We all know the name Malala. It was echoed around the world in October 2012 as reports emerged of the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai in her native Pakistan.
Typically, words like “attempted assassination” aren’t used when talking about a 15 year old girl but Malala is no ordinary girl.
Although she was born five years after I graduated college, she’s accomplished more in her short life than I have in my many many years. Things you might not know about Malala:
- Her father is a poet, educational activist, and school owner in a part of Pakistan.
- When Malala was 11 years old, she began to blog anonymously for the BBC as a way of chronicling the Taliban’s influence in her region of Pakistan.
- She stepped in to write about what was happening because all of the other families were too afraid of reprisals from the Taliban.
- The Taliban repeatedly banned girls from going to school in her area and destroyed hundreds of girls’ schools.
- After finishing her blog assignment, Malala participated in interviews, documentaries, political meetings raising her visibility as an activist.
- In 2012, Taliban leaders unanimously agreed to kill Malala.
How powerful is one voice? The voice of a girl, only just 15, was strong enough for the Taliban to feel threatened and take action. And even when Malala was confronted by members of the Taliban, when it was clear that her life was at stake, she spoke up and spoke out which resulted in an attempted assassination.
That she survived is a miracle enough in itself. That she didn’t back down at any point is courageous. That she still fights for children and girls education rights around the world is heroic.
It’s not often that an individual is so extraordinary that she moves me to tears but Malala is certainly one of those individuals. Recently, I viewed the trailer for the upcoming film, He Named Me Malala, and found myself with watery eyes by the end of the clip.
As one of many ambassadors for the film, I was invited to participate on a call with Malala and hear her answer our questions. I’ve had some pretty great moments in my blogging career but being on a call with Malala is probably top of the list. She is amazing. In fact, I was trying to tweet the call while she was talking and found that her regular conversation was full of so many quotable moments.
What Malala said to me:
There is a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up.
When you have to choose, you realize that it’s your voice that can bring change.
Change will not come, we will bring it.
It’s not what my father did for me. It’s what he DIDN’T do. He didn’t clip my wings.
Being a Muslim has impacted me as any religion does. Love one another. Be kind to one another.
I tell people that I’m not 5 feet tall. I’m 6 feet minus 12 inches.
Clearly, Malala is wise beyond her years and even has a sense of humor. I was so humbled to be on a call with her and listen to her speak. Once again, I had tears in my eyes from her words of inspiration.
Many of my blogging colleagues had a chance to screen the film in July but I was unable to attend. I plan to make up for that (and I encourage you to do the same) by seeing this important film when it opens on October 2nd in NYC and LA and October 9th nationwide. In fact, I hope to find other women who want to take their daughters, and even sons, to see the film.
I showed the trailer to my own son, who is typically more interested in the latest video game than in anything outside of his own small world. I asked his reaction and he said, “FINALLY. Someone who is strong and will stand up for what they believe in.” At 8 years old, my little gamer was inspired.
Please support this important film and effort by visiting The Malala Fund at malala.org.