The Nobel Peace prize was offered conjointly to Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi from India, who unfortunately is somewhat eclipsed by Malala’ mediatization.
They won the prize for their continued efforts in promoting education for children and specifically young girls in Malala’s case.
I’m going to recount some highlights of Malala’s story. First of all because it is one that brings to the surface the incredible positivity of the human race, and secondly because it goes to the very heart of what The Explanation is all about:
The amazing contrast of what mankind is capable of:
Horror + Terror ≠ Advancement + Satisfaction
Malala’s grandfather was an imam… but that did not stop this religious leader from understanding and promoting secular education for his children, including Malala’s father, who now runs a chain of schools in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. He’s devoted to the education of both girls and boys, realizing that raising their educational level is probably the key way to equip kids to not only face the world but progress to a better way of life.
Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala’s father who is also a poet, would discuss culture, education and politics with her at the very early age of 10. Even at that precocious age she was filled with a desire not only to understand but also to share her vision, which her father was instilling in her.
While the Taliban were continuing their activity of undermining normal life in Yousafzai’s region in 2008, we in the West were generally unaware of the extent of the insurgency going on there. Some British journalists of Pakistani descent wanted to report the situation but found it very difficult to cover the news locally. That was when the idea germinated of having a local insider anonymously author a blog about the pressure of their changing and ailing living conditions.
Malala’s father was contacted to find such a person. Not being able to do so, because of the danger involved, he suggested his own daughter who took up the gauntlet. She went on to describe the horrific anxiety that communities and individuals were being put under as music, TV and cultural activities were being banned. It reached the point, which we modern ‘Westerners’ have great difficulty understanding, where bodies of beheaded authorities began to be strung up in village central squares to intimidate the recalcitrant into capitulation.
Parallel with this rise of terrorism was Malala’s father actively lobbying authorities to intervene and bring peace and stability to the area. The situation swayed between a truce and continued fighting. In Yousafzai’s village, Mingora, gun and mortar fire became common occurrences. The girl’s schools (remember that each gender has their own schools, they are not mixed,) came under heavy pressure and were closed down. Malala spoke out in her blog for reopening them, at least to pass end of the year exams. They were reopened… only to be closed again.
As both fighting and resistance escalated, Malala became more and more outspoken, well-known and vulnerable. Her identity as the author of the blog was finally revealed, and she became the target of the Taliban, who unanimously voted the death penalty for her.
On the 9th October 2012, a gunman boarded the school bus and told the unrecognized Malala to identify herself or he’d shoot all the girls. She did so and was shot. One bullet traversed her head, neck and shoulder, two other girls were also injured. Malala was unconscious and in critical condition for a number of days but eventually was flown to Birmingham, England, where she recovered to where she is today.
At age 17 she is the youngest recipient of the Nobel prize along with a slew of other international recognitions for her accomplishments.
Education for girls has now given way to an even greater dream, that of a political party to change the face of Pakistan. To think Malala is only 17… and to think what I was doing at that age… what were you doing? What an incredible trajectory and life so far for such an extraordinary woman.
As part of The Explanation, I would like to focus on just 2 points here:
Her father’s, and the family’s role in her being who she is today. The family role is primordial and I shall return to this.
The key to this blog post is the WORST and the BEST in mankind. I like to end with ‘best’ so as to remain positive. The outcome of The Explanation story is a positive one.
But, it behooves us to focus in on these two extremes… the nastiest and the finest. The maleficent and beneficent, the harmful and helpful. Whatever way we may want to express it, BOTH are ever present, BOTH are ever opposing each other, BOTH come to loggerheads.
And these ‘opposite forces’ hinder us from reaching out and shaking hands in real friendship and understanding.
I doubt that what I’ve said is anything new. But, I draw your attention to this fact of these deep opposing inward characteristics of the entire human race. We’ll be deepening our comprehension of the causes and why’s of such thinking and behavior.
Yes, Malala deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. But isn’t it sad that she and many others have to go through hell to get there? It is one of deeper conundrums that we must broach to answer our question: How can you bring peace and prosperity to Earth?
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