Malala Yousafzai, Noble Peace Prize nominee.
October 10, 2013 § Leave a comment
One year ago today, the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai. The bullets hit her head, went through her shoulder, severed facial nerves and left her deaf in one ear. Today Malala lives as an advocate for women’s rights, as an advocate for the right to education for girls and as one nominated for the Nobel Peace prize.
When the Taliban entered Pakistan’s Swat Valley, Malala tells us she witnessed their flogging of women for no reason other than a strand of hair exposed on their head. She saw women banned from markets and told their only function was to work in the home. She saw how the Taliban’s fear of women lead to their oppression and the oppression of girls wanting an education.
Malala could see no rhyme or reason for the actions of the Taliban and asked, “Why don’t we speak for our rights?”
In an atmosphere of violence and oppression Malala spoke out for education, peace and non-violent resistance to the Taliban. The Taliban’s response was to seek her death: to shoot a fifteen-year old girl in the head. But they failed to silence this young woman. Failed, as must anyone fail when they seek to silence the voice of those who represent the rights of children, girls and women.
Malala was not the only girl shot that day. Her friends, Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz were also wounded and today also live in the United Kingdom where they are students who want to one day be doctors.
Kainat says that before they were shot, “there was hardly any concept of sending girls in Swat to schools, but now parents have started to do that.” A measure of how the actions of one can influence a nation.
As to the Noble Peace prize, Malala says that it is a great honor but what’s really important is the support she gets from people all over the world. What is important is that education be given people everywhere.
Malala is extremely humble in that she does not believe she has done enough to merit the Noble. And, truth be told, there are others who have worked harder and longer.
Ultimately, Malala tells us the Peace prize isn’t important except in how it would enable her to further the cause of women’s rights, peace and education. To this we could add that it would be a symbol of the importance of education to the cause of world peace.
To quote Malala, “We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”