I had been hearing and reading a lot about this courageous girl from all sorts of media and I took her just like any of the ordinary news items from around the world. She was just one innocent victim of terrorism that is counting by the minute. Nothing unusual or strange, nothing will ever change even after this tragic incident happened to a little girl two years ago. These were the thoughts which have been running through my mind.
She was barely 14 years old when the Taliban shot her in the head, which almost took her life, because the Talibans didn’t like her going to school. The Talibans don’t want Muslim women to be exposed to western education. Western education is “evil” to them.
Now she is 16 years old. Things have changed a lot about her and the world around her. The world had begun to recognize her and realize that the bare courage of the young girl, armed with only the determination to get educated, is now slowly shaping up to be an outspoken symbol of the struggle of the world’s children for equality, the right to live and grow in a peaceful community, and to have an unhampered access to education.
My own appreciation of Malala has significantly changed from her being just a news item before to an icon of peace, compassion and education that she is now. I began to notice her when she was awarded the world’s most distinguished Nobel Peace Prize. I have since wondered on what could be so special in this little girl to be accorded this very distinct honor and recognition.
I searched for her and found the true Malala. I have listened to her speak before the UN General Assembly. I have seen several interviews of her from prestigious television shows. Now I know the real Malala and I was humbled by the tremendous girl power she wields, the power of her voice, the power of her courage and determination, and the power of her total personality. At such young and tender age, it was simply no ordinary feat to have all of the above.
To see and hear her speak are to believe her. Maybe, just like the reluctant me before, you need to know her more. (I have embedded her speech before the UN General Assembly in the video below).
While she was speaking, I have seen some women delegates wiping out their tears. Her speech was so moving that I didn’t notice the tears running down my cheeks. I thought I was silently cheering for her but the tears took advantage while I was sort of hanging in suspended animation wrapped in awe and overwhelmed by the courage and magic of this young girl. Like her, I have my modern day heroes in Mandela, Mother Theresa, Ninoy Aquino and Martin Luther King but already she can be counted among them, or at least, that is what I feel.
After seeing the video, I realize that our world leaders have so much work left undone. A big part of our world is still unbelievably held captive by terrorism. Why can’t our world leaders unite to erase terrorism on the face of the earth? It has been so unfair for these terrorists to have misrepresented Islam in their reign of terror and commission of crimes!
Is it always the norm that one tragic event like this should happen once in a while to awaken our world leaders and for us to realize the extent of injustice, fear and deprivation in other parts of the world? I hope the citizens of the world will rise up in unison one day and muster enough courage to shout and proclaim “NEVER AGAIN” will this kind of incident happen in the future.