Monday, October 15, 2012

My Newest Hero

Tea Party by paynehollow
Tea Party, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.
...Malala Yousafzai, the 14 year old Pakistani girl whose first name means "grief stricken," whose blogging in defense of peace, equality and educational opportunities for girls and women made her a target of some cowardly, despicable extremists.

In her own words, from her blog, entitled, Gul Makai (which means "Corn Flower...")

I have come to Bunair to spend Muharram (a Muslim holiday) on vacation. I adore Bunair because of its mountains and lush green fields. My Swat is also very beautiful but there is no peace. But in Bunair there is peace and tranquility. Neither is there any firing nor any fear. We all are very happy.

Perhaps this craven attack upon a defenseless girl will serve as a catalyst for the sort of change that brave young Malala has worked so hard for. I pray for her recovery, for her family, for her nation. I also pray for those who've so bought into the myth of redemptive violence that they'd even use violence against children in an effort to bully their opponents into submission.

Shame on them. God have mercy on them. May they get the justice they deserve and may Mahala and her family get the peace they deserve.

This 14 year old has more courage in her tiny finger than the thugs who assaulted her, hiding behind their weapons of mass destruction.

As they say, in the end, you inherit the world you create (or is that, "in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make..."?). Those who live by fear and violence inherit a fearful, violent hell. Those who live by grace and peace, inherit that world. Let it be so.


Marshall Art said...


I am wondering why you would ever suppose that this attack will do anything to bring about the sort of change that the victim seeks. What is so special about her that wasn't special about thousands of other victims of these extremists? (Note: "thousands" hardly tells the tale.)

Dan Trabue said...

It is part of the thinking of Non-Violent Direct Action that we can overcome evil with good. At some point, the evil done by evil-doers is so self-evidently hideously evil that those who might remain silent in the middle are forced to face the evil done by evil-doers.

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

There come tipping points in historic fights for justice, I'm praying that this is one such tipping point.

John Farrier said...

Amen to that.

Dan, could you define the term "redemptive violence"? I am unfamiliar with it.

Dan Trabue said...

Walter Wink has used the term (maybe others, too) to suggest...

"The redemptive violence myth is the belief that violence is a necessary and appropriate response and even healing for the victim especially when administered by the state on a victim’s behalf."

The idea is that deadly violence - especially deadly violence that harms innocent people - is a destructive force. Period. We may (or may not) acknowledge that deadly violence (including violence that harms innocent people) is a necessary and lesser evil - as the Taliban obviously believe as evidenced by this attack - but we should not confuse an evil (even a "lesser evil") for a moral good.

It's the cartoonish and childish "solution" to evil as found in Popeye or John Wayne movies, rather than a more mature and nuanced look at how best to deal with the problems of violence in the real world.

Peacemakers/pacifists tend to seriously question - or reject outright - the efficacy of deadly violence (especially of the sort represented by modern warfare) as a reasonable means to even a noble goal. We certainly reject and stand opposed to this atrocity committed by the Taliban against this child.

"Good is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death. Victory is ours, through him who loves us."

~Bishop Desmond Tutu

Marshall Art said...

Yet you still cannot explain the position that suggests violence is an evil. I note that you can't help but include violence that affects the innocent. That is dishonest. Speak only on violence meted out upon the evil.

I think Wink again is way off base regarding the concept of "redemptive violence". Those who feel a violent response is appropriate do not do it for any notion of redemption, but for justice, and to eliminate further harm by the person or persons responsible for provoking that response.

Most people do not want to wait another 1400 years until the radical elements of islam come to the realization that not everyone believes as they do and have the right to disagree. Most people do not want to see more innocent people murdered at their hands while incompetent and irrational "peacemakers/pacifists" continually fail to persuade the radicals.

It is NOT evil in the least to use deadly violence against those who live to murder non-muslims or those they consider apostates. This is a decidedly warped understanding of Christian teaching.

John Farrier said...

The idea is that deadly violence - especially deadly violence that harms innocent people - is a destructive force. Period. We may (or may not) acknowledge that deadly violence (including violence that harms innocent people) is a necessary and lesser evil - as the Taliban obviously believe as evidenced by this attack - but we should not confuse an evil (even a "lesser evil") for a moral good.

