Wednesday, October 17, 2012
A Voice Not Silenced
I can't stop thinking about Malala. A little girl who wanted something as simple as an education. And yet, there is nothing simple about education. This I know.
I have education in my blood. My mother was a teacher and school board member. I was a teacher. I work for an education organization still. It's the family business, so to speak. Education has sustained me my entire life -- and yet, I never had to fight for it, worry about dying for it. It was always a given. Not so for Malala and girls like her in many corners of the world.
This brave young woman -- still a child, already an activist -- has so frightened a bunch of grown men with her outspoken fervor for learning that she's now fighting for her life. Because with education comes so much more. Power, potential, freedom . . . and I guess that scares some people.
Malala, even before the attack that left her fighting for her life in a British hospital, was a symbol for the rights of girls to go to school. The daughter of educators herself (her father runs the school she attends), education is in her blood. The blood that the Taliban spilled on her school van. The blood that the Taliban has vowed to continue to spill until she is dead and her voice silenced.
But a voice like Malala's can't be silenced by cowards -- history has shown us that. Instead, it is magnified, amplified, by those who think like she does -- that everyone deserves an education. By those who are outraged that grown men would choose to hunt a child because she is strong, and brave, and thirsty to learn. By those, like me, who never had to worry about how I was getting to school, or if I would make it home from school, or if my school would be shuttered by hate-mongers and extremists. By those who have been touched by her story, her courage, her desire to learn.
Malala, your voice will not be silenced, because I won't let it be. I'm adding my voice to yours -- and to the other girls like you who are willing to put their lives in danger just to go to school. We can't stop reading, and writing, and screaming, and learning. We have to -- for Malala, until she's well enough to join us again.