I made the effort to get up a half hour early on Friday morning (July 12, 2013) to hear the speech by a young woman, Malala Yousafzai, who, if you do not know of her, was the young girl who was shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban last year for going to school. Malala also turned 16 on Friday when she gave her speech. Her message was clear and to the point. Coming from a person who needed a platform to stand on so that she could reach the microphone, and who had endured an attempt on her life just a year before, the impact of her message reverberated throughout the airwaves. For her, not even the bullet will stop her from getting this message out.
In summery, Malala Yousafzai’s message is that, children, students everywhere, must have the “compulsory” right to education, no matter what your geological location is, nor your ethnicity, gender, religion and economic positions are. Every child must learn to read and write, along other basic skills that everyone needs in our modern world.
Please watch and listen to Malala’s speech here on You Tube:
The message of rights for women, girls, and for all children challenges the rule of Conservative ideology which distorts the values of equality and rights for woman in its religious and social ideals in countries such a Afghanistan and Pakistan, must be changed so that all children, especially girls, can go to school to read and write. Using terror (and fear) to enforce the control of women not only perpetuates hate from within the social boundary, but pushes it out too beyond it’s boundaries also. Malala Yousafzia’s use of the the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword” goes further by stating that women must stand up on their own, but with books and pens against terror and the bullet, and where there is hate, it must be met with kindness and understanding. Yes, this message is impacted twice more when coming from the voice of a young woman whose speech comes on her sixteenth birthday, and who is herself a victim of this terror, having had an attempt on her life just for going to school in her country. This message speaks volumes.
For the efforts of the United Nations, and this courageous young woman, I am taken back to a class that I took in my Forth Year at University that I studied Human Rights, with the emphases on the political and social aspects, when the prof asked the class why should a government, a country, a society follow the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, when it really does not have to? We all agreed that the values of a society must be measured by how each and everyone person is represented from within it. If women are marginalized, then an entire segment of society is missing, and the total sum value of that society is diminished. The causes of this diminishment is a weaker society which devolves into state that it cannot become progressive, or falls backwards instead of growing and prospering, and is prevented in moving forward as a whole, but most off all, the loss of a huge potential in inevitable if any segment of society is held back, or excluded from equality.
I hope great achievements are made after today becuase of this young woman. And yes, a single voice was heard that day, one whose voice was almost silenced by a bullet because she dared to stand up, just because she wanted to learn, go to school to read and write, and grow.