I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education and Changed the World by Ziauddin Ahmed is a moving account of young Malala’s struggle against all odds to attain freedom for herself and for other girls. When the Taliban seized control of Herat in Afghanistan in late October 2021, Malala’s life changed forever. Herded like cattle, Malala was beaten, tortured and left for dead. Yet she was not willing to die for her faith. Through the grace of God, she was able to free herself and those with her.
Malala was only ten when the Taliban came to power. They immediately banned music, saying it was an American attempt to destroy the Islamic values. They told women that they could not go to school. They said girls were not allowed to go shopping. They said intelligent women should stay home and be wives for as long as they could.
Later, they called for the death of anyone who is smart or even slightly educated. They threatened to kill educated women. Girls were frightened into submission. They were made to wear the head scarf (hijab) as a sign of their submission to Islam.
That was just the beginning. After that, they harassed people, men and women alike, and killed innocent civilians. When the bombing of the twin towers happened, thousands of foreign students in Pakistan took to the streets in support of education for women. They wanted to educate these women so they could change the way their country treats women.
Then came the Green Revolution. Students poured into the streets in demonstrations for education. The people made demands for an end to corruption. Women were no longer targets for abuse, but they were educated, so they could help lead their countries to greatness.
So I ask; “Why haven’t you been radicalized like those girls?” Are you afraid to be different? Why haven’t you joined the millions of others who want to see change? Is it because you are afraid to lose your conservative views, or to live your life free of the minutae?
One Girl stood up to bullying. She did not back down from anyone who attacked her. She did not run from trouble. She reached for knowledge and became the face of change in a way that not many people will ever be able to do.
Malala Yousafzai has done more than most people who have been radicalized. She made a choice to pursue education. Her example to the world is that when you dare to dream, you can achieve anything.
Malala’s story should inspire every young woman to pursue education. There are no excuses for failure if you do not go to school. It is as simple as that. You can choose to be a doctor and fight for your country, or you can choose to be a teacher and help others achieve their dreams.
Everyone deserves a second chance. We cannot accept a new generation of radicalized leaders. If we refuse to see ourselves in these people, and continue to support their right to radicalize, then we have failed the children of Islam. If we fail them, then we are also failing our own children.
The world is watching her struggle with determination and hope. She is a shining example to all of us. She deserves the best, and she will never be a slave. She is the epitome of what a Muslim should be, a scholar, a teacher, and a martyr. I am proud to stand beside her, and her teachings, as she struggles with her radicalization.
When I read her book, I felt the same things I had when I was studying. I want everyone to realize that education is more than an award or a diploma. Education allows you to think. It helps you to question those who would benefit from you doing so. It teaches you to stand up for your values and principles, and gives you the courage to walk towards your destiny.
This article is provided by Honduras Educacional. Thank you for reading