National Sections of the L5I:

Mulala: condemn Taliban atrocity – but no support for the War on Terror

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National Peace Award winning Malala Yousafzia and her friends Shazia and Kaynat were attacked on 9th of October as they were coming home from school in the town of Mingora in the Swat Valley. Malala is a fourteen year old girl who writes a diary for the BBC against the rule of the Taliban in Swat and has become a symbol of women's education. The Taliban have accepted responsibility for the attack and say that if she survives they will attack her again. This shows the reactionary character of the Taliban.

The media have justifiably presented the attack on Malala and her friends as an attack on peace and education by the Taliban and their campaign has ensured that the whole country is grieving at the attack on this Daughter of the Nation. President Asif Ali Zardari, the Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, the Chief of the Army, General Kayani and opposition leaders have all shown their grief and visited Malala in hospital. Madonna dedicated a song to her and Angelina Jolie called for her to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama called it a barbaric attack and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised her as very brave and asked Pakistani officials to punish those responsible.

The whole episode has raised people's outrage against the Taliban and generated a wave of sympathy for this 14 year old girl. There are a lots of vigils and solidarity walks in the country, demanding the harshest action against the culprits. Talk shows are debating the need for a military operation in North Waziristan. In response, military representatives have said they are prepared for any operation that the government asks for.

The danger in this is that, not for the first time, the reactionary policies of the Taliban can be used to justify Pakistani support for the “War on Terrorism”. Liberals, and many on the left, have already fallen into this trap and now see the attack on Malala as further justification. They have completely lost their political bearings and argue in support of “drone attacks so that Malala can live”. They have become full time supporters of the idea that a military operation can save humanity and culture.

This is very convenient for imperialism and the Pakistan State which justify their war in the name of women's rights and democracy.

Of course, the attack on Malala in particular, and opposition to women's and girls' education in general, is completely reactionary, together with the Taliban's attacks on Shi'as and national minorities and we strongly condemn it. However, that is no reason to support the US-led War on Terror which has already displaced many millions of people and killed thousands. US drone attacks have killed many innocent girls and boys, and elders.

The combination of neo-liberal economics and the War on Terror itself makes it impossible for thousands of Malalas to get an education or even to live in safe and acceptable conditions. In this situation, to support drone attacks and military operations can only make imperialism and the reactionary Pakistani state stronger and set back the struggle against imperialism and for socialism.