The Opportunity To Learn
“I don’t know why people have divided the whole world into two groups, west and east. Education is neither eastern nor western. Education is education and it’s the right of every human being,” says Malala Yousafzai, who is a 16 year old Pakistani educational activist. Around the world, children are deprived of an important human right: the ability to get an education.
Education is a vital part of someone’s life, but unfortunately many children will not experience it. In 1990, studies show that about 101 million children around the world were out of school, more females than males. Over 19 years, school systems have improved, and more children have been included in school. In 2009, new studies had shown that 67 million were out of school. Even though there has been a substantial decline, there’s still a vast remainder. This is a problem, as they will not be able to use their education to obtain a solid profession, make a living, and support themselves or family.
Malala Yousafzai, the 16 year old educational activist, is a fighter for the ones deprived of this human right. She was shot in the head by the Taliban on her way to school in Swat Valley, Pakistan. Fortunately, the bullet ricocheted and changed paths, coming out the side of her head and saving her life. “If you hit a Talib, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib,” she said. “You must not treat others with cruelty. You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education,” says Malala, who thinks strongly of solving problems through peace.
In Pakistan, females are not allowed to go to school by Islamic law, but this did not stop her. Yousafzai believes that everyone deserves an education, males and females alike. With her power of belief, she wrote her own book, I Am Malala, that inspired girls across the world. In the Middle East, the dominant religious practice is Islamism. With Islamism, Muslims follow the Islamic Law, Shari’a. The Islamic Law is very gender based, with males being the superior gender.
There are actions that only males could have access to, or women have to go through many obstacles and have a hard time accomplishing the same task. This rule follows for education too, girls are not allowed to get an education. If they do, then they have to believe in what they want and go through the many obstacles it takes, like Malala Yousafzai did. Followers of the religion are very strong with their beliefs and if a promise to the religion is broken, consequences will take place. Malala’s consequence to her broken promise was that the Taliban had to take action, so they attacked her bus and shot her.
Some strongly religious followers will agree with the Law, saying that Yousafzai deserved what she got because she broke her promise to her country, culture, and savior. The Taliban is an example of a group of strong, religious followers that stood up for what they believe in. This is where activism takes place. Malala wanted to show that she was still worthy of living for her country and her culture, but have different beliefs. In “Judged,” a short film, a Muslim girl named Nora gets judged for not wearing a hijab. She is accused of not respecting Islam and gets bullied about it.
Nora tries to explain that she has not quite figured out if she wants to wear a hijab yet, but the other muslims do not understand. Towards the end, Nora is supported and the bullies are explained to that even though Nora is uncomfortable wearing a hijab, she has the same beliefs that any other muslim has and still retains her religion. This is what Malala Yousafzai stands up for. She believes that even though her religion restricts her, she wants to get an education. Just because she wants to get an education does not mean that she does not want to follow Islam rules. Malala is still the same identity as she was before: a smart, strong, peaceful, creative, religious, yet empowering and an inspiring young woman.
If you have the belief for girls, and boys alike, to get an education even though they are restricted, be an activist. Tell the ones opposing that even though something may be holding those children back from their goal, they can achieve what they want and still believe in what they believe. It will not make anyone less worth living and they deserve the chance to be educated. “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice and is never the result of selfishness,” says Napoleon Hill. To achieve the education needed will not be the result of one’s selfishness, but it will show the perseverance, integrity, and sacrifice it takes to stand up against your restriction.