Dreams do come true: Malala goes back to school
By putting on her uniform again, Malala has become a global phenomenon- a symbol of peace, courage and defiance.
There is a Malala in each and every girl of this unfortunate country. Amidst this war torn country, this teenager voiced her opinion against those elements of society which, quite atrociously advocate that girls should not be allowed to go to school.
For them, she is just an ordinary girl.
For us, she is a hero.
Now, she wears a smile on her face as she strides along the streets of Birmingham, towards Edgbaston High School. She has seen yet another day when she can put on a school uniform and continue with her education.
In Pakistan, a society where girls’ schools are being burnt down, she raised her voice and fought for her right. In England, where she is openly allowed to express her right, she is surrounded by people who may be hostile towards her headscarf. I say this because teenagers are typically hostile towards anything that varies from the norm; I, thus, am worried that she might be bullied for her beliefs. However, when asked about the headscarf, she confidently said that,
“It is my right.”
This remark is enough to prove to the world that her fight is not just against the Taliban and religious extremists, but it is to ensure that no girl is denied access to her fundamental rights. Her vision encompasses more than we might be able to think of and as always, unfortunately, her life will continue to be an uphill task.
She is faced with the daunting task of trying to keep up with our expectations; she will no longer be able to live a normal life. She will continue to be the target of many Muslims around the world who believe that she has brought shame to the religion by advocating her ‘western values’.
In the West, she will be targeted for her Islamic outlook. She will probably face difficulty adapting to a new education system; the curriculum that she will follow is going to be immensely different from what she has been taught up until now. With that being said, she is fluent in English and, for someone who comes from a relatively backward area of Pakistan, she will not have a great deal of difficulty grasping different languages.
Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and currently the UN Special Envoy for Global Education in a statement stated,
“This is a great day for Malala, for her family – and for the cause of education worldwide. By her courage, Malala shows that nothing – not even bullets, intimidation or death threats – can stand in the way of the right of every girl to an education. I wish Malala and her family well as her courageous recovery continues.”
Malala stood against these barbarians who have set fire to school buses, burnt schools down, killed women for being present in a room where men dance, killed social workers who were trying to eradicate polio, burnt hospitals down and stoned men and women to death.
Attending school in, certain parts of, Pakistan these days is no less than an act of defiance. More than 200,000 schools have been affected by the Taliban’s hostility to the idea of females acquiring education.
Millions of children in Pakistan are at a risk of losing their very basic right; their right to education. Such was the challenge a mere 15-year-old was faced with and was shot for. Rest assured, Malala is not going to back down from her fight.
Malala’s return to school is a triumph against religious extremism and oppression which has plagued Pakistan for years now. The power in the stroke of her pen proved to be mightier than the swords of the Taliban. Every girl, growing up in such oppressive environments around the world, has now been made aware of the power she possesses.
What could have ended as an innocent wish of a teenage Pakistani girl has now become a worldwide symbol of peace, courage and extreme defiance in the face of adversity. This girl, from the valley of Swat in Pakistan, is now a global phenomenon.
In the process, she has become the youngest person to be nominated for the much coveted Nobel Peace Prize. Malala’s statement on the first day back at school was,
“I am excited that today I have achieved my dream of going back to school. I want all girls in the world to have this basic opportunity. I miss my classmates from Pakistan very much.”
It is important to take note of her word choice, she says ‘basic opportunity’ when referring to education instead of just calling it a ‘basic right’. This is what the unfortunate girls in a society like ours are made to believe.
She sits in a classroom with a pen in her hand and a smile on her face, ready to pace ahead in pursuance of her dreams. It is sad that the classroom she now sits in is not in Pakistan. While she will continue to promote peace and education throughout the world, Pakistan should make sure that no other girl is ever denied the right to basic education.
Educate the daughters of today and the mothers of tomorrow if you want a prosperous future.
The nineteenth century line, “the pen is mightier than the sword”, it seems, was written for this young girl who proved it in its literal sense.
Malala has made an impact on the future of the human race.
Her sacrifice is a big step towards making sure that, in the future, girls have books in their hands and not a bullet in their heads.
Read more by Naveed here or follow him on Twitter @NavidMushtaq