I remember that there was a boy in our school who was asked by a journalist, “Why are the Taliban against education?” He answered very simply. By pointing to his book he said, “A Talib doesn't know what is written inside this book.” - Malala Yousufzai
A weekend day in Ramadan can be very slow when you're living in a part of the world when most people observe the fast. Often you end up watching TV, reading or getting your spring cleaning done (in the summer).
So on a lazy Friday afternoon, I was flipping channels on my TV when Malala Yousufzai was about to address the youth wing of the United Nations. Sitting in to listen to her was the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon and ex-British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown who is currently a UN Special Envoy for Education.
|Malala Yousufzai at the UN, wearing a shawl belong to Benazir Bhutto.|
There were so many great quotes from Malala's speech and I'd highly recommend you watch the video on YouTube if you can or read the speech in full.
Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela are the humanitarians that this generation knows best but it is inspiring to know that there is another generation of humanitarians emerging. Malala is just one shining example who managed to give a speech that tore down all the boundaries across religion, culture and other biases we keep in our minds. No doubt she will do more than just give speeches in the future and she may be the reason we see more great humanitarians emerge.
Ramadan is a month of reflection. No matter what your religion is, hearing words like this from Malala, makes you realize how petty we can be and how much more we could be doing. If a sixteen year old girl from the Swat Valley in Pakistan can survive a gun shot and then come back nine months later to speak of what she can do for others who don't have access to education, why can't we make a change?
I was fortunate enough to watch Malala speak yesterday while my seven year old daughter sat at my side. My daughter had a moment when the speech ended when she realized how lucky she is but how many more aren't quite as fortunate as her.
Malala, my blessings are with you in your cause and thank you for showing me what more we can be doing.
I've extracted below a few passages from Malala's speech yesterday but highly recommend you read or listen to the full speech.