It’s easy to want to give up on the world.
The news drowns us in stories of tragedies and evil. All around us, fear and terror seem to reign supreme. In our daily lives, losses both big and small threaten to usurp our optimism. We’re surrounded by lies, deceit, treachery, disasters, losses, and disappointments.
In short, we often lose faith in humanity, in the meaning of life, and even in ourselves. What’s the point to all of the madness? And what can one person really do to change the state of a truly dysfunctional society?
Malala Yousafzai answers this question with a resounding answer: one person can do a lot.
I Am Malala
About a month ago, I read Malala’s story I Am Malala… and I was so moved and inspired. Malala was always a revolutionary in her country of Pakistan; despite the fact few girls attended school in her culture, she devoted her time to her education. Her father opened a school that educated girls in an attempt to further the development of girls’ rights.
When Malala was shot by the Taliban, however, everyone thought her fight for education was over. If she survived, she certainly would be quiet in her approach. She would be forever changed and fearful.
They were wrong.
Malala continues to advocate for equal access to education despite her harrowing experience. She is an inspiration to everyone who feels like making a difference is impossible. If a teenage girl can take on the Taliban and the world belief that girls don’t deserve education, what’s stopping the rest of us? To survive the experience she did is amazing and miraculous. To take the situation and courageously speak out is a whole other level of brave.
He Named Me Malala
The DVD recently released called He Named Me Malala follows the book’s story and message. Malala still struggles with effects from the shooting, including the loss of movement of the left side of her face. What struck me, though, was her enthusiasm for life and passion for change. She says in the video she doesn’t care if she can’t use the left side of her face; education is what matters. To see her advocating for change for girls in other parts of the world, to see her speak up in the face of danger is empowering. Here’s a teenager who giggles when she sees a picture of Brad Pitt and fights with her brother. She says herself in the video she is just an ordinary girl.
But the changes she has sparked are far from ordinary. Malala reminds us how important it is to stand up for goodness and justice in the world. In a world full of bleakness, we must seek to be the light, just like she is. She took a horrific experience and turned it into something powerful.
If a girl who was shot by the Taliban for going to school can get back up, smile, and see beauty in the world, we can, too.