how do you use your words?
they shot her to silence her for good, said one of her classmates.
at the age of 11, she began to speak out. she wrote a blog. she was featured in a documentary with her father, a school principal. she lived in the middle of a war zone, and yet she dreamed first of being a doctor, and then of being a politician when she grew up. she was banned, along with all other girls, from going to school, and yet she didn’t give up on education. she didn’t give up on her country, pakistan, but instead, asked for help from the world. she wrote & spoke & fought for girls to continue to be educated. she was a child, and yet a leader.
and yesterday, at the age of 14, she was gunned down & shot because of her outspoken fight. at the age of 14, she was on a hit list because of her social activism & work for peace. she was deemed a threat because she stood up for the rights of all girls, everywhere; and because of her courage & leadership, she was shot in the head & in the neck. as of today, she is still hanging on to life, but she lies in a hospital bed in critical condition.
i don’t understand this. i don’t understand how someone can justify violence against a child. i don’t understand a country where girls & women are not given equal rights. i don’t understand how a 14 year old girl can be so brave, can do so much, can make such a difference. i don’t understand the bravery and the passion she has had. i don’t understand a life lived in constant fear. i don’t understand having to fight and risk my life in order to get an education. i don’t understand any of it.
but, i am touched. i am inspired. i am in awe. i am angry. and i am holding this young woman, this girl named malala, in my thoughts and my prayers.
i think about all the blogs out there, including mine, and i wonder… what are we doing? what am i doing? and i pray, that on some level, somehow, the random thoughts i have, the words that i type out onto my computer screen, make a little bit of a difference in someone’s world. i may not be writing to save girls’ education in pakistan, but i have my own story to tell. and you have yours. may we all, in the spirit of malala, write & share what burns in our hearts. may we, with words and courage, shine a light on the world through our words, our existence, our actions. may we, wherever we are, fight for our dreams, and use those dreams not to just make us happy, but to make a difference.
our words are powerful. our stories are inspiring. what we say motivates others, for good or for evil. but, no matter what we face, let us find the strength to stay true to what’s good, what promotes equality, acceptance, diversity, education, love, and of course, peace.
malala, you have touched my soul. may you feel god’s presence & peace near you during these days. you are a beacon of hope. we need you. so, fight hard.
and for all of you out there, may the peace & love of the universe follow you all the days of your life.