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Malala Yousufzai-Pakistan: A flag and a battle plan

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  • Cort Greene
    http://www.marxist.com/a-flag-and-a-battle-plan.htm Pakistan: A flag and a battle plan Written by Jawed
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 4, 2013
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      Pakistan: A flag and a battle
      Written by Jawed NaqviThursday, 04 April 2013
      [image: Print] <http://www.marxist.com/a-flag-and-a-battle-plan/print.htm>[image:

      We bring to the attention of our readers an article written in the
      Pakistani newspaper Dawn about Malala Yousufzai and the work of the
      Marxists in the Swat area in Pakistan.

      *�Tere mathey pe ye aanchal bahot hi khoob hai lekin/*
      *Tu is aanchal se ik parcham bana leti to achcha tha/*

      (Your headscarf looks lovely, my dear, but yield!
      Why not make a flag from it for the battlefield?)�

      [image: SWAT Marxist school Malala
      Yousufzai at the IMT Marxist Summer School in Swat last yearThe poem by
      Majaaz Lucknavi belongs to the 1930s but it seems to echo an event in
      distant Afghanistan half a century before.

      Malalai of Maiwand died on the battlefield in July 1880 when she was 17
      years old, engaging British and Indian troops in the Second Afghan War. It
      is said that Malalai � also spelled and pronounced as Malala � actually
      fashioned a flag from her veil to rally her Afghan compatriots in the
      do-or-die struggle.

      She was a much-loved poet too. Her exhortation, as she mustered support for
      Ayub Khan, the charismatic Afghan commander and son of the deposed amir,
      was recorded for posterity thus:

      �Young love! If you don�t fall in the battle of Maiwand, By God, someone is
      saving you as a symbol of shame!�

      The historic battle saw a rout of the combined Indian and British troops,
      their ranks depleted of seasoned warriors after 1857. The Maiwand battle
      was a mandatory topic in the Senior Cambridge history course for years.

      Was Majaaz, separated by decades from the battle of Maiwand, inspired by
      the legend of Malalai to pen his clarion call to his beloved, and thereby
      to all women? It is hard to tell.

      But he did sway a generation of Indian women to crop their veils into flags
      to fight foreign occupation. Maiwand�s battle cry has inspired generations
      of Afghan women.
      According to an interview Malala Yousufzai gave a couple of years ago, she
      is a fan of Malalai of Maiwand and was named after her.

      There was another Malala to inspire the 15-year-old heroine of Swat.
      Stories of Malalai Joya�s fight against male barbarism abound in
      contemporary Afghan lore.

      Winning a parliament seat in 2005, Malalai Joya could have chosen an easy,
      comfortable life. She decided instead to lend her powerful voice to fight
      those among her fellow deputies she identified as regressive, anti-women
      warlords. Her enemies charged her with being a communist and successfully
      had her evicted from parliament.

      Addressing an international peace conference in Australia last month,
      Malalai Joya, already a celebrated author of a book on Afghan women, pulled
      no punches to highlight international connivance in the tragedy that befell
      her country.

      �The black clouds of war are overshadowing our earth,� she told the Swan
      Island Peace Convergence 2012. �The US, depending upon the dirtiest
      fundamentalists forces such as Al Qaeda and its likes has pushed Libya,
      Iraq and Afghanistan into disaster and deviated the uprisings against
      fundamentalism and dictatorship by handing the leadership to its
      fundamentalist lackeys; and they are now in the process of destroying Syria

      Not only is Malalai Joya regarded as a role model by the Yousufzai scion,
      there is evidence of a Marxist underpinning that runs the risk of being
      overlooked in the teenaged girl�s ideological shaping.

      A picture in which she is seen with a poster of Lenin and Trotsky should
      indicate her proximity to some of the most ideologically groomed bunch of
      men and women in Swat. They are members of the International Marxist
      Tendency (IMT), which condemns religious extremism and imperialism equally.

      We have been told of Malala�s blogs and interviews with global news groups,
      but her involvement with the Marxists of Swat (of all the places) tends to
      be ignored.

      As an IMT release suggests, Malala Yousufzai attended its National Marxist
      Youth School in Swat in July this year. Scores of participants came from
      across distant provinces of Pakistan. The scale of their commitment is
      heart-warming. The irony is stark. The spectacle of mighty politicians in
      Islamabad, running scared of lurking assassins despite layers of security
      jostles with the rising star (Imran Khan) on Pakistan�s political firmament
      whose desire to visit the troubled areas becomes heavy weather.

      And here we have a group of girls and boys, men and women, armed with
      nothing more than unwavering dedication to bring change where the mighty
      fear to tread. They go about their business without the fanfare a visit to
      Swat involves.

      They remind me of the late communist activist Hriday Nath Wanchoo who stood
      his ground in Srinagar with nothing but his zeal to fight for the human
      rights of Hindus and Muslims when the rest of his fellow Kashmiri pandits
      were fleeing the Valley.

      Titled Red Flags in Taliban Territory, Imran Kamyana�s piece on IMT�s
      website is instructive. Swat, he says, is known for religious extremism and
      the Taliban. �Many comrades themselves became victims of this religious
      terrorism including one comrade who was shot and had eight bullets in him
      from a G-3 rifle. Only his willpower and hatred against the cruelty of the
      state and the Taliban kept him alive.�

      In another incident the Taliban killed 14 people in one village and hanged
      their bodies from trees, declaring that nobody could touch them. Only two
      dared to bury the bodies. Both became leading members of the IMT. Clearly,
      Malala�s battle plan was pinned on a simple ground assault of an alternate
      worldview. It had no room for inhuman drones or gun-toting fanatics.
      Malala�s kindred spirits are legion.

      One person she has a striking resemblance to, in my view, is Rachel Corrie,
      the American girl who single-handedly unnerved the Israeli army by not
      being afraid to be crushed by their bulldozers for a just cause. That was
      also the battle plan of Maiwand�s heroine.

      *The writer is Dawn�s correspondent in Delhi.*
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