Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, October 20, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 18



 Mountain Views News Saturday, October 20, 2012 


HOWARD Hays As I See It


“The night was filled with the noise of artillery fire and I woke up three times. But since 
there was no school I got up later at 10 AM. Afterwards, my friend came over and we 
discussed our homework. Today is 15 January, the last day before the Taliban’s edict 
comes into effect” 

- Malala Yousufzai, then 12 years old, in BBC’s “Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl”

 The election is only a couple weeks away, “binders full of women” joins “Big Bird” as 
Mitt Romney’s gift to internet punditry, and Republicans are outraged a request for an 
airplane from our embassy in Tripoli didn’t translate into President Obama’s sending 
Marines to our consulate in Benghazi. These past days, though, my thoughts have 
been with a now-15-year-old girl, drifting in and out of consciousness, recovering 
from shots to her head and neck in a London hospital that specializes in treating military casualties.

 ”I was scared enough to see pictures of bodies hanging in Green Chowk (crossing), but the decision 
of militants to bar girls from going to school was very shocking for me and I decided to stand against 
forces of backwardness.”

 Malala Yousufzai told CNN of being “scared of being beheaded by the Taliban because of my passion 
for education. . . During their rule, the Taliban used to march into our houses to check whether we 
were studying or watching television."

 Ziauddin Yousufzai is headmaster of a school for girls and boys in the town of Mingora, in the Swat 
Valley. When the Taliban took over in 2008, destroying 125 girls’ schools in ten months, a BBC correspondent 
asked if one of his female teachers could write on the situation under the Taliban. None 
of the teachers were willing to do so, but his 11-year-old daughter, Malala, was.

 Ziauddin explains she did it “Not for the sake of her father’s wish, but for the sake of the safety and 
peace of her land. No one was willing to write the inside stories, the cruelty, the terror and the sufferings 
of the people of Swat because of the life threats by Taliban.”

 Malala wrote under the pseudonym “Gul Makai”, and her father remembers, “The first time I saw 
someone print the Diary, I could not tell them that it’s my daughter who has written this. Today, I am 
happy that the world knows who Gul Makai is!” He made these comments as his daughter received 
a “Future of Pakistan” award at the International Conference on Women Leadership, held last July in 
Islamabad. Desmond Tutu nominated her for the International Children’s Peace Prize. 

 “I had no intention nor had I thought before contributing diaries on brutalities of Taliban that my 
efforts would earn fame for me and I will become a voice against tyranny.”

 She carried that voice to talk shows and personal appearances, demanding that Pakistani girls be 
permitted to have an education. The Taliban labeled her activities “an obscenity”; “We do not tolerate 
people like Malala speaking against us.”

 It was on the way home from school when assailants rode up to her school bus (a small van) on a 
motorcycle, boarded and demanded that Malala be identified. She and two classmates sitting with 
her were shot.

 “Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is 
our basic right.” 

 News of the incident inspired a singular slogan adopted by schoolgirls throughout Pakistan: “I am 
Malala”. A classmate appeared on TV; “Every girl in Swat is Malala. We will educate ourselves. We 
will win. They can’t defeat us.” 

 Protests started with small gatherings and candlelight vigils and then, as news spread and political 
leaders spoke out (though rarely mentioning the Taliban by name), tens of thousands crowded the 
streets of Karachi. Children carried Malala’s picture, parents voiced concern over the future awaiting 
their daughters as well as sons. Students in surviving girls’ schools, both in Pakistan and across the 
border in Afghanistan, gathered in classrooms with hands clasped in prayer for the girl drifting in and 
out of consciousness in a London hospital. Fifty Islamic clerics issued a fatwa against those who tried 
to kill Malala. Major political leaders referred to her as “the daughter of the nation”. Schools closed 
in her honor, and people lined up to donate blood. 

 “Democracy is the best rule. This country needs new leaders. I want to study the law and I dream of 
a country in which education prevails and no one sleeps hungry. That would be my kind of country.”

