Friday, October 12, 2012

Malala's Dreams

Free Like Butterflies

"My life is like a movie, full of dreams. I used to dream of becoming famous, to see my valley freed from the clutches of Taliban, to see girls flying like butterflies, free from any restrictions. It is becoming as a reality so I am happy, happy, and very happy," she said. "I want to change the political system so there is social justice and equality and change in the status of girls and women. I plan to set up my own academy for girls." Malala Yousafzai

I haven't written on a current event yet. I have always left that to the journalists. In fact, I haven't felt like I had much to offer the writing world lately, so I have been much quieter.

But today I feel I need to speak up.

Today I will speak, purely because I can.

And that is why I must.

Because today, someone else can't.

Three days ago the young woman who wrote the quote above was critically shot in the head and neck. She was shot because she spoke out against the Taliban.
She wanted to be allowed to go to school. She didn't want to weigh life against education. But that is what she did.

"She was fearless. Whenever we spoke about it she would tell me how the Taliban is still alive and well, they can do anything, but of course that would never stop her," said filmmaker Adam Ellick.

She refused to be quiet about the war that was tearing her home of the Swat Valley apart. She continued her education at every chance and wasn't afraid to talk to the rest of the world about the injustice she saw. On Tuesday full grown men, members of the Pakistani Taliban, boarded a van packed with children and declared that she must be punished as they shot her at point blank range. She now lies in critical condition after several surgeries. Malala Yousafzai is 14 years old.
Malala Yousafzai - age 14

I don't know which shocks me more. The strength of this 14 year old girl to stand up, blog on BBC, meet with top government officials and plead for government intervention to the closure and destruction of schools.  Or the fact that any organized group would have the heart to be proud of shooting a child? A child. They have made public that they shot a child. And will continue to target her until they succeed in killing her. Again I ask - you shot a child?

But they were wrong. They thought that by shooting Malala they would silence her voice - but now her voice has been taken up by so many others. Women, men, school children and politicians all over the world are reading her story and becoming more informed. I have read comments by Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. She did exactly what she set out to do. I knew that it was difficult to gain higher education in other parts of the world and that I was blessed for having my Masters degree. I did not realize the depth of the fear and fighting denying elementary aged children from school. I thought ignorance, or inadequate facilities and poverty impeded education - not savage hatred.

As I look at the opportunities I take for granted. This week I watched my aunt making cloth letters for her daughters at the table while they slumber peacefully. The stories that I watch being read to my little sister. The books that I already have sitting on a shelf for children that have yet to be conceived. I take all of these things for granted. I know my children will be educated. I can say this with certainty. I didn't realize it needed to be a conviction.

When did this become worth killing for? When did someone decide they would kill to prevent a girl from sitting in a desk and learning?

When I write I usually have a point, a challenge, a goal. But today, I don't know what the point is.
I'm dumbfounded and shellshocked. Wondering how to make a difference and wondering how much else I don't know about.
I hope that the evil in this world will be met with the Malala's of this world. I hope, and I pray, and I commit that when the decision to sit down or stand up comes - I will stand up. Even when fear is around the corner with guns. Because speaking up is the whole reason we can think, and I would argue the whole reason we are here.

Malala's voice will not be silenced. Neither will mine. Will yours?

Other articles regarding Malala:
New York Times: Taliban Gun Down Girl Who Spoke Up for Rights
BBC: Malala Yousafzai: Portrait of the girl blogger

With Love and Light,


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