Two stories and a video to help us remember that there’s worse things in life than living with Republicans, even Teabagger Republicans. First, a lovely short piece in TNR by Mira Sethi:
When I met Malala Yousafzai last month in London, almost a year after the Taliban tried to kill her, she was sitting in a chair with her hands folded peacefully in her lap, like a person of influence accustomed to breathless inquiries. A red woolen shawl rested over the swoop of her thick black hair. When she smiled, it was hard to tell that her left jaw had been reconstructed. I had never met a 16-year-old so assured.
Of course, when she was on the Pakistani talk show “A Morning with Farah” in 2011, I had never seen a 14-year-old so assured…
“I don’t blame them,” she said when I asked her about the conspiracy theorists. “There is a severe dearth of leaders. The people don’t trust anyone anymore. They are constantly searching for answers, and there are no good answers, so I don’t blame them.”
Relatively open societies with a freer flow of information are less conspiracy-oriented than closed ones with controlled information. Which means that Pakistan—with its legacy of dictatorships and its smattering of high-profile state agencies that creep into every aspect of life, from tapping phones to kicking out foreign journalists whose reporting doesn’t quite sound the right notes—has a heightened sense of paranoia. As a culturally conservative society, Pakistanis are conditioned to secrecy. It’s how we grow up….
And tne NYTimes has an 11-minute short documentary accompanying film maker Adam B. Ellis’s story:
There is a story to Malala Yousafzai’s improbable transformation from a quiet, deferential 11-year-old living near Pakistan’s tribal areas to a teenage spokeswoman for girls’ education. Malala, shot in the head by the Taliban last year, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, to be announced on Friday.
It begins with her determined father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, but gets pushed forward by intense news media coverage of her daring campaign. I met Malala in 2009, when she was determined to defy the odds and become a doctor. I spent six months making two documentaries about her life that helped bring her brave campaign to the world, transforming her into a public figure. After the Taliban tried to silence her, The New York Times wove the footage together into a single, 32-minute documentary.
Since the attack last October, I have at times struggled with a question journalists often confront: By giving her a platform, did I inadvertently play a role in her shooting?…
While my original documentary tells the story of Malala’s struggle for education in the face of the Taliban, this back story also raises some sobering and difficult questions. Malala was a brave young girl, advocating for a better future for all girls in her country, but was it fair for her to fight so publicly in such a dangerous environment? Or was she thrust into the limelight by adults captivated by the power of a child staring down the Taliban? …