In the early morning of October 12, 2012 in North Waziristan, a rural area of villages in Pakistan, 8-year-old Nabila Rehman ran in despair towards her grandmother whom had just been murdered by CIA drones, which incessantly stalk their agricultural capital. Seven of her siblings were wounded, her home was destroyed, and since then no justification or explanation has been given to what occurred on that day.
Now nine years old, Nabila, her 12-year old brother, and her father took nearly impossible measures to travel to the Washington DC in order to seek answers as to why this horrific and unnecessary nightmare was thrust upon their family. They were ignored.
Five out of four-hundred-and thirty representatives showed up to the congressional meeting where they gave testimony. Nabila’s father said to those attending, “My daughter does not have the face of a terrorist and neither did my mother, it just doesn’t make sense to me why this would happen…”
Few cared to answer or even listen. The US government roundly ignored the unexplained tragedy caused to the Rehman family. In fact, during the same moment Nabila was giving her speech, president Barack Obama was meeting with Lockheed Martin, CEO of a weapons manufacturer.
When contrasting Nabila’s situation to that of Malala Yousefzai, it is apparent how the US government holds in contempt the very people it claims to be liberating. Malala Yousefzai is a young girl whose life was nearly taken by an assassination attempt by the Taliban due to Malala’s initiative to educate the girls of her village. Malala became surrounded with Western media figures, such as Jon Stewart, as well as politicians and civic leaders. She was also granted an EU human rights prize. Her story was celebrated.
It is useful to ask why Nabila then, did not receive the same recognition? Is it not interesting how two very similar experiences were received in two completely different mannerisms? Malala was almost assassinated by the Taliban, a force which America claims to be fighting against. What of Nabila? Would it not prove to be unwise for the US government to publicize a horrific crime which their own CIA caused?
Washington Post’s Max Fisher had this to say:
Western fawning over Malala has become less about her efforts to improve conditions for girls in Pakistan, or certainly about the struggles of millions of girls in Pakistan, and more about our own desire to make ourselves feel warm and fuzzy with a celebrity and an easy message. It’s a way of letting ourselves off the hook, convincing ourselves that it’s a simple matter of good guys vs bad guys, that we’re on the right side and that everything is okay.
However if Nabila’s suffering was only a minor act of misconduct of a force so wholly committed to improving the lives of people in Pakistan, Afghanistan,etc. why was Nabila overlooked? Why was no apology offered to the Rehman family? It seems that the only people to be recognized for their pain will be the ones who fall at the hands of the enemy of the United States.
By Farah Ahmed