Friday, October 12, 2012

2012 Day of the Girl and a Young Hero

First of all, my apologies for not updating my blog very much at all lately. I've just been sad since my mom passed away in July and I have not been in the mood for writing. I am preparing to return to KSA soon and have enjoyed being in the midst of my family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Today is the first international "Day of the Girl," a United Nations movement which "speaks out against gender bias and advocates for girls’ rights everywhere" - working hard around the world to eliminate such backward cultural norms like forced child marriages and banning education for girls.

Malala Yousafzai,14 year old Pakistani girl shot by Taliban

Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai is the recipient of Pakistan's first National Peace Prize, honored for her outspoken opposition to the prominent Taliban presence in her country. Three years ago, she began writing a blog for the BBC about living under the Taliban's control and her desire for an education for herself and all other girls of Pakistan. Her voice was instrumental in ousting the Taliban from the Swat Valley where she resides with her family.

On October 9, 2012, two gunmen stopped the girls' school bus Malala was riding home on after school. They demanded to know which of the girls was Malala and threatened to shoot all the girls on the bus if she did not reveal herself to them. She identified herself and was promptly shot twice, in the head and the neck. Two other girls on the bus were also wounded. The Taliban have claimed credit for the cowardly attack and have also vowed to kill Malala and her family if she survives.

In Pakistan, the attack has sparked outrage and has elevated Malala's status as a courageous hero and an iconic symbol for gender equality and education.

What I find most disturbing is that these thugs justify their actions under the guise of religion. Islam stresses the importance of education for both men and women. There is no religion on earth that would advocate shooting a little girl because she wants an education.

The video below is from MSNBC's October 10th broadcast of The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. The segment is his commentary about the shooting of Malala.

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For more reading about Malala and the Day of the Girl:
Malala and the First International Day of the Girl 
Preventing Child Brides Is Goal on UN Day of Girl Child
Dying to Learn