Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani woman who was shot in the head by the Taliban for believing that women have a right to education, met with President Obama on Friday, thanking him for his support of education and asking him to stop drone strikes in Pakistan.
Passed over for a Nobel Peace Prize on Friday morning, Yousafzai met with the President, the First Lady, and their 15-year-old daughter, Malia, on Friday afternoon. While thanking the President for his support of education and assistance to Syrian refugees, Yousafzai pressed the President on the issue of drone strikes, a counterterrorism method he supports.
"I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees," Yousafzai said in a statement after the meeting. "I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact."
A popular argument against the use of drone strikes is the pervasive fear they inflict on tribal communities in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen. This fear and devastation, opponents argue. produces more terrorists than the strike itself kills.
In this week's issue of the The New York Review of Books, Malise Ruthven writes,
A Pakistani observer notes that drones circling the skies in Waziristan on Pakistan’s notoriously lawless northwest frontier “produce a monotonous buzz, almost like the sound of a generator,” making it difficult for young children to sleep. Jennifer Gibson, who contributed to a report jointly commissioned by the Stanford and New York University law schools, goes further: “Drones terrorize the civilian population. They subject whole communities to the constant threat of random annihilation.” The use of drone strikes peaked in 2010, and although the number of strikes on Pakistan has fallen each year since then, it is estimated that between 88 and 143 people there have been killed by drones this year.
Getting shot by religious radicals and then telling the President of the United States that the way he's fighting them is wrong? Malala Yousafzai is way bigger than a piece of medal given out by a bunch of Norwegians.