What would you do of you were not afraid?
It is such an easy question to ask, and a popular refrain of self help books to encourage people to take a chance to live your life. The sheer number of best sellers in this genre suggests a number of people are looking for not just confidence, but the conviction to be truly alive.
Malala, a school girl in a Taliban controlled part of Pakistan knew she wanted to go to school. To be educated, and be with her friends. To do so without restriction. What is more, she wanted to tell people about her frustration and share her experiences and views. This went beyond blogging about teenage life to her network of friends. Her outspoken desire to experience life, and question things, had a global audience and had come to the ear of the Taliban. Her voice was one they had already threatened to silence. And by so doing subdue parents and women that may dare to question their lot in life under their tyranny. To show outspoken critics that their life, even that of a child, meant nothing when raised against them.
To this end a man boarded the school bus taking Malala home, and shot her at close range – we can only imagine the screams and the terror onboard. This was not collateral damage, an innocent bystander in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was the target; with an assassin asking by name for a child so he could kill her. Silencing her forever.
Now we have a father by the bedside of his daughter, receiving treatment in Britain. Despite the Taliban threatening to kill her if she ever comes back to Pakistan, he wants the family to be together again in their homeland. She is making steady progress, but the road to recovery will be long and difficult one.
Silence is so cheaply won when one attack shakes the resolve of many. That does not seem to be happening here. The world has been sickened by a child being singled out. There are moves to have her nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, let alone the children’s peace prizes which have suddenly sprung up due to wanting to honour her stand. Because she was not an unwitting victim. She knew the risks. But she looked fear in the face. For the real fear in this tragic tale was that of the Taliban that could not handle a little girl.
This is what the Pakistan Taliban said about the world’s vocal condemnation:
“made so much noise when we targeted this girl who made fun of jihad, the veil and other Islamic values on behest of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
“This attack created shockwaves in the ruling circles around the world. They issued a number of statements condemning the attack on Malala. I may ask why? Why is Malala’s blood more important than those killed by the army?”
If we have to explain why the assassination of a little school girl is wrong, then you lose your right to breathe the same air as the rest of humanity. Some things are worth fighting for but forget those which powers vie for, there is one that is a human resource, worth cherishing and enriching:
The education of a child.
Well worth the fight. As her father says she is everyone’s daughter now. As such we all have a stake in the future of the children of the world.
New Blog: Malala Day November 10
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog