Thinking of Malala

Over the past few days, I’ve kept clicking on headlines telling the tale of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan. This 14-year-old girl blogged about what the Taliban had been up to in the Swat Valley, and campaigned for the right of girls to go to school. For this, the Taliban shot her in the head.

She’s slowly recovering at a hospital in the UK where she was taken after Pakistani doctors removed the bullet from her brain. Security is tight at the hospital, in part because the Taliban have vowed to finish the job.

There are many things one can take from this story. One can be glad there are brave and gifted children everywhere. With modern technology, we can become aware of these world-changers, even from the remotest regions. One can also be appalled at people who would be so frightened of the modern world that they’d react by trying to assassinate a girl.

But also, it reminds me, as someone who writes about education occasionally, that while there is much to complain about with American schools, I’m lucky to live in a society where the powers that be fret about how to keep children in school, rather than how to kick children of a certain gender out. It also makes me sad to think how many of us don’t take advantage of all the freedoms we have to read and learn. That’s a freedom Malala wound up taking a bullet in the brain for.

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