I am Malala
“I am ready to sacrifice myself again.I want every girl, every child, to be educated.And that in our whole country, for there to be peace.
And for peace, I will sacrifice myself” (Malala’s Story). These inspirational words were spoken by Malala Yousafzai, a seventeen year old Pakistani girl, who is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Miss Yousafzai received this prestigious humanitarian award for her protest against the abolishment of the education of children in her country. At the age of fifteen, she was shot in the head by Taliban militants for her advocacy of girls’ rights in Pakistan. Yousafzai’s plight is just one of thousands of acts of violence that are enacted daily upon girls and women around the world. While it is indisputable that the United States, among other Western countries, has come a long way in promoting women’s rights since the first Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, the fate of women around the world has remained tragic.
Most notably reported by the media, albeit with limited coverage, has been the onerous mistreatment of women in Afghanistan and Iraq.The atrocities committed in these nations are inhumane, and yet the United States government, for all of its talk of global humanitarian involvement, has remained primarily silent on this issue.Therefore, the first step in aiding these oppressed women is communication; it is vital that the world hears their stories and acknowledges their horrific circumstances.As such, it is necessary to shed light on their suffering, rather than to focus on the latest celebrity trends. Afghanistan is at war on multiple fronts, and the Afghan women of this country have suffered significantly at the hands of the Taliban.Unfortunately, there seems to be no relief in sight.
The fundamentally violent nature of this radical Islamic militia is displayed with each horrendous act of brutality.Moreover, with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, as well as the emergence of the relatively new extremist group ISIS, women of the Islamic region will not find any reprieve from their oppression.In 2013 four female police officers were killed in Afghanistan. In addition numerous female members of Parliament and their families living in the Ghazni Province were abducted.A number were also victims of assassination attempts.This all began in September of 1996 when the Taliban seized control of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
Soon afterwards they imposed a strict, perverted version of Sharia Law that banished women from the work place, closed schools to girls and women, and prohibited all females from leaving their homes without a close male relative.Moreover, the Parliament has attempted to pass numerous despotic laws against women: one being the elimination of women in Parliament, another giving fathers full guardianship over their children, and a third, prohibiting the nation’s courts from hearing testimony of one family member against another.This ruling would make it essentially impossible to prosecute domestic violence and abuse cases of women. While the president of Afghanistan has refused to sign several of these bills, the fact that they are proposed at all demonstrates the dire circumstances of women in this region. According to Manizha Naderi, the head of the organization, Women for Afghan Women, those that come to her shelters “include victims whose in-laws, husbands, fathers and sons have broken their arms and legs, chopped off lips, tongues and noses, pulled out fingernails, sold them, stabbed them and left them for dead” (Nordland 2).
Additionally, Sushmita Banerjee, an Indian woman who received notoriety for writing a memoir about life married to an Afghan, was shot and killed by Taliban militant leaders because she refused to wear a burqa in public.These are just a few examples of the harsh atrocities being committed in the twenty-first century in the name of the Qur’an. Therefore it is vital that these appalling attacks gain more media attention. Furthermore, women in Iraq have suffered under the reign of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.As men leave their homes to fight against this terrorist group, women are left vulnerable and become targets for attack.
In communities occupied by ISIS, militants have kidnapped women, justifying their assaults as a “sexual jihad.”As a result four women committed suicide after being raped by ISIS militants.In addition, as seen in Afghanistan, women in political power in Iraq are also being killed mercilessly.Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuamiy, a lawyer known for her work promoting women’s rights was killed by Islamic State soldiers.She was kidnapped from her home, tortured for several days, and then killed in public by a masked firing squad; what is more, her family has been barred from giving her a proper funeral.
Additionally, in July of 2014, two female candidates in Iraq’s general election were killed; another candidate was abducted and has not been heard from since.Humanitarian efforts in Iraq have done little to slow the Islamic State’s tyrannical actions, and it is improbable that they will be capable of truly making an impact without global support. Until then, it is undeniable that women will continue to suffer. The horrors committed in Afghanistan and Iraq are unimaginable, but it is important to note that these are just a few representations of the heinous treatment that women continually experience around the globe, and those that go unreported.It is paramount that the women who have died, as well as those who continue to suffer, serve as a reminder of the urgency of this crisis.
We are fortunate here in the United States to have come so far in improving women’s rights, to be able serve in political office, to make advancements in the scientific world, to fight alongside men in the military, to pursue advanced degrees in college, and to become CEO’s of major corporations.Therefore, if Malala, a mere teenage girl, can stand up for herself in the face of a gun barrel, given our own freedoms, should we not stand with her?We must not forget that our sisters are struggling for their basic human rights and we must unite for their cause.Communication breeds change, and this time it is a matter of life or death. Perhaps Miss Yousafzai said it best: “We realize the importance of our voice, when we are silenced” (Malala’s Story).