11 October, 2012

Malala's Fight

Malala Yousafrai should be a typical fourteen year old girl. She should be going to school, laughing with friends, dreaming of being a doctor, painting her nails, enjoying being innocent and cared for.

Instead, Malala is being flown to a better hospital after being shot by the Taliban.

Why? Because Malala wants to the basic freedoms that should be guaranteed to every woman and girl.

In a statement, Hillary Clinton said the attack, "Reminds us of the challenges girls face, whether it is poverty or marginalization or even violence just for speaking out for their basic rights."

It started back in 2009, when writing under the pen-name Gul Makai, she wrote for the BBC about life under the newly-Taliban controlled Swat Valley.

One entry reads:
I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.
Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban's edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.
On my way from school to home I heard a man saying 'I will kill you'. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.
Since then Malala has become an outspoken advocate for women's rights in Pakistan, fighting for education for girls.

The Taliban has said that if she survives, they will come after her again.

One question has been lingering since I heard about the attacks: What are they afraid of? What about a fourteen year old girl wanting nothing more than what should be hers scares them? Why does the Taliban want women to stay ignorant, dominated and oppressed?

The second question: What can we on this side do? Malala is fighting for nothing more than the basic human rights that we take for granted. Today life in America goes on as if nothing is happening. Most care more about celebrity gossip then they do about Malala and why she was attacked. Most don't see how the attack on Malala is an attack on all women and our basic rights.

What can you do? Talk! A lot! Talk about what happened. Make sure everyone knows why this 14 year old girl is fighting for her life.