Warning: This is a rant
Malala Yousafzai is 14. She lives in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, a place where our family spent many lovely vacations. And while Swat is lovely for vacationers, it’s not an easy place to live by any standard.
Malala is not your typical 14-year-old. At age 11 she was writing a blog diary for the BBC under a pseudonym and two years later she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize for her work promoting the right for girls in Pakistan to get an education.
And yesterday she was shot — shot in the head and the neck and is now fighting for life at a hospital in Peshawar. The Taliban proudly claimed the shooting; she has been on a hit list for over a year for her work promoting education and rights for girls. They saw her as a threat, a threat to an ideology and way of life, a threat to who they are. You can read about the shooting here.
It got me thinking about a lot of things. About courage — she stood so boldly for what she believed. About extremism — a 14 year-old girl is a threat in what universe? About apathy — the 14-year-olds I know are interested in boys, sex, Justin Bieber, and New Direction. I’ll take Malala any day of the week. Standing up for education is somewhat nobler than looking forward to getting birth control pills from your school nurse.
I know that’s harsh and I want it to be.
Because I’m a little tired of this country and our whining. I’m tired of our apathy. I’m tired of watching teenagers and adults who don’t give a rat’s ass for the world they live in and I see it every day. I’m tired of us thinking we have all the answers for a world where 14 year-olds get shot for believing in education. I’m tired of the election and tired of not having worthy leaders. I’m tired of a world that condemns the attack one day, and goes back to being just as awful the next.
I’m tired of myself being a part of this because I’d like to be a little more like Malala. I’d like to be braver, I’d like to stand up boldly for what I believe, I’d like a good dose of 14 year-old courage.
How about you? What are you tired of? What do you want more courage to change?
Readers – Thanks to CAB reader, Debbie Wood, here is a link to an interview with Malala and her father when she was eleven.
- The Lede Blog: Pakistani Activist, 14, Is Shot by Taliban (thelede.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Pakistan girl surgery ‘a success’ (bbc.co.uk)