Editorial: Malala Yousafzai and her work should make us all grateful
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 22:10
Last Tuesday, Oct. 9, Taliban gunmen shot a 15-year-old Pakistani girl in the head while returning home on the bus. Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani student, was not the victim of a random shooting, but the target of an assassination plot. Thankfully, Yousafzai was flown to a hospital in the UK after spending days in critical condition where her surgery was successful and doctors are confident that she will make a “decent recovery.”
Exactly why was a 15-year-old Pakistani girl targeted for an assassination attempt? It’s a simple story really. Yousafzai began writing a blog in early 2009 detailing life under Taliban rule amidst the war that had been raging for over half her life. Her blog (written under a pseudonym) also had a clear objective to promote the education of girls in Afghanistan.
On January 3, 2009, Yousafzai wrote, “Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of the Taleban’s [sic] edict.”
She was referring to the Taliban’s order that girls not go to school. And Afghani parents know how the Taliban reacts to insubordination. She later wrote, “On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.”
Yousafzai’s blog was only the beginning of her significance in the region. The New York Times made a documentary of her life in the embattled area, and she soon became the chairperson of the District Assembly of Swat, the district in Pakistan where she lives. Because of her actions promoting education in the region, she was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu.
The Taliban has made its opinion regarding women, and the advancement of women on any front, very clear. In short: It will not tolerate it. It will especially not tolerate defiant, young, Muslim women becoming educated, prominent and powerful. However, we at The Daily Campus proudly support Yousafzai’s work in Pakistan and the example she sets for Middle Eastern women, girls and for people around the world who are told that they can’t have an education. We in the United States are used to seeing people stand up in the face of impassable adversity, but seldom do we see someone so young face such impossible odds.
We should take a moment to reflect and be thankful for the freedom to attend schools here in America regardless of gender. And we should remember to stand in solidarity. Before Oct. 9, Yousafzai was a prominent figure in Swat, Pakistan. Now the whole world is reading her blog and finding out who she is.