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The Cover Girl & The Target Audience!

Notable personalities in various fields have started finding their places on the cover of Vogue, and now, it’s the turn of Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai to brighten the cover of the July edition of the American monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine. An interview with Malala (b. July 12, 1997) has also been published in the latest edition of the magazine. The development has triggered a sensation among the netizens. According to many, the times are changing.

In the interview with Vogue, the Pakistani activist for Female Education and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate has talked about her post-University life. She graduated from Oxford University in 2020. Even though she didn’t have much time during her University days, she enjoyed playing poker with friends and visiting restaurants, like McDonald’s. “I was excited about literally anything – going to McDonald’s or playing poker with my friends,” stressed Malala. She also said: “I was enjoying each and every moment because I had not seen that much before. I had never really been in the company of people my own age.

On October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Malala for taking the initiative to educate the Pakistani girls as she rode home on a bus after taking an exam in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. A masked gunman had reportedly shouted: “Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all.” Upon being identified, she was shot with one bullet, which travelled 46cm from the side of her left eye, through her neck and landed in her shoulder. Two other girls, Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan, also received injuries in the shooting. However, they were stable enough following the incident to talk to reporters and provide details of the attack.

Later, Malala arrived in Britain and continued with her studies, there. She usually wears the traditional dress of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where she was born. This issue has also come up in the interview. Malala told Vogue: “Muslim girls or Pashtun girls or Pakistani girls, when we follow our traditional dress, we’re considered to be oppressed, or voiceless, or living under patriarchy. I want to tell everyone that you can have your own voice within your culture, and you can have equality in your culture.

Meanwhile, a section of political experts believes that the US has created Malala to legitimise its War on Terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Otherwise, there are so many girls, like Malala, in these two South Asian nations, who have been tortured by the Oppressive Orthodox Patriarchal regimes that prevail. It may be noted that after the Vietnam War in 1975, Hollywood had come up with the Rambo series of action films. There have been five films released so far in the series: First Blood (1982), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III (1988), Rambo (2008) and Rambo: Last Blood (2019). Through these movies, the US made an attempt to legitimise its war against Vietnam. Perhaps, it became really difficult for the US to digest its defeat in the war. In Rambo series, the Hollywood tried to portray the Vietnamese as barbarians, in a way. These movies also tried to justify the US’ actions by showing that the Americans had arrived in Vietnam mainly to educate the people of the South-east Asian nation. Perhaps, it is a tendency of the Imperialist Powers to hide their actual intensions.

It may be noted that Pakistani Physicist Mohammad Abdus Salam (1926-1996) was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Sheldon Lee Glashow and Steven Weinbergfor their contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current“. Salam is the only Pakistani scientist to be awarded the Nobel Prize. He was a member of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and as such not considered a Muslim by the Government of Pakistan. In 1974, the Pakistani Parliament had made the Second Amendment to the Constitution, declaring Ahmadi to be non-Muslim. In protest, Salam left Pakistan for England.

Shirin Ebadi

As far as Nobel Peace Prize is concerned, it was awarded to Iran’s Shirin Ebadi (b. 1947) in 2003 “for her efforts for Democracy and Human Rights“. She has focused especially on the “struggle for the rights of women and children“. Ebadi is the only Iranian to receive a Nobel Prize and the first Muslim woman to receive such an honour. Meanwhile, the netizens are excited to find Malala on the cover of Vogue.

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