When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education, writing secretly on a blog that was transmitted back to the BBC in England.
On Tuesday, October 9th, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price in her fight for freedom and education. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school. The Taliban terrorists who boarded the bus called out “Who is Malala?” and then pointed a rifle directly at her head.
Her survival was a miracle. Airlifted to Birmingham, England, for specialized treatment, she rallied and slowly worked her way back to her family and to her life. She wrote a book, “I Am Malala,” in direct response to the question of the terrorists. She stands up and declares “I Am Malala,” making her courageous stance for education for girls all around the world.
And just a couple of weeks ago, at age 17, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest Nobel prize winner in history. The prize is shared with her by a Hindu activist from India named Kailash Satyarthi who has spent his life working to protect children from human trafficking and slavery. A Muslim and a Hindu, working to bring peace and justice to the world.
I shine a spotlight on these two individuals because, in a world that is tumultuous and filled with much sectarian violence, we often become discouraged, feeling that there is no hope for the future. Malala and Kailash tell us a different story. From very dark and desperate places, these two individuals refuse to let evil and violence overcome them. They speak out, stand up, take a risk and bring hope to our world.
Malala and Kailash call out to us to do the same. Just as Jesus did!
One is a Muslim, one follows the Hindu faith and one is Jewish. But justice is at the heart of all that they say and all that they stand for.
Time for we Christians to get in the game and join the march for justice. A desperate world awaits us!
Blessings and shalom, Linda