Unlike Malala Yousafzai, Nabila Rehman did not receive a welcoming greeting in Washington DC. Both are Pakistani girls. This past week Nabila, her schoolteacher father, and her 12-year-old brother travelled to Washington DC to tell their story and to seek answers about the events of that day. However, despite overcoming incredible obstacles in order to travel from their remote village to the United States, Nabila and her family were roundly ignored. At the Congressional hearing where they gave testimony, only five out of 430 representatives showed up. In the words of Nabila’s father to those few who did attend: “My daughter does not have the face of a terrorist and neither did my mother. It just doesn’t make sense to me, why this happened… as a teacher, I wanted to educate Americans and let them know my children have been injured.” Western fawning over Malala has become less about her efforts to improve conditions for girls in Pakistan, or certainly about the struggles of millions of girls in Pakistan, and more about our own desire to make ourselves feel warm and fuzzy with a celebrity and an easy message. It’s a way of letting ourselves off the hook, convincing ourselves that it’s simple matter of good guys vs bad guys, that we’re on the right side and that everything is okay.
“One male poet approached me after a performance and said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but do you ever write about anything other than the struggles of women?” I replied, “I don’t mean to be rude, but take your finger off the trigger and I’ll stop.” After all, who among us ever wanted to speak about these things? What little girl dreams of growing up to write ‘rape poems?’ About violence? About the muffled voices of women worldwide?” -Andrea Gibson
YASS JON STEWART I KNEW I LOVED YOU FOR A REASON
From the “Kiss” Series - Iranian Artist Shahriar Ahmadi