Malala Yousafzai – A Symbol Of Courage

According to Jimi Hendrix, “When the power of LOVE overcomes the love of POWER, the world will know PEACE.” – such humble words underpinning a compelling, hopeful message. Words, no matter how simple, can speak volumes. Words can inspire. Words can be the catalyst for change.

This brings me to the story of Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old Pakistani girl, described as a peace activist, who was shot in the head by Taliban extremists, merely for fighting for what should be every child’s right – to be educated.

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Since 2007, Malala’s hometown of Swat has been infiltrated by the Taliban regime, which has set about imposing their will on residents through the use of fear and intimidation1. Under Taliban rule, “men have been forced to grow beards, opponents of their beliefs are beheaded and women are prevented from going to the market”2. Furthermore, “schools have been blown up, the majority of which are for girls”3, as “girls should be kept at home and barred from education”4 based on Taliban teachings.

At the age of 11, Malala, “whose name means grief stricken”5, began a campaign to expose these atrocities through “a blog for the BBC’s Urdu service website under the pseudonym Gul Makai (or ‘face like a flower’)”6. Malala championed the importance of education for girls and was a strong advocate for children’s rights. “Recently she had spoken of her desire to set up her own political party and a vocational institute for marginalised girls in her area”7.

Malala’s crusade was even recognised by then prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, “who awarded her the country’s first National Peace Award and a reward of about $US5300 after she missed out on winning the International Children’s Peace Prize for which she was nominated in 2011”8.

Sadly, her views were considered as an act of defiance “and earned her the enmity of Taliban leaders”9. Consequently, Malala and her family were targeted by Taliban militants and threatened for her outspokenness, ultimately resulting in her shooting.

Committing this act of violence on an innocent child is nothing short of barbaric. In fact, using such savagery against a young girl is cowardly; a young girl who was merely promoting a simple message of hope and equality. I struggle to understand countries, cultures or traditions who continue to suppress women and their right to equality. I am neither a Muslim nor an expert on the Islamic religion or its principles. However, as stated by clerics from the Sunni Ittehad Council, “Islam doesn’t prohibit women from getting an education”10. The attempt on Malala’s life was declared “un-Islamic and the individuals responsible for this attack transgressed the Islamic Hudood [doctrines]”11.

Furthermore, many Muslims have condemned this horrific incident. “Hundreds of Pakistani women rallied together in Karachi in support of Malala, whose struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls denied an education by Islamist militants”12.

Malala is a symbol of courage, an icon of peace. It takes strength to stand up and fight for one’s beliefs, especially under cultures where women are suppressed and forced into subjugation by men. Her bold determination in exposing “the scourge of terrorism the Taliban regime has conducted towards her community”13, particularly to women, further exemplifies her bravery. Despite the risk to her life, Malala was a voice for young women and her plight has captivated the attention of politicians and celebrities alike including Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Madonna and Angelina Jolie.

Malala’s push for girls’ education was both compelling and inspiring. Education, which we take for granted in the western world, is all the more vital in developing nations, where poverty is rampant. Knowledge is power. Educating men and women is the basic foundation to help individuals become employable, self-sustaining and generate an income to provide for families, to build a better life for future generations as well as supporting the wider community.

The fact is “32 million girls in Pakistan are not going to school”14. One can only hope that Malala’s message, and the violence inflicted upon her, can act as a catalyst for change that “spurs the Pakistan nation to come together and fight this mind set which attacked an innocent harmless girl”15. The assault against Malala is a call to action. Action creates momentum and this incident can be a turning point that “strengthens the resolve of the Pakistan military to undertake a long-awaited offensive against Taliban reign”16.

As quoted by Edmund Burke, “All that is required for evil to flourish in this world is for good men to do nothing”. The Taliban cannot prevent all independent voices or advocates of peace and equality through the force of bullets17. To ensure that Malala’s struggle and suffering isn’t in vain the Pakistan people need to come together in solidarity. People Power is at its strongest when people stand in unity to achieve a single goal.

It takes one person to turn a dream into reality. It takes one person to start a movement for change; it takes a village to make it happen.


