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Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Malala Effect

Malala Yousafzai celebrated her sixteenth birthday on Friday by addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations. Five hundred young people from all over the world were invited to hear her. She is a living miracle. A Taliban hit man shot her in the head at point blank range in October 2012. Malala comes from the Swat Valley in Pakistan, and she has championed the right of girls’ education since she was quite small. Less than a year after the shooting, she continues to fight for global education—every child enrolled in school.

Her speech at the U.N. began on a political-religious note—in the name of god (Allah), pointing out she was wearing Benazir Bhutto’s shawl, and thanking god for helping her get well, thanking all those who prayed for her recovery, her nurses and doctors, the governments that had helped her, etc.

Then she addressed the Global Education Initiative. Its goal is to have every child in the world enrolled in school by the year 2015.

Malala said that when she was shot, she didn’t die, but “weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Power, strength, and courage were born.” She then cited great religious people: Mohammed, Jesus Christ, and Lord Buddha. She praised influential leaders: Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, among them.

Malala stressed peace, love and forgiveness. She agreed with Lytton’s quote, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” She also campaigns for women’s rights. She rejects all kinds of prejudice.

Malala closed her speech with a call for “free and compulsory education for all children. . . . Education is the only solution. Education first.”

I admire Malala Yusefzai for many reasons. She is articulate, a gifted public speaker. Her command of English (her second language) is amazing. She has a lot of inner strength and is not afraid to speak out, even after being so horribly injured by those who tried to silence her. She proves that one very young person can influence the world.

I totally agree that education is important. I believe it’s very important for every child to learn to read, write, and do math. Every child should learn history, geography, and science. I also believe that every child should have the opportunity to hear the Bible read, to listen to a Christian alternative view, especially in science.

After hearing Malala’s speech, I have some huge concerns:
  • Does the Global Education Initiative allow for private schools, home schools, and Christian schools?
  • Does the Global Education Initiative point us in the direction of global governmental control over the curricula used, the subjects taught?
  • Does this mean that the state, not the parents, would decide how children are to be educated?
  • Does every child have to be officially enrolled in a state-approved school, or will there be freedom to home school according to the parents’ conscience—and include Bible studies?
  • One of the goals is an emphasis on “global citizenship.” I am wondering what that means. What kinds of values will be taught? Does this do away with the concept of patriotism to one’s country? What exactly is a global citizen? 

I am praying for Malala. I would love for her to know the Living God, the one true God, the One Who caused her to survive the assassination attempt. I would love for her to ask Jesus Christ (Whom she admires) as her personal Savior. I would love to see her with a truly free spirit to go with her brilliant mind and healing body.

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36)

If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed (John 8:36).


  1. Orare por Malala, para que tenga la oportunidad de saber y recibir como su Salvador a Cristo.

    1. Thank you, Tere, for praying for her. God bless you!


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