Malala Inspires us to Speak Out

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In a world where people are getting shot every day in acts of barbaric violence, it is chilling to suggest we are not surprised by the shooting of 14-year-old Malala. She was shot in the head and neck on her way home from school, and will need her skull restructuring. We might all say how outraged we are at this attack, but when we first saw the news, did we not think ‘oh, another shooting in Pakistan’? But we cannot become immune to it. She was shot after publicly criticising the Taliban for their violent action against girls’ education in 2009. This shooting has gripped the nation in horror as Malala, dared to do what others wouldn’t. Now, others are encouraged to speak out too.

This is, ultimately, a terrorist attack by the Taliban, and the public is demanding the attackers to be condemned and vilified. Malala is famous for writing a diary for the BBC Urdu Service on the unfairness of not being allowed to go to school when the Taliban controlled the Swat Valley from 2007 to 2009. They closed girls' schools, forced men to grow beards and beheaded their opponents. Now, it does not take a rocket scientist to consider that the Pakistani people are afraid of speaking out. But, extraordinarily enough, the intense outrage the shooting has meant waves of young girls have protested on the streets in support of Malala.  

Women have found a voice in Malala, and it seems they are willing to risk their own lives for hers to continue. This is incredibly heartening in a world where pointless acts of violence take place. It was only this year that 34 South African miners were massacred by police whilst peacefully on strike. Perhaps Pakistan has gone through such saturated amounts of injustice and terrorism, that fear is overtaken by anger. Malala is a national peace icon, wishing to set up her own political party, and the national revulsion at her shooting could be a watershed moment for Pakistan, bringing together the nation in a mental attitude that will weigh heavily on the amount of political action taken against the attackers.

We could talk of negative points, such as how Malala may have been over-exposed by the media with her blog, or how the government has yet to outline a plan of action. But we should focus on the positive reaction from the public. Yes, her strong beliefs that led her to be shot were widely spread, and maybe she should have been better protected considering the history of violent attacks on those opposed to the Taliban, but there are so few people brave enough to stand up for what is right and good in this world that the amount of people prepared to support her is the real strength to oppose the Taliban.

Amongst the waves of protests in Pakistan, a young school girl tells the Taliban in a televised interview that ‘you shoot one Malala, ten more will follow’. The people are speaking out in volumes, despite the Taliban’s best effort to silence one young girl. Perhaps they really shot themselves in the foot.

Sarah Smout

I have a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from UEA. When I'm not writing articles or poetry, I'm writing songs or cello-ing it up in my band. I tend to have the odd glass of rose when I write for creative purposes only. I bake good cakes, too.

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