By Charles Perosino
TOLLAND, Connecticut, U.S.A. – A Taliban gunman shot 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai yesterday in Pakistan, gravely wounding her.
He hunted Yousafzai down after she publicly expressed support for girls’ education, as well as admiration for U.S. President Barack Obama. The Taliban, which claims to defend conservative values in Pakistan and Afghanistan, has stated that Yousafzai was a trouble to the region for attempting to spread “Western influence.”
Education is an important value to Americans, and it is a right, not a privilege. Education empowers humans, and to take that away from one ethnic group, one race, or one gender is essentially discrimination for beliefs of natural superiority.
Malala Yousafzai Facebook photoMalala Yousafzai
Everyone in the world has the potential to be successful, provided that individual can get a good education. Providing education for everyone, regardless of whether they are male or female, does not represent “Western influences,” it represents human rights.
The attack on Yousafzai – she was shot in the head – was terrible, but the symbolism is so much more.
Two fundamental rights that Americans take for granted, the freedom of speech and the right to a quality education, are not guaranteed all over the world when a terrorist group feels they can justify killing human beings over it. Male superiority has been accepted in many parts of the world, but it doesn’t empower individuals when one gender is provided something that another is not.
Gender equality is critical to the success of a civil society. Education is the key to fueling the success inside of everyone. While the Taliban has attempted to take away Yousafzai’s voice, it was heard all the way across the globe. Americans heard her integrity and are ready to empower that voice.
I hope Malala Yousafzai can still have a wonderful future, and that she and all the girls who deserve a quality education, but have not been given one, will be free to pursue it.
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