21 October 2012


Malala Yousafzai (see image above, right) is a 15-year-old Pakistani girl who is an activist for education and for women's rights.  She lives in the Swat Valley, "where the Taliban has at times banned girls from attending school.  In early 2009, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take over the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls.

" ....On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen, as she returned home on a school bus.  In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition .... her condition improved enough for her to be sent to a hospital in the United Kingdom for intensive rehabilitation.  On 12 October a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwa against those who tried to kill her, and the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin."  (quote courtesy of Wikipedia)

Outrage over the assassination attempt has spread across the globe.  A United Nations petition, using the slogan "I am Malala", has been launched, demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015.  Public demonstrations supporting Malala and condemning the Taliban have sprung up in Pakistan (see images below) ~ an act of great courage and solidarity in a country where the government has done little to discourage Taliban retribution.

Last week Angelina Jolie (see image above, left), who is a United Nations special envoy and goodwill ambassador for refugees, published a column describing how she and her own children had talked about the attempt on Malala's life, and why it occurred.  It is important that children understand the issues not only in their own lives, but in the lives of children around the world, many of whom face war, famine, and oppression in many forms.  Few remedies for all these ills is as effective as education, and girls/women are the most empowered by education to seek positive change in their cultures and their nations.  Here is a Tumblr collage of images and thoughts on Malala's life and her fate.

I offer this thought ~ that so long as one person is enslaved, no one is free.  So long as one person is abused, no one is safe.  So long as one child is willing to risk her life for education for all children, no one is exempt from supporting her.  We are all Malala.

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