By Katie Matero
How often have we complained about having to go to class in the rain, snow, sleet or whatever inclement weather may be occurring? We complain about the amount of reading we have to do or how the shuttle does not run in the evenings. Some students even complain about how they do not want to be at college, but their parents are forcing them.
Malala Yousafzai is a 16 year old who has been advocating for women’s education in Pakistan since she was 11 when she wrote a pseudonymous blog for the BBC about her experiences living under Taliban rule.
The Taliban controls the Swat Valley in Pakistan, and had attempted numerous times to prohibit women and girls from attending school. They have removed signs on school buildings and have even destroyed schools to prevent women from being educated.
In her BBC blog, Yousafzai describes having to go to school while the streets echo with gunshots and being forced to stay at home because women were not allowed to attend schools, but studying anyway, even though she was unsure if she would be allowed to take her exams.
In 2012 Yousafzai was riding on a bus home from school when she was shot in the neck and head by the Taliban in an assassination attempt. She survived this attack, and has continued to fight for women’s education in Pakistan.
In an interview with Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” from Oct. 9, 2013, Yousafzai said, “I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’ But then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib.’”
“You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others, but through peace and through dialogue and through education. Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well.’ And I will tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want,’” Yousafzai said
Despite being personally hunted down by the Taliban for her activism, Yousafzai continues to be wise well beyond her years. In 2011, she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize and awarded the National Youth Peace Prize.
Yousafzai also founded the Malala Education Foundation which assists underprivileged girls attend school.
Next time you might consider skipping class because the weather is inconvenient or you did not finish your homework, just remember all that Yousafzai has done and been through for her education and the education of others. She took a bullet at point blank range because she wanted to learn and wanted others to have the right to learn as well. I think it will be okay if you have wet shoes during class once in a while.