On one hand, the Girls Scouts of USA, an organisation with universal values; the President of the USA; and the U.N. Secretary General are all united in their support for Malala Yousufzai, the righteous Pakistani girl who stood up to the threats of the Taliban thugs by demanding education for girls in Pakistan.
Fatwas have been issued but this time against the hooded thugs who shot her. In Britain (where she is undergoing treatment) former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has even initiated a petition which he intends to submit personally to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
It is thus most regrettable that in this background of good-intended global support, the first celebrity to 'debut' in the celebrity solidarity was 54 year old Madonna Ciccone. The entertainer, who has adopted more babies than the average Joe could care to count, reacted somewhere along these lines ;
"This made me cry." "The 14-year-old schoolgirl who wrote a blog about going to school. The Taliban stopped her bus and shot her. Do you realise how sick that is?
The theatrics would have worked if only the American singer did not deem it fitting to tattoo Malala's name across her back and strip tease on stage ! If there's any doubt of her lack of sincerity, there is nothing to look beyond her disgusting act and the (predictably) inappropriate response her vulgar act evoked from the crowd. Madonna was never known for her abundance of morals but there's a difference between obscenity and bold creativity. After calling on her fans to vote for the 'Black Muslim in the White House', an act explained for her deaf fans with an OBAMA tattoo ( of the temporary type, fortunately), she followed up with the latest P.R blunder at her performance in Los Angeles's Staples Centre, dedicating her song Human Nature to the child activist. An ironic title, calling into question the nature of the mother of four's infamous for her antics.
Just what was Her Madgesty thinking ? That little stunt might have far deeper ramifications than she might ever realize. For one thing, the Taliban, as rustic and medieval minded as they may be, are not stupid. In fact in what can only be described as a propaganda coup, they defeated the intellect and judgement of the CIA well enough to get a double agent strapped with explosives to enter an American base without security checks (made redundant by trusting CIA officers) and blow himself up, killing several CIA personnel in one of the worst attacks in recent years.
In fact, groups in Pakistan are already asserting the attack was orchestrated by the CIA as an excuse to continue drone strikes. With access to the internet, a Goebbelessian Taliban member could just about use Madonna's transparent (no pun intended) self promotion, which is shamelessly portrayed as solidarity, to justify why democracy, which unfortunately is represented by Madonna in this case, is "is the symbol of the infidels and obscenity"- words that had no basis when originally used to refer to Malala by the Pakistani Taliban. While that still doesn't change (with respect to Yousufzai) , the picture of Madonna with Malala's name on it would go much further in pictorially promoting Taliban propaganda in the hands of a Photoshop-proficient Taliban member than any pamphlet could. As always, a picture speaks a thousand words even if it is misleading.
Yousufzai is a decent Muslim girl whose sincerity and courage has made her a role model and heroine for countless girls worldwide; the last thing she needs is Madonna's vulgarity to taint the noble effort to provide education in Pakistan and promote peace and stability. The best Madge can do would be to stay away.
Let's just hope that Gharib Goebbels doesn't read this blog.
External Links* Excellent NY Times documentary on Yousufzai and her father in 2009.
* Yousufzai's BCC blog