The warrior is a child
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
If I had the chance to meet any person in the world right now, I would fly to Great Britain and sit at the hospital bedside of Malala Yousufzai, 14.
If you do not know who Malala is, you should. You could call her the modern day Anne Frank; but instead of being hunted by Nazis because she is Jewish, Malala is being hunted by the Taliban because she is a female determined to have an education.
When Malala was 11 – the age of an average fifth or sixth grade student – she took on the dangerous task of writing a journal, under an assumed name, for the BBC. Her journal gave insight into life as a Pakistani girl braving daily street wars, political threats and Taliban rule in order to get an education. (You can find her full journal online at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7889120.stm. It reads more like the journal of a soldier at war than that of a pre-teen girl.)
Dead bodies, riots, bombs, gunfire and fear were part of her daily life, and that lifestyle seems to shape the minds and futures of all Pakistani children. In one entry, Malala wrote, “When I entered my room I saw my two brothers playing. One had a toy helicopter while the other had a pistol made of paper. One would yell ‘fire’ and the other would say ‘take position’. One of my brothers told my father he wanted to make an atomic bomb.”
She also worried daily about whether she would die or not.
“Today is Thursday and I am scared because people say that most suicide attacks take place either on Friday mornings or on Friday evenings,” Malala wrote. “They also say that the reason behind this is because the suicide attacker thinks that Friday has a special importance in Islam and carrying out such attacks on this day will please God more.”
The year after her journal debuted, the New York Times filmed a documentary about her life during the same time the Pakistani military intervened against Taliban insurgents in the region. Malala moved forward with her mission, granting interviews with newspapers and television stations. She won Pakistan’s first-ever National Youth Peace Prize and was also nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu, the South African civil rights activist and retired Anglican bishop.
Malala wanted to be a doctor when she grew up but after much encouragement from her father, she decided to pursue a career in politics.
In my opinion, at only 14 years old, she has proven to be a better politician than all those in the free world grouped together.
Right now, though, Malala is fighting to recover from a gunshot wound in a British hospital. Last week, the Taliban, a group of grown men who pretty much hate everything in the name of their god Allah, waited outside her school. When Malala emerged from classes with friends, she was shot in the neck.
The Taliban has no guilt over the attempted assassination, either. Tuesday, the group released a statement saying she deserved to die because she spoke out against them and praised President Barack Obama.
“For this espionage, infidels gave her awards and rewards. And Islam orders killing of those who are spying for enemies,” the group said in a statement. “She used to propagate against mujahideen (holy warriors) to defame (the) Taliban. The Quran says that people propagating against Islam and Islamic forces would be killed. We targeted her because she would speak against the Taliban while sitting with shameless strangers and idealized the biggest enemy of Islam, Barack Obama.”
The group denies she was shot for advocating girls’ rights to education. But let me remind you that Islam extremists view women as property and do not advocate female empowerment of any kind.
The Pakistani government arranged for the girl to be flown to Great Britain not only for medical treatment but also in hopes of protecting her from Taliban insurgents who have vowed to end her life.
Malala is doing well and doctors expect her to recover but so far, experts are unsure how much damage has been done.
I am in awe of Malala. I am in awe of her mission and what she has accomplished in 14 short years. The average American teenage girl is worried about her hair, boyfriend and missing the latest episode of “Teen Mom”. She thinks life is so hard because her parents limit her internet and cell phone use. Malala wakes up every day fighting for the right to learn reading, writing and arithmetic; some adults in the Middle East believe she is an abomination to God and should die because of her cause.
American women believe they are “fighting for rights” because they push for abortion and birth control privileges; Malala is marked for death because she wants a basic education.
In our country, we take so much for granted but still insist we deserve more, more, more. We should thank God and a soldier every day for the freedoms we have yet abuse. We cry out “freedom of speech” when we want to say something hateful but few of us use that freedom to speak up for girls like Malala, who is truly one of a kind. We complain about our schools and school system because the lunchroom does not serve larger portions or a kid was punished for violating uniform codes while elementary students are shot by extremists.
In a way, Malala is more American than some of us will ever be.
God bless her and her journey.
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