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Malala Yousafzai

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Girls' Education Rights in Pakistan

On October 9, 2012, in Mingora, Pakistan 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by two Taliban men when she was arriving home on a bus from school (Wilmore par 1). She was targeted for supporting and speaking out for girls' education rights (Wilmore par 3). In the summer of 2009, Pakistan's military claimed that they drove the group out of the area, but the Taliban are still attacking people there, especially those who support girls' education like Malala (Wilmore par 15). Under Islamic or religious law, all people, including women, should be granted educational rights and freedom in, not only Pakistan, but other parts of the world as well.To begin with, in Pakistan, it is hard for females to receive education because of the Taliban's strict religious laws and attacks (Wilmore par 6). In 2007, the Taliban arrived in Swat Valley, Pakistan, banning music and dancing (Jacobsen par 13), and they also banned women from activities like shopping (Wilmore par 6). The new laws made it uncomfortable for women to go out alone in public because many of their activities were restricted or banned (Jacobsen par 13). To make sure that citizens would not go against them, the Taliban forced them to accept the laws with the use of brutal punishments such as public whippings, bombings, and beheadings (Wilmore par 5). Then the Taliban started destroying schools with bombs, killing students, teachers, and passerby in the process, and they also targeted people who promoted education for females (Wilmore par 6). For example, in March 2013, a 41-year-old teacher was gunned down 200 meters from her all-girls school near the Pakistan-Afghan border, and grenades were thrown into a school that educated girls, injuring a teacher and four students (Brown par 3). Innocent citizens are getting injured because of a strictly religious group who do not think highly of female rights and education, and most stay silent to not feel the Taliban's wrath (Wilmore par 5).
Pursuing this farther, there are people in Pakistan and other parts of the world who risk their lives for something that highly developed countries like America take for granted: the right for a girl to be schooled (Wilmore par 3). One well-known activist is the Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai , who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 but recovered and became the spokesperson for universal education (Jacobsen par 2). When the Taliban arrived in Swat Valley in 2007, Malala and her fellow girl classmates secretly attended their school, which was founded by her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, hiding their books in their shawls (Jacobsen par 14). In early 2009, she began writing a blog on a BBC website using the pseudonym Gul Makai (Wilmore par 8), and appeared on local media outlets to speak about universal girls' education (Jacobsen par 7). Though she was not well-known outside of her native Swat Valley home area, her blog became popular in Pakistan and everywhere around the world, which eventually uncovered her true identity (Wilmore par 10). Malala knew that she was now the main target of Taliban rage because of all the support she was getting for girls' education, but she did not stop blogging or speaking out for girls (Wilmore par 10). Enraged, the Taliban sent two men to get rid of her on October 9, 2012, which was the shooting on the bus (Jacobsen par 9). Malala was severely injured, but she miraculously survived and was stabilized and treated in a hospital located in the United Kingdom for 11 weeks (Wilmore par 10). People who supported Malala in Pakistan formed into large groups and participated in marches, prayers vigils, and other activities of public defiance against the harsh sharia laws. (Wilmore par 16). Many months of recovery and support later, Malala recovered and became the spokesperson for girls' education, traveling all around the world to speak with country leaders, including President Obama (Jacobsen par 3). The Taliban's attempt to kill her not only failed but backfired, making her the spokesperson for millions of children worldwide without access to education and one of the most inspirational people in the world today (Wilmore par 4).People, especially girls, are fighting for not only for their education, but for their freedom and dignity (Brown 5). Pakistan's people are beginning to speak out against discrimination; they are refusing to stay silent any longer (Brown 5). More and more are declaring that weapons will not stop them from promoting universal girls' education (Brown par 5). All across the Indian subcontinent, teenage girls are joining together from their villages to create “child marriage-free zones” that prevent under aged girls to be married off (Brown par 8). In Bangladesh, people known as “Wedding Busters” created 19 of those zones, supporting children to stay in school and resist being married against their will (Brown par 10). All the girls fighting for human decency and fair treatment are little Malalas because their determination to fight and their accomplishments with the child-marriage-free-zones, the Malala demonstrations, child-labor petitions, and the growing movement of exposing child trafficking (Brown par 10). The female purpose in life is not only to marry and assist men with limited freedom. The men-dominating-women issue has been around for at least a century in most countries, because in the old world, a female's status depended on what others ascribed to her or how she was grown up, whether she was poor or rich (Brown par 11). But today's movement is not about getting freedom from injustice, but is actually about getting freedom to make the most of a person's talents regardless of gender or race (Brown par 12). To conclude, Pakistan's future depends a lot on its inhabitants, so Pakistan's leaders should educate not only men, but women as well, and give everyone equal rights for a better future. Because of sharia law, innocent citizens lose their lives from being caught in the fray, and brave people, some who did not reach adulthood yet, are protesting for universal education for everyone regardless of gender and belief. The plausible solution is to show the Taliban and other groups that education is for everybody and that gender discrimination is wrong, without using violence and make them take down their regime and strict restrictions. As more and more people join together and promote education and end gender discrimination, guns or any other weapon cannot defeat them because of the overwhelming numbers of support (Brown par 5). The people who believe that universal education and no discrimination may have been attacked by violence, but that doesn't mean their views would be stopped by it.

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