This seems to be in keeping with what I remember of the Christian pacifistic tradition.

Speaking of which, have you read Menno Simons? I didn't agree with him all the time, but I appreciated his boldness in writing.

Parklife said...

"Perhaps this craven attack upon a defenseless girl will serve as a catalyst for the sort of change that brave young Malala has worked so hard for."

That kind of started to happen, at least from what I have read / heard. But now some are questioning drone strikes and comparing them to the Malala shooting. Its an interesting moral question. While they are separate issues, perhaps its human nature to compare the two. Drone strikes have killed hundreds of innocent people and nobody seems to care. But, one murder does not justify another.

I hope she lives, the world needs more courageous people like her.

Marshall Art said...

"That kind of started to happen..."

It has "started to happen" over the last 1400 years. What doesn't happen is change in the hearts of the very radical elements of the muslim world.

Those trying to compare drone strikes to this incident are wasting time with an irrational argument. Of course people care that innocents die in the process of bringing justice to evil. But the people who need to care most, and likely do, those being the families and friends of the victims, are not doing what they need to do to deal with those who actions have compelled the strikes. THIS is where the focus needs to be. When a people takes care of its own issues, then outsiders affected by those issues won't have to take action.

Finally, collateral death is not murder. Taking out leaders of an enemy force is not murder.

Parklife said...

To say that you dont understand the arguments and how the people of Pakistan view this event would be an understatement.

Marshall Art said...


You have no idea of what I understand and have proven this for quite some time, as have others.

Acknowledging arguments as invalid does not equate to a lack of understanding. I'm well aware of how some in the muslim world view this event. Indeed, I'm aware that there is more than one point of view in the muslim world. But I'm sure you are about to provide a plethora of links on the subject following your extensive explanation of your personal perspective.

Dan Trabue said...

I've read a bit of Simmons, John, but not extensively. I have read a good bit of anabaptist literature in general and find I most closely identify with that tradition and can actually get excited/enjoy what they say (as opposed to a lot of what is written by Christians).

Reading Art Gish's book, "Living in Christian Community" was a turning point in my life.

Parklife said...

You choose to judge people on the other side of the planet. This does little to understand the problems of Pakistan. Saying, "This is where the focus needs to be" is completely missing the impact the US has. Your comment reads like a fantasy land solution to a complex problem.

Parklife said...

And no.. Im not going to go hunting around for links to articles I've already digested just to appease your far right curiosity.

Marshall Art said...

Of course you won't, Parklife. Broad statements are so much easier. Others here would not let me off so easily were I to respond as you just did.

I don't need to judge anyone, as their actions speak loudly of their true nature, just as your comments tell me so much about you.

The problems of the muslim world are not so complex as you'd like to believe in order to posture yourself as insightful. A particular faction wishes to rule and oppress with a harsh and violent attitude they insist pleases their god. Those with the most to lose by living under the rule of such people are not doing much to put down this faction. What more do I need to know that would isn't already crystal clear? Any change by a nation, community or group must come from within. The only impact I'm concerned with making as a nation is that the extremists in the muslim world (if not the worst elements of the entire world) are too freaking scared to lift a finger against us or our allies. As drone strikes, and whatever else passes for foreign policy by Obama & Co, have failed to eliminate thoughts of attacking our embassies and interests by muslim a-holes, the impact thus far has been lacking.

But as you believe I live in fantasy land, perhaps you could expound on a more real world solution. Thus far, Malala is just one more example of the lack of any real desire for change in the muslim world. As you may recall, it was not so long ago that a high ranking Pakistani was murdered for a similar reason. So what have you got?

Parklife said...

Knock it off Marshall. Save the self congratulatory drivel for your own blog.

Marshall Art said...

I don't see where I've congratulated myself at all. I'm merely stating how things are. You like to insist that I judge, as do others. But what I judge, if "judge" is truly the correct word, is behaviors which are obvious in most cases. And you'll note that I made no mention of why those within the muslim world have not acted more robustly, but only that they haven't and need to.

You've no standing to demand that I or anyone else "knock it off", particularly with your history.

Anonymous said...

Marshall.. are you sick?

Parklife said...