West-approved activism: Internet upset with Malala’s failure to ‘condemn Israel’
Malala Yousafzai recently took to X to share a video in which she highlighted how “collective punishment is not the answer,” Furthermore, she mentioned, “Half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years old. They should not be forced to live their entire lives under bombing and an unjust occupation.” Pledging “$300,000 to charities working to help Palestinian children and people in danger,” the activist urged “the Israeli government to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza” and reiterated “the call for a ceasefire.”
As a result, many people spoke up about the activist’s post. “Why aren’t you condemning Israel openly?” questioned one user of the site formerly known as Twitter. “You have donated more than your critiques earn in their whole lives, proud of you,” said another.
Despite the few positive responses, the criticism kept piling on. “There’s a word for it: genocide, and the perpetrator’s name is Israel. Say it louder ma’am,” said one X user. Another stated, “I always supported her no matter what until this. Malala can condemn and take a stand for Ukraine but not for Palestine huh? The [double standards] are insane. What can I expect from an American puppet? It literally takes a second to call it a genocide and take names of who is behind it.”
One user highlighted, “Saw my Egyptian friends criticising Mo Salah for quietly donating instead of raising his voice and calling out Israel because right now his voice matters more than money. I think the same situation fits here. We need powerful people to force Israel to stop genocide instead of this.” Another said, “I don’t think enough people get that if the very few internationally accepted Muslim activists/influential individuals will give statements like this, it does more harm than good. We are literally in a moral crisis. If your voice has the power to do something, do something!”
A lot of people continued to be angry about the fact that one of the biggest Muslim activists – an internationally recognised and lauded one, at that – could not name the perpetrator in the attacks on Palestine. “My issue with Malala is simple. She condemned Russia on the same day when they attacked Ukraine and raised her voice. In the Palestine-Israel conflict, she didn’t raise her voice for days and then she came up with this video where she didn’t even name Israel,” said a disgruntled user of X.
They continued to state, “What’s the point of having millions of followers and contacts with big journalists and agencies when you are too concerned about your own career rather than doing something good for people dying by Israelis?”
Many continued to voice their disappointment. “This is so sad that the words that address who bombed the hospital just wouldn’t come out. This is an example of West-approved ‘acceptable activism’ for us. A pacified, passionless, depoliticised activism that does nothing to highlight the power structure.”
“Just tell the world who bombed the hospital?” said another X user. “Tell the world it’s Israel, why don’t you take the real culprit’s name? Why so afraid? You claim you were a victim of terrorism. Then, name the real terrorists that are bombing Palestine. Or don’t your puppeteers allow you to speak?”
Amidst the criticism, many who were already dismissive of the activist took to X to voice some rather nasty sentiments. There were those who then spoke up to highlight a middle ground when it came to criticising Malala. “Now, I really do think we can critique her and condemn her disgusting cowardice without wishing the Taliban had actually killed her,” said one X user. “It’s like some of you (Muslim men) wait for Muslim women to mess up so that you have an excuse to get aggressive and make violent jokes.”
Amongst all this, Malala also took to her Instagram Story to state, “I admire the bravery of young women who are showing the world what is happening in Gaza and speaking out for an end to violence. It’s essential that we centre their voices and perspectives in our coverage and understanding of what’s happening on the ground.”