 White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president considers the attack on Malala to be “reprehensible 
and disgusting and tragic”, and that US forces would be available for transport and treatment. 
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) offered the services of the surgeons who treated her following 
the attempt on her own life. Secretary of State Clinton told a group of visiting Girl Scouts the attack 
"reminds us of the challenges that girls face, whether it's poverty or marginalization or even violence, 
just for speaking out for their basic rights." 

 The Taliban have reiterated their determination to kill not only Malala, but also her father, Ziauddin: 
“If she survives this time, she won’t next time. We will certainly kill her.” In light of the protests, however, 
they’ve softened their position to explain the capital offense is not just her stand on education, 
but the fact Malala “idealized” Barrack Obama.

 For the coming election, billions are being spent here at home to help shape tax codes and business 
regulation over the next four years. In a London hospital, there’s a voice which will help shape the 
world for generations to come.

 "I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. 
I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up." - Malala Yousufzai

Everybody talks about the middle class being hurt in the Obama economy, but 
it's really the working poor who are getting crushed.

The president boasts that he and four more years of his trickle-down government 
policies are going to save the middle class' bacon, eggs and jobs.

And at the Tuesday night cockfight on Long Island, our presumptive ex-commander 
in chief accused Mitt Romney of being hypocrite and a liar who wants 
to help the rich at the expense of the middle class.

The middle class has become an important political football this fall, but no one 
knows what the middle class actually is. 

There's no official definition based on household income. It ranges between $42,000 and $60,000 a 
year and it's different by state. 

Earn $45k in Utah or Mississippi and you're solidly middle class. Earn that much in Manhattan or 
the Great Train Wreck State of California, where Obama Gas can cost $5 a gallon, and you're really 

It's certainly true the middle class has been hurt by the Great Recession. But the biggest losers are the 
working poor. 

When the economy goes south, they are the first to lose their jobs or see their paychecks shrink. 

The president doesn't talk about helping them. But the working poor are people like my daughter, a 
schoolteacher in Southern California. And Victor, my barber. And Jenny, who does my nails. And the 
waiter at the local restaurant. 

When the middle class feels the pinch, what's the first thing they do to make ends meet? They drop 
their hair colorists and gardeners, who often end up becoming part of the 23 million Americans looking 
for jobs.

President Obama wants to encourage high-skilled immigrants to stay in America. That's fine. But it's 
the low-skilled immigrants and the working poor who I'm worried about.

They're the ones who do America's hardest, dirtiest jobs, and it's their kids who are hoping to join the 
middle class of tomorrow.

When I was growing up in Los Angeles the low-paid workers of the day were the Japanese, many of 
whom were gardeners. 

But the Japanese worked hard, educated their kids and became one of our most successful ethnic 
groups, even after the prejudice of World War II. That's the way it's always worked in this country 
-- until Barack Obama came along. 

The American people have two clear choices three Tuesdays from now. They can choose between a 
successful businessman and a failed president. 

Obama wants to take wealth from the rich and give it to the poor so everyone in America can live on 
an equal scale. 

But Americans have never been economically equal and don't want to be. The president wants to 
create something that's never existed in the history of the world; the economies that tried are on "the 
ash heap of history." 

Obama's been a total disaster. The economy is tanking, 23 million are out of work, 47 million are getting 
food stamps, and he has no clue what to do for the next four years.

And since he can't defend his own record, all Obama's been doing is attacking Mitt Romney for his 
wealth and success.

Mitt has nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, he needs to stop being so shy about his record of success. 
He needs to do a little bragging to the American people -- especially to the poor and working classes.

He needs to say, "When I ran Bain Capital I was asked to come in, save a lot of jobs, and make other 
people rich. I did a great job at that. 

"I was brought in to save the Winter Olympics when it was being destroyed by corruption and financial 
problems. I succeeded at that.

"Now my job is to bring the American economy back to health and create jobs. I'll be successful at 
that, too. And I'll make it possible for the working poor, the middle class -- all of us -- to live better."

Come on, undecideds, step up. It's time to vote for Mitt and put America's workers back to work.

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