“I am Malala”.
This had been in my bag for several weeks now. Always waiting to be finished. But I have always taken its presence for granted thinking that I could make time for it when there’s notng left to be done. Of course, there’s always something that needs to be done.
News of the European Migrant Crisis flooded our Facebook timeline last week. On one of my mornings last week, I found myself engrossed in this very long read:“How the Migrants’ March Toward Germany Began”. Reading real life stories from the Middle East has always made me cry. This one especially. These are real people with real stories whose lives were turned upside-down because of a group’s desire for power and dominion. These people were reduced to charity cases. Far from their real lives back home. These children have been robbed of their childhood. These children, whom the world now considers as numbers in the migrant crisis, had music and laughter with friends and had loving and cuddling with their family back in the world they’ve known until these atrocities started happening in their backyards.
Malala had been one of them less than a decade ago. Malala and her family, together with the people of the Swat Valley (Malala’s hometown), were IDPs (internally displaced persons) because they had to suffer the brunt of the battle between the Taliban and the Pakistan Army.
I was on this page during my usual subway ride:
I didn’t stop reading after that. These people are victims of the same fate by the same fundamentalists carrying different group names. It’s sad that their governments cannot be said to be innocents. In a lot of ways, they have tolerated the complex growth of power of these groups. As with the Pashtun’s exodus, the refugees in Europe today are on their own. They have no one to guide them. Theirs is for personal survival.
Malala, the girl shot by the Taliban, was lucky in so many ways. Though her childhood was spent grooming for public speaking (thanks to her passionate father) and her teenage years defined by the fight for girls’ education, her high profile has saved her from death which most of her people had ended up with. She was given the best medical attention because her life was most precious for Pakistan for the whole world was watching. Her high profile has allowed her to bring her agenda to the world stage and she made history as the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
Her courage is remarkable. Her spirit is admirable. But I think much of it happened because her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, allowed himself to be known as the “Father of Malala”. In truth, he is the one who had the vision, the passion and the spirit to fight for women education. He spent his early life with a single determination to put up schools and improve the state of education in his country. Prior to starting a family, he struggled his way to having his own education, graduating and putting up his first school. There was the endless financial woes but he never gave up. He rose to become one of the well-known people in the Swat Valley, even in Pakistan. Education was his battlecry. Then he saw the potential in his daughter and encouraged and guided her to have the heart and the spirit to be with him in his fight for education for all, especially for the girls in their country.
He became an easy target for the Taliban but Malala was the more vulnerable one. The events that happened after the shooting has made Malala an every girls heroine.
But lest we forget the man who moulded his daughter and stood by her side, his name is Ziauddin Yousafzai. He is the Father of Malala.