learnt from those masters how to disguise their devilish faces with angelic masks. But, it is to the credit of the evolving clarity of perception of most common Pakistanis that they are no longer fooled by such masks of their rulers or their masters. They are beginning to see right through them.
With mannequin-like wooden faces and expressions and sharp mechanical tongues and electronic voices-which are accompanied by that ever-present and world-famous plastic American “smile”-the TV anchors and commentators emit torrents of words of indignation and condemnation at the brutality and barbarity of the enemy, in cases like that of Malala, words that are incomparably more applicable to the incomparably more massive, monstrous, barbaric, and brutal actions of their own government and state, which they totally omit and ignore, without even batting an eye! One wonders at the powers of the forces that can produce such mass psychology, behavior, and even physical characteristics!
In the US, among others, the mass murderers of Muslims, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have expressed shock and disgust at the brutality and barbarity of Malala’s shooting. Writing in the Washington Post on Wednesday, Laura Bush, wife of the modern Genghis Khan of Iraqi mass slaughters, former President G. W. Bush, had this to say about Malala shooting:
“We must speak up before these acts occur, work to ensure that they do not happen again, and keep our courage to continue to resist the ongoing cruelty and barbarism of the Taliban. Malala Yousufzai refused to look the other way. We owe it to her courage and sacrifice to do the same.”
Even the singer Madonna put in her two bits in the obscene chorus, saying that Malala’s story made her cry. During a concert in Los Angeles, she dedicated a song to Malala and said, “The 14-year-old schoolgirl who wrote a blog about going to school. The Taliban stopped her bus and shot her. Do you realise how sick that is.” After a striptease, she showed the name ‘Malala’ stenciled on her naked back.
Of course, all these unmatchable hypocrites and phonies had absolutely nothing to say about the countless millions of mass murders and other crimes committed by themselves through their high-tech military forces. They even falsify the story of Malala by reducing it to her struggle to go to school. Taliban have publicly made it clear that they are not against women’s education or their going to schools. However, in accordance with their religious and tribal cultural traditions and principles, they advocate separate schools for males and females. The above-mentioned Western liars and hypocrites, and their puppets in the Pakistani government, also totally omit their own role in grooming Malala for their propaganda machine and endangering her life, in the current situation in that region, in which a life and death struggle and war are going on between imperialist and anti-imperialist forces that are predominantly organized around Islamic identity and culture. When it comes to individual cases like Malala, they shift into high gears of moral, cultural, and political indignation and revulsion. But, in relation to the incomparably vaster mass murders and atrocities committed by themselves and their own forces, the gears are shifted to neutral and the engine is turned off. One does not hear a sound. The bodies and minds of these guys would put any car or machine to shame. Most politicians, mass media, academics and other “experts”, and overwhelming majority of Americans exclusively focus on the individual or small-scale violent actions of the victims of US imperialist aggressions and invasions, labeling them as terrorists, barbaric, brutal etc., while not even uttering a sound about the wholesale, massive, and incomparably more destructive high-tech state terrorism of their own ruling class, represented by the government, state, and the military.
Among other things, all this shows the extreme intellectual and moral dishonesty, corruption, atrophy, and decadence, not only of the elites and media in the West, but also of the general populations, which not only accept such transparent lies, but demand them. Traitors of the Third World have always been the heroes of the Western imperialist countries and the real heroes of the Third World have always been demonized. However, even within that history, Malala’s case is uniquely and extremely bizarre.
It would be relevant to end this paper with a quote of the great German-American philosopher, Herbert Marcuse, whom I had also quoted in an earlier paper, which went into a somewhat deeper analysis of the conflict in South Asia,
Near the end of Marcuse’s very complex historical, dialectical, and philosophical analyses and ideas in his book, one finds this insight and prediction, which has been repeatedly confirmed by the high-tech politico-economico-military barbarism of US imperialism: “The facile historical parallel with the barbarians threatening the empire of civilization prejudges the issue; the second period of barbarism may well be the continued empire of the civilization itself.” (One-Dimensional Man, Beacon Press, Boston. 1964, p. 257). Like it or not, we are in the midst of that Second Period of Barbarism and the Pakistani government, military, police, and intelligence services have been acting as the local agents of that great international technocratic barbarism, which is incomparably more powerful and worse than any previous barbarisms.