Malala Yousafzai Becomes Youngest Nominee for Nobel Peace Prize

MALALA-YOUSAFZAI1-e1350660299754A year ago, 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai became an international hero when she was shot in the head for fighting for a girl’s right to an education against a violently opposed Pakistani Taliban. On Oct. 9th, the Swat Valley, Pakistan native became the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize during the same week she released her autobiography, “I am Malala.”

In an interview with Jon Stewart, Yousafzai reflected on what inspired her to stand up against a cruel and violent regime — one that had obliterated more than 400 schools and, at the height of its brutality, was known to kill two or three a night.

“At that time, I said, ‘Why should I wait for someone else? Why should I be looking to the government, to the army that they would help us? Why won’t I use my voice? Why won’t we speak of our rights?’” she said. Yousafzai spread her message in a blog and on the BBC network to share with the country and world the level of suffering Swat was experiencing as a result of terrorism. When Pakistani Taliban authorities discovered her online, she told herself that if they came for her, she would be physically prepared to defend herself.

“But then I said, ‘If you hit the Tali with your shoe, then there will be no difference between you and the Tali,’” she said. “‘You must not treat others very much with cruelty, that much harshly. You must fight others, but to peace, and to …  education.’ Then I said, ‘I’ll tell him how important education is, and that I even want education for your children as well.’ And I would tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you. Now do it.’” ­

Her campaign for girls’ basic right to an education continues to rise on the world stage online, capturing hearts, collecting stories and dollars at www.malalafund.org.

Asian Populations in Chinatowns Sharply Decline on the East Coast

By International Examiner Staff & Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Photo from “Chinatown Then and Now” report.
Photo from “Chinatown Then and Now” report.

New data from a landmark land-use study released this month shows that the three largest Chinatowns on the East Coast displaced Asian Americans after dramatic rezoning and redevelopment efforts.

“Chinatowns have provided the city’s immigrants with support networks and affordable housing for over a century,” said Bethany Li, staff attorney at Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). “Gentrification and ongoing redevelopment projects, however, threaten to destroy the sustainability of these once-thriving immigrant communities.”

AALDEF, in collaboration with community partners, academic institutions and hundreds of volunteers, spent a year recording data, block-by-block and lot-by-lot, in order to document the existing land uses in Boston, New York and Philadelphia Chinatowns. The report, “Chinatown Then and Now,” is the first of its kind, revealing current commercial, residential and industrial patterns in Chinatowns that make them particularly vulnerable to gentrification.

Overall, researchers found that whites in Chinatown increased faster than the overall population in the three cities, especially over the last decade. The number of white residents doubled in Boston and Philadelphia the past 10 years. Family households also declined in Chinatowns from 73 percent to 47 percent in Boston; 82 percent to 73 percent in New York; and 61 percent to 49 percent in Philadelphia.

“The gentrification that threatens to transform these areas is not just the natural result of market forces or the general evolution of these cities,” noted Li.

In New York City, for example, Mayor Bloomberg’s 12-year term marked an era of high redevelopment, including massive rezoning changes and the designation of Chinatown as a Business Improvement District (BID). The study shows that “high-end” retail stores along Chinatown boundaries are now moving into traditional Chinatown. Relaxed rent regulation laws have also enabled landowners to illegally evict low-income tenants and rent to those who can afford higher rent. In Philadelphia, luxury development continues despite the need for affordable housing and green space. Philadelphia’s Chinatown has the least amount of green space of any of the three areas surveyed. In Boston, institutional development has shaped Chinatown more significantly than in other cities, as the land use data shows that many of the parcels are devoted to large institutional uses (Tuft University Medical Center, Emerson College and Suffolk University) without adding resources for Asian immigrants in the neighborhood.

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