Malala Yousafzai, now sixteen, has been hailed in the United Nations as noble, courageous and insightful voice for both women seeking an education and against the forces of regression, bigotry, hate and oppression.
Shot by the Taliban, and under threat to be shot again should she return to Afghanistan, Malala was flown to Birmingham England, where she was treated in hospital, and later where she enrolled in a secondary school.
On Friday, last week, Malala spoke at the United Nations, through an invitation from Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, now UN envoy for the project to provide education for some of the 57 million children who do not attend school around the world.
Her father has taken up work as Mr. Brown’s assistant, and apparen tly keeps a close watch over his now famous daughter.
Talk about “turning a lemon of an experience into lemonade!”
Shot in the head, in a crime the whole world watched and grieved over, this little girl has not only recovered but has risen from the ashes of her life like a veritable Phoenix of hope, promise, aspiration and more importantly tolerance.
“I forgive the Talib who shot me,” is one of the lines she delivered to both media and some 500 children from around the globe invited to the UN to hear her speak.
Of course, there has been no word of the fate of the Talib who actually pulled the trigger that fired the bullet thatchanged her life forever.
Hatred of young girls enrolled in school can only be attributed to the most profound fear,jealousy and religious perversion. And if the world were to take up her plea to provide free compulsory education for all of those 57 million children starved of a legitimate education, instead of pouring billions of dollars into military combat with the Taliban, an effort that has the prospect of never really ending and never really turning Afghanistan into a self-sufficient country, the results would, we all know, be far more penetrating and corrosive of the Taliban’s position, ideology and faith, not to mention the human resource that would be generated to provide governance for that country and all other countries where children live without benefit of a free and compulsory education.
While Malala was speaking in New York, in a Florida city a court was in session hearing evidence in the trial of George Zimmerman, the shooter of Trayvon Martin, the black teen who allegedly was stalked by Zimmerman, the wannabe cop, armed and determined to clean up his neighbourhood of all these “punks” who get away with everything.
And the verdict, rendered late Friday evening, “not guilty” could conceivably be attributed to a Florida that permits one to use a firearm if and when one considers oneself in danger. Was this another already historic incident born on the wings of a culture gone off the rails with racism bigotry and the abuse of power?
The protests, mostly peaceful, across the U.S. over the weekend, would seem to suggest that many believe that justice was not fulfilled in the decision rendered by the jury. Whether or not the Justice Department proceeds with charges of racism in the case, against Zimmerman, or the family of Trayvon Martin pursues a civil action against him, the spectre of racism hangs over the most economically advanced country on the planet.
And one has to pause to reflect on just how far the U.S. has advanced beyond the Taliban, at least as represented in the two cases that collide to provide headlines over the weekend.
Children making headlines, because of the hatred and bigotry of adults, does not make “good reading” or a healthy atmosphere for a July Monday morning breakfast.