Malala to Obama: US use of drones is 'fueling terrorism'

Young author and human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai had quite a tour of the United States this week. In the video above, she manages to flap the unflappable Jon Stewart, and it's a great segment. The 16-year-old student from Pakistan was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out in support of the right of girls and women to go to school.

She also met this week with US President Barack Obama. Both of them have been nominated for Nobel Prizes; Obama won in 2009, Malala was nominated this year but did not win. From the Washington Post:

Yousafzai said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration's use of drones, saying they are "fueling terrorism."

"I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees," Yousafzai said in a statement published by the Associated Press. "I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact."

She speaks to this same point in the Daily Show interview, starting at about 13:25 in.

She was in the United States to promote her memoir, "I am Malala," and spoke at the World Bank on Friday.


President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter, Malia, meet with Malala Yousafzai in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Notable Replies

  1. She's just a courageous individual no matter which way you look at it. I wish her a long and healthy life.

  2. Thank you Xeni for focusing in your title on her principled and important criticism of U.S. drones, instead of her victimization at the hands of the Taliban. The latter is all too easy to criticize, and the former is all too rarely criticized (in the U.S., that is).

  3. I think Obama should give his peace prize to her.

  4. US use of drones is terrorism.

  5. Shash says:

    First, her initial writing was apparently in Urdu, starting when she was ten or eleven. That's plenty old enough to write in your own language. That's also the age when English becomes more prominent in education generally.

    You need to understand the social stratification in the subcontinent - I think it's the same in India as well as Pakistan. For the middle and upper middle classes, which Malala's family definitely belongs to, knowledge of English is a prized possession. We get sent to schools where the medium of instruction is English, even as we learn our mother tongue at home, or as a second language at school. Many of us are bilingual, quite a few even trilingual, and most of us are more comfortable writing in English. Don't forget, her father is a school principal - hardly a case of an illiterate tribesman's daughter.

    Let's not try to create false equivalence - shooting a thirteen year old for saying something you don't like is still shooting a thirteen year old for saying something you don't like. Whatever other issues there are, the Taliban have once more revealed themselves to be a bunch of craven assholes who can only bully people into submission, not debate with them. There may be other issues with her backing or funding, but no conspiracy by any theory ever justifies shooting a child in cold blood.

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