I AM MALALA
If you were asked to identiy a world hero or inspiration in 2012, chances are you would not be thinking of any fifteen year old girls. However, after a schoolgirl named Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban militants, things have changed, as did the worlds focus on courage and perspetive. According to the Taliban, Malala was promoting secularism by champaigning and inspiring girls to seek an education. Fortunately, the young activist, is has walked and is being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the UK and is slowly but surely recovering. The story of Malala’s advocacy stems from the despair, she witnessed once the Taliban banned girls from attending school in her region. It was then fuled when she wrote a diary under a pseudonym,for the BBC, depicting life for girls under the Taliban rule. These diaries gave great detail and insight into such a life where constant threats by militants claiming to uphold the teachings of their faith brought much destruction and devasatation. This genre of oppression would likely hold the majority of us regular humans down, however Malala whose name means grief stricken, and was named after Malalai of Maiwand, a Pashtun poetess and warrior woman, in a recent documentary called “Class Dismissed” was quoted saying; “I have a new dream…I must be a politician to save this country. There are so many crises in our country. I want to remove these crises.” This young girl has a drive and foreseight unseen since past Pakistani President Benazir Bhutto. Pakistan is not a condemned state and has a bright future, one can know just by looking at its past. Bhutto who was assassinated in December 2007 was a champion voice and advocate for gender progressiveness and change in the country. Malala carries much of the same traits; a unrelenting passion for change, unstoppable drive and godlike humanity. So what can we learn, what should humanity take away from such an event and exposure of a global campaigner for rights? We, as the world needs to learn to support, as we have been doing changes in policy and tradition like we have in the Arab Spring. Take inspiration and use this motivation to ensure the world sees these attorcities for what they are. Malala has no formal university, rebellist, revolutionary, or protesting training, she is merely a person who saw wrong and stood up against it. Her braveness and spirit does bring about a spot light for Pakistan.
Despite the improvement in Pakistan's literacy rate since its independence, the educational status of Pakistani women is among the lowest in the world. According to studies, the literacy rate for urban women is more than five times the rate for rural women.The school drop-out rate among girls is very high (almost 50 percent), the educational achievements of female students are higher as compared with male students at different levels of education. Even if these statistics are not100% accurate, they are still highly alarming. Some 60 plus million children currently do not attend any school or formal education. In 2012, the World Economic Forum ranked Chad, Pakistan and Yeine men as the worst in their Global Gender Gap Report. This ranking should be a world shame, and it is. However, it is all for not the United Nations is one organization among others using this attention to implement serious change. On 15 October 2012, former British Prime MinisterGordon Brown, now the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, launched a petition in Yousafzai's name and "in support of what Malala fought for".Using the slogan "I am Malala", the petition's main demand is there be no children left out of school by 2015, with the hope that "girls like Malala everywhere will soon be going to school".Brown said he would hand the petition to President Asif Ali Zardari when he visits Islamabad in November.The petition contains three demands; “we call on Pakistan to agree to a plan to deliver education for every child. We call on all countries to outlaw discrimination against girls. We call on international organizations to ensure the world's 61 million out-of-school children are in education by the end of 2015.” These stipulations are great strides for world literacy and equality. There is however no Cinderella happy ending for this cause, until the goals of this charter are implemented and guarded. One thing we know for sure is regardless of the outcome of the UN doctrine the spirit and inspiration a fifteen year old girl from an unknown village, gave the world gave the world an unbeatable platform for change. Malala Yousafzai has left her mark on the world in stone and will be a real life hero for all those who want equality and justice in the world. It is then to no ones surprise that she has since been nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu, and has won Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize. If there’s one thing I learned about this her life and her unrelenting pursuit of justice, is that every survivor, world citizen and justice seeker is Malala…I am Malala.