She promised the world that every girl could get a proper education just like boys. She learned how to stand up in front of terrorism and face her deepest fear. She traveled to different places in order to share her experience and what she learned from it; and most importantly, she made us remember that the rights of every person are diminished when the rights of one are threatened.
Her voice gave hope to individuals that are misrepresented and deprived from their minimal needs such as getting a proper education and enjoying their human dignity. Speaking up for her rights made a major shift in our world; a shift that frightened every aggressor and every terrorist aiming at dismantling people’s hopes, dreams, courage, confidence, goals and values.
The weakest weapon they used was agitation or in other words, terrorism. Terrorism is not an organization or a movement or even an enemy against whom one can declare war; terrorism is simply the tactic of indiscriminately attacking enemy targets- especially civilians- in order to show fear, undermine morale, and provoke counterproductive reactions from one’s adversary. It is a tactic that different groups sometimes employ, usually when they are much weaker than their adversaries. A terrorist doesn’t have a potent weapon to fight us with. His main goal is to separate us and weaken our abilities through his barbaric and extremist behavior.
However on the other hand, we should fight him with the most valuable weapon we own which is education because as Nelson Mandela said: “ education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” She used this key to unlock the golden door of freedom and she proved to the world that what really frightens a terrorist is a book; a shield that protects human dignity and a sword that fights for freedom and integrity. So should we consider ourselves persons or only individuals? What’s the purpose of our existence if we don’t aim for a change? How can we limit convulsion if we don’t fight against it by disregarding our differences? And how are we going to improve if the essence of the person is limited to the creed, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, intellectual capabilities and physical deficiencies? Such questions must be taken into consideration in order for us to achieve a successful future and a drastic change. Throughout history until today, humanity wrestled with the dilemma of obedience to unjust laws and corrupted governments, which made us vulnerable in taking a powerful decision to ensure human dignity and solidarity. But as long as we unite and disregard any differences whether it’s based on religion or gender, human rights will be promoted.
Confronting discrimination and fighting terrorism creates a fearless person willing to challenge any provocative action that tears down the essence of human rights and dignity; the latter pushed the extraordinary Pakistani activist to speak up and share her experience. She is considered an important figure that illustrates the concept of courage and hope; she is a fighter, a dreamer and a survival that confronted violence and discrimination. To me, she is Sasha Fierce but to the world, she is Malala Yousafzai.
– By World Youth Alliance, Middle East regional intern, Fatima Ghannam.