Freedom Rider: Malala the Worthy Victim


by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

In U.S. war films, the American soldier fighting in a strange land befriends a local child, creating a personal bond of humanity, while busily killing scores of the kid’s adult countrymen. American corporate media perform much the same sick exercise, identifying children among the “worthy victims” of the other side in U.S. foreign wars. Children deemed unworthy of American sympathy are left to the tender mercies of drones.


Freedom Rider: Malala the Worthy Victim

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The unworthy victim makes unwanted demands on the powerful and is crushed.”

Malala Yousufzai is a Pakistani teenager who publicly campaigned for the right of young girls to be educated in her country. A resident of the town of Mingora in the Swat valley, she began her efforts at the age of 11, and gave a human face to the terrors inflicted by the Taliban on the civilian population. When she was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban, Miss Yousufzai became an international celebrity. She has been lauded, and rightly so, for taking such a principled and risky stance.

She is not the only victim of violence and terror in Pakistan, but she has become the latest of the worthy victims that we hear so much about. The propaganda created by our corporate media tells us that some victims of tragedy are worthy of our consideration and concern, while others are not. The worthy victim is a person who advances the interests of the powerful or the elites. The unworthy victim makes unwanted demands on the powerful and is crushed, or brings to light things which those at the top want to keep hidden, or is just a member of a group that is out of favor.

Malala is the worthy victim du jour among a sea of unworthy victims created by our government. According to a recent study American drones have killed between 2,562 and 3,325 people in Pakistan. Between 474 and 881 of those killed were civilians, and 176 were children. These numbers are estimates because the drone program is shrouded in official secrecy. But it is clear that our government is responsible for bringing terror to a civilian population, a war crime by any definition.

The corporate media that have given Malala Yousufzai so much attention give none to the nameless victims of American terror. These drone attack victims in Pakistan have been deemed unworthy with no right to be mentioned or spoken of for the simple reason that our government killed them.

The drone attack victims in Pakistan have been deemed unworthy.”

The picking and choosing of victims and determining worth is all the more ironic because it is the United States which brought Taliban terror to Pakistan and Malala in the first place. Cold war competition with the Soviet Union brought the Taliban under United States protection and patronage. Malala’s shooting was blowback, one of many tragic examples of that phenomenon which is the direct result of the United States insisting on having its way with the world. The United States has produced jihadi terrorists who carried out the attacks on September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington and on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya. Malala is just the latest example of the hapless individual who ended up suffering at the hands of a government which allegedly wanted to help them.

Most Americans know little or nothing about the drone terror inflicted on Pakistani men, women and children. If they were better informed it still might not make much of a difference in their opinions. They believe that their government has the right to do whatever it wants, particularly to brown skinned people living in far away places.

If Malala Yousufzai had been maimed by an American drone attack, the media would probably not have reported on it at all. If by some miracle they had done so, they would have simultaneously deferred to White House or Defense Department spokespersons who either minimize or deny the suffering created by this country’s actions.

It is clear that our government is responsible for bringing terror to a civilian population, a war crime by any definition.”

Next week the presidential candidates will debate on foreign policy. The word debate is used loosely of course, but the duopoly conversation will only affirm that the slaughter of innocent people in Pakistan and Afghanistan will continue no matter who is elected president. Each president assaults the rules of law a little more than his predecessor.

George W. Bush claimed a legal right to declare anyone an “enemy combatant” who could be held without charge or trial. Barack Obama has gone further, claiming not only a right to detain indefinitely, but also a right to act as judge, jury and executioner and assassinate anyone he wants.

If Americans and others in the West want to be outraged about official violence used against teens, they should be outraged about the death of an American teenager in Yemen. In October 2011, sixteen year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was killed by a drone in Yemen, just days after his father Anwar al-Awlaki was dispatched in the same manner. Both father and son were American citizens and neither was ever charged with a crime, but both are dead because the president ordered them killed and neither media pundits nor celebrities bemoan that fact. They are deemed unworthy of sympathy or attention because they were on the “Kill List” which the White House bragged about putting into place.

Hopefully Malala Yousufzai will recover and she and her counterparts will be able to exercise their right to be educated without fear of violence. Hopefully there will also come a day when the United States stops killing Pakistani girls and boys and men and women. Until then, the least the rest of us can do is make them worthy of our concern.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)


Thank you!

