Malala’s hometown puts on brave face after Nobel disappointment


Friends and supporters of Malala Yousafzai in her hometown of Swat voiced disappointment as she missed out on the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, but the Tailban said they were “delighted” at the news.
The 16-year-old was hotly tipped to win the Nobel after courageously fighting back from a Taliban attempt on her life to lead a high-profile international campaign for the right of all children to go to school.
But instead the Nobel committee honoured the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for its work to rid the world of chemical arms. In Mingora, the main town of the Swat Valley where Malala grew up and where on October 9 last year a Taliban gunman shot her, friends and former schoolmates were philosophical about the disappointment. “If she did not win the Nobel Prize, it’s not a big deal,” said 17-year-old Muhammad Fahad, who studied with Malala. “Life is bigger than the Nobel Prize and her life is a major award for us. She will win many more awards.”
Her cousin Mehmoodul Hassan, 33, an administrator at the school where she studied, said: “Malala herself is an award for us, because she has come back to life from the edge of death.” The Taliban said they shot Malala for speaking out against them, demanding that girls should go to school, and they have repeatedly said they will try again to kill her.
TALIBAN SLAM NOMINATION: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told AFP the 16-year-old had done nothing to deserve the Nobel.
“We are delighted that she didn’t get it. She did nothing big so it’s good that she didn’t get it,” Shahid said by telephone from an undisclosed location. “This award should be given to the real Muslims who are struggling for Islam. Malala is against Islam, she is secular.”
Such suspicion and even contempt for Malala is not uncommon in Pakistan – in contrast to her reception in the West, where she has been courted by politicians and feted by celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Madonna. “Most people think this attack on Malala was a fake and a staged drama,” Ibrar Khan, a political science student in Mingora, said. “Her father used this incident to go abroad and get an attractive job.”