2012 has been an incredible year for Malala, a 15-year old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban group while she was aboard a school bus. Because she was and still is a fighter, she survived the assault. But what is even more remarkable is her story and why she was targeted by the Pakistani Taliban. This story earned her a nomination spot in the 2012 Time Magazine Person of the Year and just recently, a prize from Simone de Beauvoir Foundation.
In their introductory piece, Time writes: “At first, the Pakistani girl blogged anonymously about her desire to go to school without fear in a part of the country where the Taliban had once imposed strict Shari’a law. Then, with the surprising encouragement of her devout Muslim father, Malala Yousafzai wrote in her own name and revealed her face to the world, a symbol of young women around the world seeking empowerment. She became the subject of a documentary and a celebrity of sorts in the world of nonprofit organizations. Who knew that such prominence would put her life at risk? On Oct. 9, 2012, Taliban gunmen boarded her school bus, sought her out and shot her in the head. Eventually airlifted to a hospital in Britain, she survived her severe wounds. In the meantime, Malala, now 15, has become an inspiration not only in her native Pakistan — where the culture wars over women’s rights and religious diversity have taken many violent turns — but all around the globe. Malala is now a first name that hundreds of thousands of people know. But in a way, hers is an even more moving story, because the saga is not just of a brave young girl but also of a father willing to risk local opprobrium to raise his daughter — not a son — as a proud example for the world. It is among the tenderest of stories in the world of conservative Islam.”
Congratulations, Malala! As my former INTFILO student and now the editor-in-chief of the Lasallian, Patrick Ong, says, “People have always frowned on activism. thank you Malala for showing that activism is more than just teenage angst. I hope Lasallians could learn from her.”
photo credit: Time Magazine, accessed January 13, 2012.