Let me break this down for you...
A fourteen year old girl is shot down on her way home from school. She is targeted by a religious group of Pakistani Taliban in the Swat Valley, a mountainous area known mostly as a vacation destination for many Pakistani
Going forward it will be remembered for something else.
What was her crime? What could she do that would make grown men decide that ordering the killing of this child was an acceptable choice? What was her transgression?
She spoke her mind.
Malala lives in a place where the act of speaking your mind can cost you your life. Unfortunately, that describes way too much of this big blue marble. It’s been that way for most of human history; the idea that reason, liberty, and human dignity have any value is a recent development.
My first instinct is to kick someone’s ass. That’s the protective dad in me coming out. Just lay waste to them all, why do people like this deserve to live? How could they shoot this child down in cold blood and call themselves men? But I am older and a little broken down. My rage exceeds my range these days.
I thought long and hard about this story, it’s been nagging at me. I pride myself on being empathetic, but I just can’t get my head into the mind that thinks this is okay. How do they sleep? How could a man find any peace within himself after shooting a little girl in the face because some religious leader told them to? Is it because they think god told them to do this? Is that their absolution, their armor to deny their responsibility for this cowardly act?
“I am merely a servant of a vengeful god! And my god is all powerful, except he is extremely vulnerable to 14 year old girls; they are like kryptonite to my god so he made me shoot her.”
Think about that for a moment… an all-powerful god who cannot answer the questions of a child. Seriously? A god who can create heaven and earth yet cannot tolerate being questioned by a teenager? Of what use is a god such as this?
But what can we do? I feel so powerless, so impotent. Watching video of this brave little girl standing up and speaking out against small minded men with antiquated beliefs who build nothing, contribute nothing and serve only as a source of fear and pain makes me feel like less of a man. She does this not in the safe confines of Seattle, London or Tokyo. She does it in a place where grown men cower in fear. Where do these people come from? She humbles me.
The innocence of youth… it comes from what created us. I don’t know what that is, I have met many people who believed they knew, but none who I thought really did. But people like Malala are closer to the source of god than any Taliban currently breathing. That much is a fact.
In Malala’s name I make this vow. I will not be silent, I will not forget her bravery, I will not allow small minded stupidity to go unchallenged. You will not victimize the weak where I can see you and I will stop you if it’s in my power to do so. That isn’t going to send anyone quaking in their boots because some old broken down redneck is getting fired up over some gunshot little girl. But there are a lot of people like me on this rock. And we know turd when we step on one. It’s time to go all in; the psychos have been running the asylum long enough!
Stand up in your community! Stand up online, pay attention; use your skills to further human dignity. They can’t get us all. We cannot go back to the darkness; the human race has been clawing and scratching its way out of the abyss for millennia. We owe it to Malala and ourselves to keep that struggle going.
Malala and the millions of young people like her represent our hope for the future; the men who shot her represent our dark and violent past. There is really only one question you need to ask yourself…
Did you help Malala save the world today? If not then what are you doing with your time?
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