Thank you for pointing out what should be obvious to anyone with a brain and a conscience, but sadly, is not, thanks to the unbridled manipulation of our corporate-owned media.  I am sharing this everywhere, as I do so many articles from BAR, the best website there is!

Media Frenzy

I view this focus on Malala as nothing more than an attempt to foment hatred of Muslims to garner support for Obama's illegal resource wars.  It infuriates me for people to talk about the violence against women in the countries where our governement is murdering for control of natural resources, while there is no mention of the fact that there are more than 2.5 million acts of domestic violence against women in the US each year, and that the leading cause of death among pregnant women here is murder at the hands of her partner.  Using the twisted 'logic' of our 'government's' propaganda, it should be perfectly okay for another country to launch drone attacks against US neighborhoods to protect US women against all this violence.


There have been some that justify America's involvement in Afghanistan as necessary to protect the rights of women.  The improvement of the status of women in the Moslem world will only occure when the people in those societies deem it so.  It must be an internal development.  It cannot be done by drones or bombs from outside forces.

I have long thought that when the sons in Muslims families say that their mothers will no be beaten and that there will be no more honor killings of their sisters; then these practices will stop.

Here in the USA men are arguing over abortion rights of women?

War enhances patriarchy, it does not lessen it.


War is a LIE = Every Reason Given for Launching Aggressive War

Is A LIE! First the Bushites & Bliar said they launched war on Iraq because Saddam had WMD which could end up as a Mushroom Cloud over DC & London & he was in cahoots w Al-Qaeda on 9-11 [LIES], then they said it was to bring democracy & freedom to Iraqis [LIES]. The Bushites claimed they attack Afghanistan because bin Laden & Al Qaeda launched 9-11 from an Afghan cave [LIES], & then it was all about democracy, freedom & Afghan Women's Lib [= A FIB].

There's NO so such thing as an unprovoked aggressive yet so-called 'humanitarian' war / invasion. Thus R2P is just a phony BS hyped justification for the continued US / EU / NATO [= white] onslaught against non Euro-American [currently focused on Muslims via the phony 'War on Terror' = War on Islam]. Any-one who thinks the US / NATO on-going attack on Af-Pak is about Afghani women's liberation [from the Taliban] is either an Ignorant FOOL w NO Idea of what war really is & does, &/or a dis-info agent. The main civilian casualties of war either directly or indirectly are nearly always Women, Children & Elders. Even when it's mainly men that are killed they are always the Husbands / Sons / Brothers / Fathers of women &/or children. Thus for civilian 'collateral damage', Women & Children nearly always suffer most.

The hypocrisy of the idea that these wars on Muslim countries is about Muslim women's lib- is hi-lighted by the FUKUS-NATO assault on Libya last yr [& even their on-going scheme to topple Assad in Syria]. Under Khadaffi Libyan women had one of the highest literacy rates for women in Africa & in the Muslim world at 75% - 80%. In fact the majority of college students in Libya were women. Khadaffi even had women pilots- compared to the US' & UK's staunch ally the Saudi Oil monarchy [who was in cahoots w the FUK-US NATO cabal to sell Khadaffi out]- who do NOT even allow women to drive cars, walk in public without a veil or male escort(s). Khadaffi also restricted polygamy, gave women protection from forced marriages & some rights & protections RE: divorce. And what did they replace him w- an Al-Qaeda affiliated rebel-rousing racist lynch-mob regime that wants to install Sharia-law & take Libyan women back to the Saudi, if not Taliban, standard. In fact the one thing Khadaffi, Assad, Saddam & Iran had/has in common besides being Muslims w Oil- is they were / are less hard-core sectarian women-repressing Islamists- than are those US-EU- NATO stauch allies- the GCC Gulf oil monarchies.

And in the age of Obama & westernized concept of women's lib, too many have confused symbols [Black & women's faces in hi-profile places] w the substance of real progress for the people. Is the fact that Hitlery / Killery {I came, I saw, He Died- Ha, ha, ha} Clinton, Madame {I think the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children are worth it} Albright, Maggie {Iron Maiden} Thatcher, & the Rice Girls [Condi & Sue] hold / held hi-office in Gov't really an advancement for the cause of justice for all women??? And does the fact that Obama, Holder, Colin Powell, Uncle Judge Thomas, along w Condi & Sue Rice- hold/held hi-office really mean we've now in the era of so-called post-racial USA??? Obviously NOT!!!