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malala

So, the world’s favourite teenager Malala Yousafzai can now add a Nobel Peace Prize to the Taliban bullet as things she has famously received and which qualify her as a global political sage. Does her talent for passively receiving things ever end?

Perhaps Yousafzai might next get run down by a lorry driven by a White Supremacist and immediately become spokesperson for Western race-relations.

I don’t enjoy having to use this silly tone to speak of someone so young. I must use it though because feelings are being demanded of me that I don’t have. I am being ordered to feel awe for someone who hasn’t achieved anything and who is being fattened by book-deals and political funds.

The institution responsible for the latest cheque in Yousafzai’s swelling bank account comes as no great shock. The Nobel Peace Prize committee has suffered for many years now from a dire lack of credibility. Ever since the awarding of the honour to (the then virginal) President Barack Obama, the honour has had a light, floaty, cosmetic feel to it – almost as if it was a means of political expression rather than of reward.

The choice of Yousafzai belongs undoubtedly to the same downward trend.

I should clarify that I don’t have anything personal against Malala. Or at least no more than I have against professional psychics, internet healers or astrologers. She is the kindly target of a storm of stupid emotion. That’s all. It’s not something I can either encourage or endorse.

Nevertheless, it has been uncomfortable to witness people I respect (friends among them) fall for Yousafzai’s sweet-smelling hypnotic. There have even been arguments put to me that I am somehow ‘jealous’ of the political starlet, or that I resent her for other base motivations. That is the purest nonsense. Malala is obviously cashing in at a furious pace, but this is no more offensive to me than the success of any other celebrity. What does miff me is that while Victoria Beckham or Miley Cyrus do not (rightly) enjoy either moral respect or political credit, Malala receives them by the bucketload. And for what?

If Yousafzai truly wanted to earn the respect and power she already possesses, she would leave Britain and return to her native Pakistan. She would stand as a Pakistani MP or set up a local organisation dedicated to the right of children to attend school there.

What possible use can she be to her professed cause in Birmingham or New York? The West is in no need of being lectured on the right of education. We already have that in place and have for some time.

Perhaps behind all the public virtues presented by Ms Yousefzai there is just a normal girl growing steadily accustomed to the pleasures of money, silk curtains and chauffer driven limousines.

D, LDN.

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