Isaiah 11:16 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
At the age of 11/12, a young girl named Malala Yousafzai wrote a blog detailing her life under Taliban rule and her views on education for girls. That summer a documentary featured her and her fight for education for girls. Suddenly people around the world were listening to a little girl. She gave interviews in print and on television. She has since been nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu and has won Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. A number of prominent individuals, including the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, are supporting a petition to nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 2009, the Taliban issued an edict that girls could not attend schools. They began to destroy the Girl’s schools while leaving the Boy’s school standing. Malala had been studying for exams and wrote about her fear and concern that she would not be able to take her exams. On Oct.9th, her bus was pulled over by terrorists and she and her friend were shot. She is recovering, but threats against her and her father have continued. Her passion and words have made even the Taliban stop and pay attention. The world has rallied around a young girl who was willing to share her”voice”.
A friend shared the link for the petition for the Nobel Peace Prize on her facebook page as part of the 30 Days of Gratitude challenge. She shared gratitude for her education. As women, we often take our freedom to pursue education for granted. Basic education provides girls and women with an understanding of basic health, nutrition, and family planning, giving them choices and the power to make decisions over their own lives and bodies. Women’s education leads directly to better reproductive health, improved family health, economic growth, for the family and for society, as well as lower rates of child mortality and malnutrition. It is also key in the fight against the spread of HIV & AIDS*. (*Right to Education Project report)
Many countries still see women as property or less than human. Gender based abortions, trafficking of women, mutilation of girls, and lack of protection under law for rape and violence against women are issues around the world. Women in the United States fare better than in much of the world, yet women weren’t allowed equal protection under the law in the US until 1964. In 2010 women who worked full-time, year round, still only earned 77 percent of what men earned. In our recent election process we heard several politicians make comments showing their lack of understanding and disrespect of women.
I have a very vivid imagination. My friends know, understand, and accept this. I still have a rather childlike, naive belief that each of us can effect change. I didn’t find my “voice” until I was in my late 30’s and I have taken baby steps in using it. I started out whispering and I am now working on learning to shout. I know my words won’t change the world, but what if it makes just a few of you think and question. We will not always agree but we can be open to hear other ideas and concerns.
Malala lives in a world that is filled with violence and retribution. She sp0ke out and shared her voice in spite of that. A young girl spoke out and the world heard her. I want to follow her example. I intend to use my “voice” and speak out, share my concerns, and take action where I can. I pray for Malala and her family. I pray for her safety and return to full health. I pray that her voice will not be silenced.
This blog post is part of NaBloPoMo. The theme for November’s NaBloPoMo is blogging for blogging’s sake.