A hero: Malala Yousufzai

Halfway around the world today, a 14-year-old girl was shot. Not because she was hanging with the wrong crowd. Not because she did drugs or anything like that. It was because she dared to stand up for something, because she dared to say education is important, even for women.

She was shot by the Taliban. Once in the head, once in the neck.

A 14-year-old girl.

Her name is Malala Yousufzai and she is Pakistani. She’s in stable condition, but the Taliban warned that “if she survives this time, she won’t next time.”

A 14-year-old girl.

I don’t know Malala. I’m not even sure how to pronounce her name. But she’s my hero.

She saw a problem in her country and instead of remaining silent, she spoke out. For several years now, she’s been vocal, blogging about her opposition to the Taliban’s attempts to bully girls into quitting school. She was awarded Pakistan’s first National Peace Prize for her work and was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize.

A 14-year-old girl.

Her courage is astounding. She knew she could be killed for speaking up, expressing fear that she may be beheaded. She’s an incredible girl. And somehow I think even getting shot won’t silence her. Because she is all that is great about the new generation. She is brave and uncompromising in her fight for a woman’s right to an education.

A 14-year-old girl.

When I was 14, no one tried to stop me from going to school. No one threatened me for believing a woman could learn. No one scorned my desire for a college degree. No one judged me when I went to grad school.

I’ve always been grateful to live in a country of freedom, in an age of equality. We didn’t start there, though. A lot of incredible women fought for my right to get an education and to vote and to own property, regardless of my marital status.

Women like Malala. Granted, her situation is markedly different. Her country wasn’t built on a foundation of freedom like mine was. And while the American suffragettes of yesteryear wholeheartedly devoted themselves to the cause of freedom for women, their lives were not constantly threatened.

Although those are significant differences, the similarities remain. Malala is a revolutionary in the most humanitarian sense.

A 14-year-old girl.

She’s in my prayers, this warrior girl, as she recovers from her wounds and as she fights for the millions of girls in her country. May the fiercest of angels surround her and may she, with her incredible courage, inspire a nation to stand with her against forces of oppression and hatred.

A 14-year-old girl.

P.S. You can read more about Malala here and here.



  1. Debra Weiss
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 13:59:47

    Wow, I admire her for her bravery and courage. To speak out in the face of so much, especially at such a young age is inspiring. Thanks for sharing her story, Halee.


    • halee
      Oct 09, 2012 @ 15:58:55

      Isn’t it incredible? I mean, wow. When I read her story, I just had to share.


  2. Beth Pensinger
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 18:32:05

    Thank you for sharing. Wow and incredible sum it up.


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