Madonna undoubtedly had the best of intentions when she stripped down to her bra and G-string at a recent show in Los Angeles to show the world her latest fake tattoo: MALALA. It's an old trick for the aging pop star -- Pick a cause, instruct a make up artist to paint said cause into her back and deliver a politically charged speech on stage as she's in the process of disrobing in order to reveal said cause. Madonna's already painted "OBAMA" and "PUSSY RIOT" onto her back. The 14-year-old target of a Taliban hit man is the obvious next step. Unfortunately, this time around, it would appear that Madonna may have caused more harm than good.
It's been nearly two weeks since Madonna's probably well intentioned stunt for Malala, but the Taliban isn't letting it go. Newsweek's correspondent in Afghanistan and Pakistan reported on Monday that the very YouTube-worthy performance is only fueling the rage of the world's most reviled terrorist organization. Even though she bookended her full reveal by hit song "Human Touch" and hit song "Like a Virgin," Madonna's managed to give the Taliban even more reason to hate the West. "If Malala were a good Muslim, such terrible people would not raise their voices for her -- people like Obama, [Angelina] Jolie, Madonna, [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai, and [Pakistani President Asif Ali] Zardari," Ghazi Wazir, a Taliban member in Karachi told The Daily Beast. "Whoever shot Malala would not be happy for hurting the girl, but they would be happy for any pain they could inflict on Obama, Zardari, Karzai, and the rest of the world's top enemies of Islam."
Well, at least Madonna's not alone in the making-the-Taliban-hate-us-more club. But it's quite the catch-22, this Taliban rage. The more famous people draw attention to Malala's cause, the more angry the Taliban become. One operative for former Afghan presidential candidate Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai said that the celebs name-checking Malala are creating "a hugely negative message about Muslims, but Madonna has spread the anti-Islam and anti-Pashtun propaganda even wider by her song."
The natural, horrible extension of this situation is that the Taliban actually goes after more teenage girls. It's already happening. On Monday, news emerged that Hina Khan, a 15-year-old activist, and her family who used to live not to far from Malala in Pakistan's Swat valley have received a number of death threats since the attack. Someone keeps painting a large red "X" on her family's gate, and they've also received threats over the phone. Meanwhile, Khan's father says his family is "being held as hostages inside [their] house."
Is it Madonna's fault? No, of course it's not Madonna's fault. Did Madonna's probably well intentioned protest help matters? It seems very doubtful. Is it offensive when Madonna shows her butt in order to stand up for young Muslim women in danger? Everybody seems to agree that the answer is, Yes.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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