I've had instances of being shocked by news reports heard over the radio, but none affected me as much as the one I heard on the radio while I was driving this past Tuesday. In the report, a 14 year old girl from Pakistan had been shot while on a school bus by the Taliban due to her outspokenness. Upon hearing of this, I was filled with shock, anger and disgust at the men who specifically targeted this young girl to silence her.
This young girl, Malala Yousafzai, became famous back in 2009 at the age of eleven when she vocalized her wish to finish her studies and become a doctor in the future. In the northwestern part of Pakistan where Malala came from, the Taliban were enforcing their laws especially with regard to education. For them, education was not necessary for girls and Malala's passion for education was seen as a defiance against their laws.
Malala's crusade for education became a symbol for girls in Pakistan and she had no plans of backing down. She believed that all girls deserve to be educated and fulfill their dreams and no one should stop any girl from achieving them. Unfortunately, her passion became such a perceived threat to Taliban members that they decided to stop her the only way they knew how, through violence. Never mind that they shot a young girl and wounded two others, as well as terrorizing a busload of students. Their intent was clear, to target Malala and stop her crusade for education and championing the rights of girls everywhere.
How do I feel about this tragic event? As a woman and mother, I applaud her bravery and her convictions for standing up to those who believe that what she stands for is "obscene". As I write this with my daughter in the room, I cannot imagine how Malala's family is coping with this tragedy. What is obscene is how the Taliban resorted to gunning her down like a criminal, or an animal. How horrific that a young girl's life is in jeopardy because she had the courage to oppose the ideals that were forced on her and other girls. What is just as disturbing is the fact that a spokesman for the Taliban has said that if Malala does survive, there will be other attempts to silence her.
While Malala has been silenced for now, I hope that she recovers and continues to fight for her ideals. It is her will and courage to fight for education that has made her become a symbol for girls everywhere and it would be tragic if Malala were to lose her fight due to fear and ignorance. That's my take on this, what's yours?
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