Opinion: She Is Malala

Even though gossiping about Miley Cyrus or lusting over Justin Bieber may be entertaining, there is another teenage celebrity that deserves our attention exponentially more. Her name is Malala Yousafzai and she is one of the most inspirational people of the twenty-first century.

You may or may not have heard of Malala. She grew up as an ordinary Pakistani girl in Swat Valley, but has become an extremely important figure in the fight for a universal right to education. Although she recently lost the Nobel Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, she has been honored with Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and is currently on a book tour for I Am Malala. In addition, she managed to leave Jon Stewart speechless. In a word, she is unbelievable.

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Malala Yousafzai meets with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter Malia.

After advocating for education in her native Pakistan and writing a blog for the BBC, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban at age 14. Thankfully, she fully recovered after receiving intensive treatment in the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England. Since then, she has been a faithful and determined advocate for the importance of education.

Malala is truly one of those rare people who exude light, hope, the indefatigable power of the human spirit. Simply writing this article is a humbling experience. At only sixteen years old, she has become a role model to all of humanity. Her astonishing capacity for forgiveness is demonstrated in her quotation from the Daily Show, reflecting on a hypothetical confrontation with a member of the Taliban.

“If you hit a Talib,” Yousafzai said, “then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty… You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education.” This perspective staggers and awes. She then elaborated on what she would tell a Talib if confronted by one, “I would tell him how important education is and that I would even want education for your children as well. That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.” The only word that comes to mind is – once again – unbelievable.

In a part of the world where education is taken for granted and school is usually followed by complaints rather than appreciation, it is both humbling and heartening to see such an enlightened girl promote education for all. Malala realizes the vital importance of a strong schooling, and she stands up for it.

Malala was not silenced. This incredibly brave and genuine individual will go on to change the world in innumerable and unimaginable ways. She is the Mahatma Gandi or the Nelson Mandela of our generation. She is Malala, and she is unbelievable.

— Megan Evershed, World News Correspondent

Posted by on October 13, 2013. Filed under Op-Ed. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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