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Malala Yousafzai criticised for 'feminist' Broadway collaboration with Hillary Clinton

Critics say the pair, who produced the musical 'Suffs', are silent on the suffering of Palestinian women in Gaza
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai during the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2022 in New York City (AFP/Spencer Platt)

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai have made their Broadway production debut this month with the musical Suffs. However, news of the show was not music to everyone's ears.

Critics took to social media to accuse the pair of double standards and “silence” over the plight of Palestinian women in Gaza amid ongoing Israeli bombardment, while producing and promoting a musical about the early 20th-century suffragette movement in the US. 

“Malala co-producing a musical about the American women's suffrage movement while being silent about the horrific atrocities being committed against women and girls in Gaza & actively collaborating with a vocal champion of Israel,” posted one user on X, formerly Twitter. “Irony has never been more stark.”

Clinton, who ran for president in 2016, has promoted herself as an advocate for feminism and women’s rights. 

This has prompted many online users to highlight what they say is the "glaring hypocrisy" of Clinton’s backing of Israel despite several reports on Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinian women and girls, including sexual abuse. 

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Yousafzai, on the other hand, became a household name in the fight for girls’ education after she was shot in 2012 for speaking out against the Pakistani Taliban’s restrictions on girls’ access to education. At 17, she became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate in 2014 for her activism. 

Social media users expressed their disappointment with her collaboration with Clinton amid Israel’s targeted strikes on educational institutions in Gaza and the violence that has forced schools in the occupied West Bank to close and turn to remote learning.

“Malala herself has been relatively muted on the devastation of the education system in Gaza. Whatever little she’s said, has been muted platitudes,” said one user.

Social media users have also criticised Yousafzai for partnering with “warmonger” Clinton, who as secretary of state under President Obama oversaw deadly drone strikes that killed hundreds of civilians, including children, in the activist’s native Pakistan. 

“Malala said drone attacks are fueling terrorism and killing innocents. She's now partnering with Hillary Clinton, who oversaw the drone campaign,” said one user. “She exposed her double standards with Palestine and can safely be called a pawn for the imperial powers.”

Suffs has made its Broadway debut amid tension and fierce criticism of the country's unwavering support and arming of Israel’s war in Gaza as the US gears up for presidential elections later this year.

Israel's assault has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, 70 percent of whom are women and children.

In February, UN experts said they had received reports of Palestinian female detainees being subjected to “multiple forms of sexual assault” in Israeli detention since 7 October. 

The experts added that hundreds of Palestinian women and girls have been arbitrarily detained since the war started.

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