Before you start reading this article, please take a moment to remember who you were at 15 – what your days were like, how you spent your time, your preoccupations and your aspirations.
During the past weeks, Malala Yousafzai was seen frequently in the news and television, touring the U.S. to promote her new memoir, “I am Malala.” She is also a 16-year-old Pakistani student who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen because she was defending her right to go to school.
She has shown and taught us in few words what we need to change; she has shown us a new direction. She redefined the real meaning of education. Education is not about getting a job and having a great career, but about knowledge, about getting liberty, freedom and respect. Education is a nonviolent weapon against the established order, against discrimination and manipulation; education empowers people. In Pakistan, the Taliban stopped women from going to school; here in the US we cut critical funding for education, and we rush to privatize education, making sure it will become a commodity and not a Human Right.
Malala also gave us a big lesson on the “War on Terror” theory. She personally has been shot in the head by a “terrorist organization” and didn’t look for revenge, she didn’t spend her life and energy to make the Tailban pay for their crime. Instead, she is working every day to build a new world and new society, and is looking to one day becoming the prime minister in Pakistan. “I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees,” Yousafzai said in a statement published by the Associated Press. “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”
Malala is redefining politics, giving it its ultimate definition of changing the people’s condition of living; and she is doing it with so much clarity! These past few weeks, she really sent a strong signal of what’s coming. A new generation is on the rise. It began a few years ago with the youth in Tunisia and Egypt, followed by those in Spain and New York. And now, this process has found its logical next step in the US being given an existential sermon by a young Pakistan girl wearing traditional clothes and a head covering!
The Humanists have a principle that the Taliban should study. It goes like this: “when you force something towards an end, you produce the contrary.” And for you Malala, here is a beautiful quote from Silo’s book, Humanize the Earth: “Namer of a thousand names, maker of meanings, transformer of the world, your parents and the parents of your parents continue in you. You are not a fallen star but a brilliant arrow flying toward the heavens. You are the meaning of the world, and when you clarify your meaning you illuminate the earth. When you lose your meaning, the earth becomes darkened and the abyss opens.”