C7-Girl Power, Young Voice
What kind of person were you like when you were sixteen? Can you still remember your life then? What was your biggest dream at that time? For most of us, we had a busy and colorful life. We were studying hard, joining clubs, going to cram schools, and spending time with our family and friends. Our greatest goal was the entrance exam, the key to a good college.
But a girl in Pakistan has had a totally different life. She loves to go to school and admires knowledge. She suffered from wars, disasters, and poverty, and experienced much hardship in her country. She was shot in the head and miraculously survived. She delivered a speech, not in Tosatmasters, but at the United Nations on her sixteenth birthday. Who is she? She is Malala.
Recently, I read her book “I am Malala”, which manifests lots of details about her country, her family and her life. She was born in Swat, Pakistan, a river valley with beautiful scenery.
In Pakistan, the social environment has been very complicated. People suffer from wars and attacks due to religious and political conflicts. Five millions of children never go to school. In their society, there are many restrictions on women. For example, women are not allowed to leave their house without a male’s company; even a little boy is okay! It’s a country quite different from Taiwan, and their life is pretty unimaginable to us.
Fortunately, Malala was born in a special family. Her father is an activist, who devoted himself in social issues. He made Malala a good speaker, a well-educated girl, and a person of independent-thinking. Malala’s mother is a tough woman, and she supports her family to pursue the dream of peace.
When Malala was ten, Taliban, an Islamic political organization, came to her hometown. Taliban misinterpreted the contents of Koran, the most important book of Islamism. They established terrible and unreasonable rules, especially on women. For example, they prohibited girls from going to schools, and even bombarded several schools, causing much fear in the region.
Malala felt sad for being banned from school. She started to strive for education right, especially for girls. She revealed her life under Taliban control to the world through a BBC blog, and was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. However, as she became more recognized, death threat came nearer to her. In 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Malala on a school bus, and other two girls were also injured. Miraculously, none of them was dead. This event did not stop Malala from her ideal. On her 16th birthday, she spoke at the United Nations to advocate education right. Afterwards, she established Malala Fund, and even became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee!
I was so impressed and touched by her story. As a young girl in such a conservative society, she showed her power and courage, and never surrendered to suppression and terrorism. This made me think of a quote from the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah: “There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.”
As some of you know, I care much about gender issues. Sometimes I write comments or criticism on the Internet to show people some problems that they haven’t noticed before. One day, a friend told me, “I can’t understand what you’re pursuing! To me, it is like that we can only fly to Mars now, but you’re talking about going out of the galaxy.” I felt a little frustrated upon hearing this. But my boyfriend encouraged me by these words: “If you already fly out of the galaxy, why care about what those people left behind think about you? What you should do is to tell them the beauty of galaxy, and try to bring them forward.” I was well inspired by these words. Although it would be difficult to fight against inequality and discrimination, I can still make contributions step by step, just like Malala did.
Malala is a good standard for young people. There are so many problems in the world, including sexism, racism, violence, poverty and disease. We can also pay more attention on important issues in our society. It’s never too late to get our young voice out and make the world different!
—————- Individual Evaluation by Joyce Liu —————-