Journalism Next from Braden River High School: Inspirational teen journalist makes a difference

Special to the HeraldNovember 26, 2012 

Since 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai was shot in October while on her way to school in Swat Valley, Pakistan, she has become an inspiration for millions around the world.

From the time that Yousufzai was 11 years old, she has been writing to BBC Urdu about what it was like to live under Taliban rule.

"I am afraid," she wrote on Jan. 3. "I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban."

Her journal entries gave the world a whole new perspective on what it is like to be a girl under Taliban rule. The Taliban is an Islamic fundamentalist militant movement group. When the militia read Yousufzai's entries, they felt threatened, and decided to put a stop to it.

"Americans do not know what it is like to get into trouble for what they say," said senior Mike Godzina. In Pakistan, the culture is very different and foreign to America.

To back up Godzina's statement, freshman Danielle Gray said, "In Pakistan, there are not a lot of women's rights," Gray explained, "but people do not realize that in America, women still are not equal. We have many rights for women in America but they do not always follow through."

Malala Yousufzai was very brave for her journal entries and has become an advocate for women's rights in her country.

In most Middle-Eastern countries, women do not have as many rights as women do here in America. Particularly, women and young girls are only allowed to have the privilege to go to school for a certain amount of time, shorter than the span of a boy's education career.

Also, they may be forced into arranged marriagesand have to abide by theirolder male spouses during processes like veiling.

If they commit adultery, the women can be struck with stones unlike men, who receive no punishment for their actions.

"She will rise again," said Yousufzai's father, "When she fell, Pakistan stood. This is a turning point."

Coach Clarke, World History teacher, clarified why most Middle-Eastern countries do not have many rights for women, "Religious leaders and religious authority of most religions have been male dominated for thousands of years," he explained, "So individual rights and equal rights for women are slow to come."

To some people, they were not very shocked when they first heard of the attack, because of how mistreated women are in Pakistan.

"A lot of Muslim cultures in the Middle-East have been slow to recognize women's rights, whether it is literacy, voting, marriage laws, or property rights," Clarke said. "Religious leaders have been reluctant to assist women of all ages to gain these equal rights. It is very sad, yet not surprising due to the treatment of women."

Malala Yousufzai has been nominated for an International Children's Peace Prize. Her bravery and courage has made a big impact in people's lives, especially women.

Her doctors in Birmingham, England, say thatshe will make a full recovery and return to her daily routine.

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