There are several reasons I’m writing this today. For one, to congratulate you for being a beacon of hope to millions of girls out there who are denied their basic right to education. And two, to plea to you to be more than just a ray of hope.
I know this means we are putting a lot of strain on your young shoulders. But I guess that’s why God sends people like you to become an embodiment of hope peace justice goodness bravery and all that is great in this World. You have been chosen and here I am praying for you to remain all that and become much more.
Education is Allah’s first command. You would know that, I’m sure but I guess those sick men who tried to murder you don’t. If they were really Allah’s followers they wouldn’t have. That’s my faith. Nobody who loves Him and His Prophet (saw) would try to portray His teachings in such a horrendous manner.
You survived because He wanted you to become this great person who would stand up (and literally take a bullet) for women and their basic rights.
This is where my personal plea comes in. Mere education would not teach anyone how to live by.
My personal plea comes at a time where I too wish to study further but am being denied to do so. Instead I’m being (emotionally) forced to marry someone I really don’t like. I know they say we always have a choice but I guess they never had a khala (maternal aunt) like mine.
While physical abuse and torture gets everyone’s attention because it feels more real and tangible, emotional strain doesn’t get much. Girls, who have to appear in front of strangers and have to parade countless times to please a few strangers just so they can accept them in their household, I believe that emotional trauma is as worse as getting shot by a Taliban at point blank range.
I see girls around me going on crash diets, trying to look pretty, being pulled out of colleges just so they can marry someone. Imagine having to live a life for others and not for your own sake.
And who is to be blamed? Us. We let it all happen when we gave this society the right to dictate us. The right to tell us how to live by. Why should a girl let go of her education just so there’s that fear she may never get married? Is marriage the end? I quote my khala, who felt that if I wasn’t married as soon as possible, I may actually continue my studies and then “get my head in the wrong places”
Is that what education does to you?
It all ends with a simple no. You stand up. You learn to fight for your rights. You learn from those who did stand up and right now. You are my hope.
Emotional strain from trying to please one family after the other in hopes they would accept them… In hopes that they would soon not be a burden to their families… This is what an average girl here feels like. And I believe the pain may not show, but it’s if not more but as torturous as getting shot.
I hope along with promoting education for girls, you would also consider teaching this society how to treat their own daughters.
Here’s praying for you, and sending lots of love to your way.