On Oct 9, 2012, in Pakistan, a 15-year-old girl named Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head while riding home on a bus from school. Those cruel enough to do this were members of the Taliban.
The only reason for her death sentence was because she spoke out against an edict made by the Taliban to keep all young girls from going to school.
She was shot three times by a member of the Taliban who stopped her bus and asked “Who is Malala?”
After the horrific shooting, Malala was flown from her native Pakistan to England to have sugery.
The shooting caused outrage throughout the world and led to the activism of many for education for young girls in Pakistan and other regions.
Months later she was alive and well, able to give a speech in front of the U.N. at the United Nations Youth Assembly.
She started off her speech by giving thanks to those at the assembly and many others.
“I don’t know what people would be expecting me to say, but first of all thank you to God for whom we all are equal and thank you to every person who has prayed for my fast recovery and new life,” she said.
She continued her speech by recounting the events of Oct 9.
“They shot my friend, too. They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed,” Yousafzai said. “And out of that silence came thousands of voices.”
Yousafzai talked further about how the attack did not stop her from continuing to support education for young girls.
She spoke about her attackers with words of forgiveness instead of words of hate.
Her overall theme for the speech was not forgiveness, however, but instead the education of young girls and all children throughout the world.
“We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools,” she said.
This is not just a problem for other countries; however, it is one for this country, too.
Here in America there are children who are not able to go to school. And many have to go to schools where it is likely they will receive a poor education.
Yet, it seems no attention is paid to this problem. Each year it seems as if a new public school is sold or closed.
If education was important enough for a 15-year-old girl to stand up to a group who even I fear, then America definitely needs to revaluate our treatment of education.
Malala ended her speech with one of the most powerful stances for education I have ever heard.
“So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens,” she said. “They are our most powerful weapons.”
I believe just like Malala, that “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”
Raney Johnson is a junior journalism major from Shreveport who serves as multimedia editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to rcj...@latech.edu.