Misbah Rana has been back in the news again this week, because she is back in Britain, staying with her sister and brothers.
It’s a story I followed 4 years ago, and I am not particularly interested in the rehash of it all – there is nothing really exceptional about her coming back to Britain and it is a bit of a non-story. But I am irritated by the way it is being reported. Practically all of the British media start their articles with words like “Molly Campbell, now known as Misbah Rana”, or “Molly Campbell, who changed her name to Misbah Rana when she went to Pakistan”.
The girl has actually been Misbah Rana from her birth, and that was the name she had through her childhood. It is also the name that she has repeatedly said she wished to be known as, that she identifies herself with.
The name “Molly Campbell” was an alias invented by her mother, when she took her away to Stornoway, cutting her off from her siblings, her father and her culture. The surname Campbell was actually her mother’s then boyfriend’s name, who was not related to Misbah.
The argument that the media uses is “Molly is the name all of our readers know her by”. My answer to that is “Yes, because you got it wrong 4 years ago, when you were trying to portray her father as a kidnapping monster”. To continue to call her Molly is not only inaccurate reportage, I think it is extremely disrespectful.
I’m not sure why this pisses me off so much. Perhaps it is because this time it is not just the Daily Mail who are being cultural arseholes, the Guardian are at it too.