The face - and mind - that the Taliban fears.
(Courtesy of warincontext.org)
1. It sometimes takes one voice, and the world will listen.
2. Be passionate about what makes you wake up in the morning.
3. Anytime a minority or disadvantaged sector tries to secure equality and equal rights, you can bet those in current power will do everything they can to prolong that day.
4. Your age and sex have nothing to do with doing the right thing. The men who attempted to kill Malala were older, stronger, and had power. She was defiant to the end, championing education for women in a country that has institutionalized misogyny.
5. We all change, and hopefully for the better. Malala initially wanted to be a doctor, but realized she could do more as a politician, and wanted to be one.
6. In the eyes of a young woman, politics is not a bad word: it is a position and field that is capable of transformation and change. Whenever I think of our local politics, Malala's idealism will serve to remind me why it is important to not abandon all hope yet.
7. When the government fails to secure and guard your rights, we have to do it ourselves, and remind the government why they were granted so much power.
8. Inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places. I am immensely moved and fortified about humanity, if from a medieval, anti-woman and repressed place like Pakistan, a teenager can stand tall, state her case, and if necessary, die for what she believes in, not only for herself, but for every woman in her country. After all the idiocy, the wars, the bickering that is fed to us daily courtesy of humanity as a whole, Malala's story swings the dial, showing us what humans are capable of.
9. Education, open minds, and free thinking are seen as "the enemy" by those steeped in hyper religiosity and conservatism. It's true in Pakistan, in the USA and in the Philippines. Those that want to restrict freedoms, choices, and dialogue are often - unsurprisingly - somehow linked to a religion that is self-assured and unused to anyone or anything challenging its moral certainty. A similar vein of the theme "follow us and you are on the right path" can also be seen across these religions, and across countries.
10. In an era of cynicism, Malala makes you believe. Not by outlandish tales, inciting guilt or from the end of a rifle. She used her words, her thoughts and her actions, fighting for a cause she believed in. That is something we can all stand in awe of.
If you have not heard of the story of Malala Yousafzai, read about her here.