In October of last year, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen while riding on a school bus. She was not the victim of random violence, but was targeted for assassination by cowardly elements who sought to make an example out of her activism for girls’ education in Pakistan. Malala had blogged and corresponded with the BBC about the treatment of girls in Pakistan, particularly as it relates to education. The Taliban plan failed miserably, and has backfired fantastically.
Malala was in critical condition for a while, but eventually recovered as the whole world watched. Time Magazine named Malala one of its “100 Most Influential People in the World”. Her cause of education for girls in Pakistan got something even better than a martyr. It got a survivor.
Now there is another hero on the scene, advocating and outright fighting for education for all in Pakistan. It is a new cartoon hero called The Burka Avenger.
The story centers around three school-age children in the fictional town of Halwapur in northern Pakistan. The title heroine is the alter ego of a mild-mannered teacher in the town who fights Taliban bullies using pens and school books as weapons. The martial arts sequences in the show are very Matrix-inspired and feature a martial art known as Takht Kabaddi.
A burqa is an article of clothing worn by women in Islamic traditions that covers the entire body so she is not seen by, and therefore not tempting to, other men. In many cultures it is seen as a symbol of the oppression of women. In the case of this heroine, she wears the burqa to conceal her identity, allowing her to kick butt incognito. This detail turns the oppressive nature of the burqa upside down, allowing a woman to mop the floor with Taliban heavies while wearing clothing that they insisted be worn in the first place. In her teacher identity, she does not wear one.
The show has spawned a star-studded soundtrack album, music videos, and iPhone game.
Watch the video for action sequences of the Burka Avenger.