A Plea for Education from a Beloved Activist
The story of MAlala Yousafazai
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 14:10
Education is something we take for granted every day. As students who are studying in a well-to-do public research university in the United States, we sometimes forget that we are in a privileged position.
We sometimes devalue our education by considering it as another life event that will help us to get to the next level––jobs, success, stability––whatever it may be, we forget that education is a fundamental necessity that helps us to be free from oppression.
When people are ignorant and uneducated, they can be controlled, they can be denied of their rights and they can be deprived of their justices. We may never understand the value of education until it is taken away from us, but I’m glad that people like Malala Yousafzai are here on earth to remind us the value of education.
Malala has been campaigning for girl’s education in Pakistan since she was 11 years old. I know this does not sound like something a typical 11-year-old would do, but according to what she said in an interview with John Stuart’s in his Daily Show, she understood the value of education because her rights were denied by the terrorist groups who banned children from going to school.
The Taliban attacked Malala in 2012. They shot her in the head when she was returning home from school. Remarkably she recovered, and she received relentless love from people throughout the world. After that terrible incident, bullets could not silence her.
In the speech Malala gave in front of the UN youth assembly, she spoke against the Taliban saying that “terrorists are afraid of books and pens.” And she said that she wants to make education available for the children of Taliban too.
Indeed, Malala is not the only teenager who is affected by terrorism or the only person whose rights were taken away. There must be millions of young people in this world who are deprived of their educational rights, and Malala’s fight is for every one of them.
Yes, Malala’s voice was heard throughout the world, but there had been disputes among some people in Pakistan and pro-Taliban groups who argue that Malala is being used by the western powers to promote anti-terrorism agendas. And there is a view that the media’s attention is on her because of the assassination attempt by Taliban.
For those people I would say, don’t follow Malala, but fight for the rights of your children’s education, because that’s what Malala stands for.
I also want to tell them that Malala is not just someone who was shot by the Taliban and became popular overnight (if you think being shot in the head by a terrorist group is a quick way to become popular). She had been advocating education for girls and boys for a long time before she was attacked; in fact, that is why she was attacked.
Malala is also an ardent orator who speaks with sincerity and passion. I do not know many sixteen-year-olds who have given a speech in the United Nation youth assembly with such bravery. Not many young girls speak out in this way and Malala is setting the leadership model for young girls throughout the world.
Malala is speaking to safeguard the rights of you and me and our children. By the time I write this article, the Noble Peace Prize will be awarded, and one of the favorites to receive it is Malala Yousafazi.
Whether she gets the Nobel Peace Prize or not, I do not care, because she is an inspiration to all young people throughout the world. And, fellow Bison let’s fight for her cause, for education. Let’s make it available for all the children in the world.
Samantha Wickramasinghe is a senior majoring in journalism.