“I am Malala!”
It is now the battle cry of millions of young women across the globe. A cry for freedom and justice. A call for the right to education and opportunity for girls in the face of the Taliban and oppressive forces everywhere.
When Malala Yousafzai was born in Pakistan, women commiserated with her mother. Men gave no congratulatory words to her father. Why?…because she was a girl. But, her schoolteacher father says that, from the beginning, Malala was bright and inquisitive—particularly questioning why girls did not get to go to school like boys. In October of 2012, she was singled-out on a school bus full of young girls and shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. Why? Because this “girl”, at the age of fifteen, had become a threat. A voice for change and justice.
Now, just twelve months after her shooting–after what doctors agree was a miraculous recovery—Malala has spoken before the UN General Assembly, been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, gone viral on youtube…and her story, “I Am Mahala”, released just this week, is already on the bestseller lists.
As I saw Malala interviewed by Diane Sawyer, my mind skipped to a comment made by Ann Richards during a run for governor of Texas. Of course, she had no specific opponent in mind when she said, “Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”
The struggle of fighting its way out of the cocoon is necessary for a butterfly to become a butterfly. There are moral muscles, muscles of conviction and compassion, which are developed only through adversity. The privileged are rarely privy to them. We remember the Malala stories. The rich—with rare exception—are forgotten, because their stories are forgettable, unremarkable. Their one hope of glory is to stand with the Malalas of the world. (e.g., Bill and Melinda Gates.)
In competitive diving, scoring is based on two factors: 1) a judges score of 1-10 for how well the dive is executed; and 2) the dive’s “degree of difficulty”. A simple forward dive has a degree of difficulty much less than, say, a back two-and-a-half somersault. Degrees range from 1.4 to 4.0. So, even if both dives are perfect 10’s, the more difficult dive wins.
I’m giving Malala a perfect 10.0 after she started with a 4.0 degree of difficulty. Way to go Malala! Your story comes in such stark contrast to what’s been going on in our nations capital. Of course, 99% of those folks are at a disadvantage…
…they were born on third base.