As I turned the last page, well more like electronically swiped the last page, it was made abundantly clear. My life and the blessings that I’ve come to accept as normal, expected, deserved are not to be taken so cavalierly. I just finished reading I am Malala which was written by a young girl from Pakistan whose belief in education is so profound that she fought for it despite the danger it brought to her and her family. Even after being shot in the face by a member of the Taliban she defied the odds and survived. Her fight continues stronger than ever.
It is easy to listen to the talking heads on programs like Fox News, the politicians and quite often the average American on the street and fall into the trap that the Middle East and Islam is evil, warped, backward and a threat to peace and Western culture. We can easily allow the fear mongering, the extremists and the ultra right-wing conservative machine to scare us into believing this. The truth is there are millions of people living under fear and oppression of a few, those who have taken a beautiful religion and distorted it in order to advance their quest for power and domination. After reading the story of Malala I was deeply moved by the lengths people go for the basic right to live in peace, provide for one’s family and receive an education.
When the Taliban took power in Pakistan they outlawed educating girls. Not only did they prevent girls from being educated, they began blowing up schools and buses as well as killing teachers and others who tried to continue education or speak in favor of it. Malala never let the fear, the bombs or the war to take away her right to an education. She believed so strongly that the way forward was to educate every single boy and girl in the world and she made it her personal mission to achieve just that.
After she was shot in the face, after months of operations and surgeries to save her life and her face, she writes that she holds no bitterness or anger for the person who did this or what happened to her. Her one regret was that she wasn’t able to speak to the person before he shot her to explain why she is speaking out for education. Her journey is touching and eye opening. I strongly recommend this book to everyone.