Yar darr mat, Malala bann (Don’t be scared, be a Malala).

Saturday, November 10 was proclaimed Malala Day in honor of Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for her ongoing activity in support of  education for girls within Pakistan.

The photos posted on BBC News document vigils, demonstrations, and prayers throughout Pakistan. Men, women, and children bound together in support of this little girl and hope for the future.

Just days after the shooting, a short article published in The Express Tribune had an update on Pakistan’s reaction summed up in a phrase:

Yar darr mat, Malala bann (Don’t be scared, be a Malala).

It was a collective response to feeling helpless in the face of evil and wrong doing, and it was, and is, powerful! Throughout Karachi, one of the largest cities in Pakistan, this phrase was used and people responded.

Hearing about this response in Pakistan is heartening, it’s good news. Everyday our media sources bring us bad news from Pakistan, bad news delivered with smiles that show off perfect white teeth; bad news given with bad pronunciation of the word Pakistan; bad news delivered with no empathy or understanding of this country.

And then comes a Malala and we are given a glimpse of tremendous courage, a glimpse of someone who believes in something beyond her circumstances, and is moving forward in a trajectory that cannot be stopped. Moving forward and now carrying a country with her.

And it’s happening within Pakistan, by Pakistanis  — without another country trying to impose an agenda and values and push change that would inevitably die. Change that comes from within is lasting change. Change imposed from without is not change at all, it’s imperialism.  It’s arrogant thinking that walks in front of and not beside. 

And this change is led by a 14-year-old girl who has a purpose and courage to carry out that purpose.

“Don’t be Scared – Be a Malala” is a call to courage for all of us, no matter where we live. A call to change what needs changing in our communities, in our towns, in our work places, in our places of worship — but most of all in ourselves.  Because change comes from within. 

 *Photos courtesy of Tim Irwin and Jason Philbrick – fellow Third Culture Kids who share a love for Pakistan. 

10 thoughts on “Yar darr mat, Malala bann (Don’t be scared, be a Malala).

  1. She Hopes…”
    By Alina Ahsan

    Shimmering sunlight dances on the river,
    At once eclipsed, a mere mirage,

    Brief moments of radiance unseen and concealed,
    Overshadowed and oppressed, trees loom overhead
    With a warning.

    None see past the veils of the wood,
    The gleam in the shadows artfully obscured
    Whilst trees thrash for attention, demanding submission
    And ignorance is the fertilizer keeping the forest teeming
    With darkness.

    Shrouded in shrubs, the sunlight falters,
    Her face shielded by the overhead trees
    Who glare down upon her, daring her to protest
    The consuming darkness that smothers opportunities to shine
    For recognition.

    Thick trunks, as thick as their skulls, born from tough roots
    Buried in dying tradition, the limbs begin to decay.
    A clearing reveals the river, murmuring for change,
    Shimmering sunlight, previously hidden, appears
    With strength.

    Towering tree trunks wither, contract, their vast reach dwindling
    As light floods the forest, and the river sings
    Melodies of equality, a futuristic wish,
    Sunlight beams brightly, her smile spreading across the globe
    With hope for freedom.

    NOTE; Marilyn, the teenage daughter of good friends, from Pakistan, inspired by Malala wrote this beautiful and poignant poem. I hope your readers will appreciate this.


  2. Today I pray for Pakistan. I pray for hope and for recovery. I pray for mercy. I pray for courage in the face of daunting opposition and obstacles. Pakistan Zindabad!


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