Photos: Courtesy of

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60 thoughts on “Malala Yousafzai – A Symbol Of Courage

  1. Educated women are a threat to male dominated cultures as the incident in Pakistan makes us sadly aware. Change will come slow, but I believe it will come albeit with a painful price tag.

  2. I’m so glad to see that someone’s writing about this poor girl.

    It’s terrifying to think that a smart teenager like Malala can be shot simply because she’s speaking up for girls education, and shocking to learn that she lives in a country with the following statistic:
    “32 million girls in Pakistan are not going to school”

  3. I sob for Malala and for any child or woman in this world who is held back from what many of us take for granted – freedom to be who we want to be and the knowledge to know who we want to be.

  4. she is belonged to my country…i really condemn all the incidents and attacks on Mallala..and really condemn the plan behind all this just to attack North waziristan

  5. Talibans are not Muslims..they have protected themselves under the mask of ISLAM..all what they do are not teaching of Islam…and Islam gives equal rights to girls as pakistan females are equally participating in every field of life..just because of a few incidents don’t assume any thing bad..and in this pictures who are protesting…are the so called NGOs those just need a subject to make themselves popular..thanks

  6. In Dutch we would say “she is a girl with hair on her teeth”. Incredible that at such a young age she tried already to teach others and continue courageously what she found a necessary need to bring women forwards in the society she wanted to help to build up, while fanatics with their dictatorship wants to keep the majority of the people poor and uneducated so that they can’t do much.
    Once more the Taliban proved to go entirely against the teachings of the Koran. Hopefully she can inspire more women in the Muslim countries and continue the important work of education, sawing the seed for the next generation.

    • It takes significant courage and strength to stand up for what you believe, especially in cultures where you’re supressed and there is no freedom of speech. I’m with you, I hope other Muslim women follow in Malala’s footsteps to create change.

  7. Pingback: More Fatwa Crap Against Malala | THE SCARECROW

  8. Pingback: Malala’s Twitter Feed | THE SCARECROW

  9. Pingback: Malala Yousafzai – A Symbol Of Courage « wanted society

  10. This girl is so young and has achieved so much! And been through hard times yet she stays I strong I admire her. It makes me appreciate the education I have. The power of love and dedication has no limits!

  11. Thank you writing such a beautiful pieces and her image collection, She indeed is an inspiration for girls in developing world especially in Pakistan. I am from Pakistan and can say that she is very brave and intelligent girl. Things are not easy there and tribal mindset fueled by religious extremism and dirty wars are going hard on general public. Her steps were indeed brave.

  12. I am so happy to see someone exposing the truth like you have here. One thing is to see what TV News show and what life is really like. Living currently in the Middle East and being well aware of what happens in Pakistan I have understood that these situations ARE real. It is dificult for people to understand the pressures and restrictions that these people go through. Not always because “the country is just poor or doesn’t know how to do” but because there are people that use the power of violence for dominion. It does not matter if its to children or adults the desire is to subdue and oppress in order to increase their desired dominion. Malala’s voice triggered rage over those that desired that power because her voice took the power from them, opening the eyes of many to realize the need for women not only adults, but also the ones on the starting ages of their life to be able to look at a different that is bright and has hope. Let us pray that God will open the doors and will strengthen those that are fighting for the change of their country.

    I will surely come by again to read your articles. God bless you!

    • Thank you so much for your kind, positive words. Malala is a true inspiration. The latest reports is that she has started a new life in the UK. Let’s hope she can continue her campaign and that others like her will continue to fight the oppressive nature of the Taliban and other similar regimes. God bless you too:)

  13. This story makes me shiver, those youngsters who only want to fight for their rights to live a normal life.
    The world needs to wake up. This is only one story we know, there are plenty more.

    • I totally agree with you. It’s so sad cases like this occur in this day and age. And you’re right, there are many other victims around the world…sadly….

    • I wish there were more people like Malala. I recently watched an interview with Malala on CNN, featuring Christianne Amanpour. Malala is so smart and articulate and full of worldly wisdom for such a young lady!

      So glad you enjoyed the post! Cheers

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