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Plain and Simple for Oct. 10, 2013 / October 10, 2013
Malala Yousafzai is not a name that rolls easily off the tongue for Westerners but she is certainly a person that we should hold up as a heroine. She is a Pakistani girl who recently turned sixteen, who now lives for her own safety in Britain, and who has been mentioned for the Nobel Peace Prize. Not bad for someone that we in America would usually associate with iPhones, the internet, Twitter, and texting.

In Pakistan, Malala’s father ran a string of schools for girls and was thus placed in opposition to the ultra-conservative Taliban. They run a campaign of intimidation and terror in order to deny girls easy access to education. The British press wanted to get an insider’s view of the situation from a girl who was attempting to get an education in these circumstances. Malala’s father found such a girl for the BBC but the girl’s family quickly backed out because of the extraordinary dangers involved. Into the void stepped eleven-year-old Malala even though she was four years younger than the other girl.

For the next four years, Malala blogged about the increasingly oppressive atmosphere in the Swat Valley of Pakistan where she tried to get her education. Her blogs and brave commentary combined to make her increasingly famous. She put a face to the tyranny that was being foisted on the children of Pakistan. All around her, the battle was being waged between the Taliban and the Pakistani military. Her bravery made her a threat to the Taliban.

Then, a year ago, she was riding to school in a makeshift bus. Gunmen stopped the bus and asked the girls which one was Malala. When she was identified, she was shot once with the bullet going through her head, neck and shoulder. Two other girls were wounded by shots intended for her. After days of stabilization in Pakistan, she was transported to England where she made her recovery.

Since that assassination attempt, Malala has spoken out to the United Nations and on other occasions against the forces that would prevent girls from obtaining an education.

Her spirit has not been silenced. It is an incredible shame that we take education for granted here in America. We pay so much for education here and ask so little in return. No, we want so little in return. We would rather get A’s with no effort than to be challenged and required to work. At the same time, we tolerate mini-tyrants who run over us with their crazy agendas and who have no thought for the good of the country. When will we get the backbone of this little girl, Malala?

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