The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Community News Network

October 10, 2013

Should Malala's dad be the one getting the Nobel Peace Prize?

One year ago today, a young bearded Talib in Pakistan's Swat Valley boarded a school bus crammed with 20 girls and fired three shots heard 'round the world. In the 365 days since, Malala Yousafzai, the outspoken peace and education activist, has gone from lying in a hospital bed to addressing the United Nations on July 12, her 16th birthday, to now being the leading contender for the Nobel Peace Prize, whose winner will be announced on Friday.

But as much as the world loves Malala, could world peace actually be better advanced by awarding the prize to her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai? The founder of the girls' school Malala attended, he is an anomaly in his area of Pakistan - a progressive man who understands the value of educating girls. Without her dad, there would be no Malala, the confident, literate, English-speaking activist. Instead, she would most likely be lost among the four out of five girls in her region who don't go to school.

As Adam Ellick, a filmmaker who created a documentary featuring Malala before she became a household name, told Time, "[This] is a story about a father and a daughter, more than a story about a girl." Describing Ziauddin's education activism, Ellick said, "Her father has a sort of revolutionary commitment to his cause. He is an incredibly unique and complex person."

But for the status of women to improve, men with Ziauddin's mindset can't be unique; they must be commonplace. The cold, hard reality is that in areas of the world where men tyrannically hold all power, the situation of women and girls will only advance if men voluntarily relax their vise-like grip over women. This is what Foreign Policy contributor Christian Bayer Tygesen refers to as the "realist perspective on human rights." What he wrote about Afghanistan can just as well be applied to Malala's Swat Valley: "All Afghan girls should get an education, but unless the men ease their repressive dominance, half of the population will never have the opportunity to exercise their human rights."

We can create rap videos honoring Malala and bestow her with the world's top prizes, but at the end of the day, it's often men who execute the kind of change Malala is advocating. Less than a century ago, American women got the right to vote because a critical mass of men experienced "indigenous preference shifts," to use Tygesen's term. And that was in a country where suffragettes could at least freely organize and take to the streets en masse.

Malala's father himself acknowledges the crucial role that progressive men play in accelerating social change in male-dominated societies. In remarks this March in London, in which he made an analogy to whites' support for Martin Luther King's activism, he said, "In a male-dominated society, change will come and change could be initiated by men. . . . The journey which girls can travel in 100 years, if they are accompanied by their male partners - brothers, fathers - it could be just a few years, five years, six years."

Ziauddin Yousafzai has faced death threats. He has had to sleep away from home in order to stay alive and protect his family. Awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize would send the message that men in male-dominated societies who swim against the current to advance education and the status of females will be supported and cheered. His passionate efforts should make him as much of a Nobel Peace Prize candidate as Malala is.



 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

Featured Ads
Promotions
Poll

What's your favorite spring high school sport?

Swimming and diving
Wrestling
Basketball
Soccer
Tennis
Golf
Track and Field
Softball
Baseball
     View Results
Facebook
Must Read
Photos


See more photos and purchase prints here.

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide