February 4, 2023 2:59 pm

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The Deafening Silence of Malala and Greta Thunberg

Both Malala Yousufzai and Greta Thunberg have been highly vocal only on few select issues while keeping a studied silence on several others, raising questions about their credibility and intent.

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Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg

Europe has been facing an unprecedented energy crisis since the beginning of the Ukraine-Russia War. The renowned climate activist, Greta Thunberg, who is known for speaking out on climate and energy issues, has so far been quiet on the issue.

Recently, a seminar on human rights violations was organised by Baloch Human Rights Council during the 51st session of UNHRC. It asked the UN to send a fact-checking body to Balochistan.

Another well-known women’s rights activist and Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai has not commented on the severe human rights violations in Balochistan.

Greta Thunberg  

Greta Thunberg — known for her passionate speech in UNSC — nowadays is busy with her book launch or organising school strikes.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg Photo Credit: Flickr

While she has loudly voiced her opinions on several issues, the teen climate activist has maintained silence on critical topics such as Nordstream leakage or Wildfires in Greece.

We have listed several topics on which she has not responded or even posted a tweet.

European Energy Crisis   

Ever since the beginning of the Ukraine-Russia war, the European continent has been facing an energy crisis.

The electricity and fuel bills have crossed through the roof, affecting the day-to-day life of people. However, the usually vocal Greta Thunberg has been unusually quiet on the issue. Although for years, she has wanted people to shrug off non-renewable energy sources 

Interestingly, Greta Thunberg’s last comment about anything remotely close to the matter was Germany’s restarting of coal plants.  

Methane Leakage from Nordstream Pipeline

On September 26, a series of explosions on two underwater pipelines connecting Russia and Germany sent gas gushing to the Baltic Sea’s surface. 

Nordstream pipeline leakage
Gas leak at Nord Stream 2 as seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm, Denmark September 27, 2022. Photo Credit: Danish Defence Command/Forsvaret Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS

The explosions caused four gas leaks in four different locations in Sweden and Denmark. Amid the diplomatic furore, the gas leakage also raised a climate emergency.

Methane leakage from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines is likely to be the largest burst of the potent greenhouse gas on record.

Despite the gas storm eruption — and that too in Swedish waters — there was no sign of Greta Thunberg boating out to take selfies of the arising gas bubbles. 

Drought in China

China was suffering from a severe drought this year.  

The historic drought caused parts of the Yangtze River to dry up, disrupting hydropower and shipping routes, limiting drinking water supplies, and even uncovering previously submerged Buddhist statues.

The nationwide drought was a result of the heatwave — the worst in 60 years of the country’s history. Despite the severe drought, several climate activists —  including Greta Thunberg did not utter a word on the issue.

Wildfires Across Greece 

Greece, in the ongoing year, witnessed massive destruction to its forests due to wildfires.

Wildfires in Greece
A resident holds an empty water hose during an attempt to extinguish forest fires approaching the village of Pefki in Evia, Greece’s second largest island, Photo Credit: ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Thirty forest fires were reported in the country in the first few months of 2022, a significant increase from the usual figure. In comparison to the average of 37.5 hectares (2,471 acres), these fires engulfed over 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of land (around 92 acres).

The wildfires were attributed to heatwave phenomena in entire Europe which significantly affected several countries.

It might be a curious case study as to why the pro-nature teen activist did not tweet over the massive destruction of forest land in Greece.

Low Crop Harvest in Syria 

The Swedish climate activist has also completely ignored the bad harvest yield in war-torn Syria.

In 2022, Syria’s total wheat harvest amounted to 1 million tonnes, which is down 75% from pre-war figures.

Though the conflict is a big reason for low harvest yield, it has also been negatively impacted by climate change. Erratic rainfall patterns over the last two seasons have drastically reduced Syria’s wheat crop from around 4 million tonnes per year before the war.

Cheetah in India  

In September this year, eight cheetahs were airlifted from Namibia and brought to India.

Indian PM Narendra Modi observing a Cheetah
Indian PM Narendra Modi observing a Cheetah Photo Credit: Narendra Modi.in

This was a significant event as the big cat was introduced to India after it was declared extinct in 1952. Cheetahs are highly important for their ecosystems to maintain the population of herbivores.

Greta Thunberg should have lauded India for taking a step to promote ecological diversity. Such positive stories on wildlife should be shared more widely but it seems the activist only cares about negative ones regarding India such as farmers‘ protests in 2020.

Malala Yousafzai  

The Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai recently visited Pakistan on the 10th anniversary of her assassination attempt by the Taliban.

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai Photo Credit: NY Post

She visited flood-affected areas in Pakistan and enquired refugees about their problems.

She is famous throughout the world for advocacy of women’s rights and universal education. Although just like Greta Thunberg, she also has subjectively chosen issues to express outrage.

Here are some important issues on which she has never voiced her opinion.

Atrocities on  Hindu women in Pakistan 

A Hindu minor girl was abducted from Pakistan’s Sindh on 11 October, making it the fourth such incident in the last 15 days.

The country is infamous for its ill-treatment of Hindu, Sikh and Christian minorities. According to a report by Associated Press, around 1,000 girls are forcibly converted to Islam every year.

Pakistani politicians rarely speak out against rampant abductions and conversions but the silence of Malala Yousafzai is appalling. Not even once she has extended her support to the Hindu women of Pakistan or called out the government for lack of action.

Many times, she has been called out by netizens for her hypocrisy.

Chinese Oppression of Uyghur Muslims

Since 2014, the communist regime in China has been accused of oppressing Uyghur Muslims.

A protester from the Uyghur community living in Turkey, holds an anti-China placard during a protest in Istanbul
A protester from the Uyghur community living in Turkey, holds an anti-China placard during a protest in Istanbul Photo Credit: AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

The Chinese government has imposed extensive controls and restrictions on the religious, cultural, economic, and social lives of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.  From mass detention camps to forced sterilisation of Uyghur women — the communist regime has violated human rights beyond measure.

The Nobel laureate, to date, has failed to criticise China over its atrocities on Uyghur Muslims.

Grooming gangs in United Kingdom 

In recent years, the United Kingdom has witnessed a dramatic revelation of several rapes and sexual assaults by grooming gangs.

The Huddersfield grooming gang was a group of men convicted of sexual assault on girls in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK. It is the largest gang ever convicted in the United Kingdom for sex abuse. The crimes were committed between 2004 and 2011.

Several such grooming gangs have been identified for years.

Malala Yousafzai, the champion of women’s rights, did not say anything regarding these grooming gangs despite studying in Birmingham, England.

Human Rights Violations in Balochistan 

Pakistan has often been accused of committing human rights violations in Balochistan.

According to a 2018 report, Pakistan was using Islamist militants against Baloch nationalists. On May 11, 2021 the Balochistan Human Rights Commission published its annual report.

According to the report, there has been an increase in fake encounters, forced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, target killings, torture, collective punishment, and honour killings.

Malala Yousafzai wanted UN intervention in Kashmir but she has not said anything similar about Balochistan. She has not even, for once, criticised the Pakistan government for perpetuating atrocities on Baloch nationals.

The deafening silence of Malala Yousufzai and Greta Thunberg on key issues while being highly vocal on a few select ones, raises questions about their credibility and intent. The two activists — recognised and acclaimed globally have largely ignored a major portion of the world.

Greta Thunberg now seems more of a teen-aspiring-for-politician rather than a climate activist, while Malala Yousafzai has failed to talk about the brutalities suffered by women in her very own country. 

Yash Rawat
Yash Rawat

Its been hard to express myself so here I am.. writing.

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