Malala Yousafzai won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize and I am over the moon. Today marks a major day for women's rights, for Muslim women and for South Asian women.
I am Malala. I come from a lineage of women who fought stereotypes, racism and bigotry in their adapted homes in North America. I continue to fight it here in Canada.
I am Malala because I understand what it is like to have others want to silence you, your beliefs and your actions. Each and every single Muslim woman who has been a victim of racism, prejudice and bigotry is Malala. Women in general face a plethora of battles in society whether it is in the form of pay equity vis à vis their male counterparts, disproportionate expectations placed on women to manage the home, successful careers and their bodies. To have children, to not have children, and the list goes on.
I am Malala because my parents always encouraged me to seek higher education. My parents told me the sky was the limit when it came to education and they believed it from the core of their being. Their resolve and conviction was so strong that they chose to leave their families behind in their home land of Pakistan so that their children would have a better future.
So their children would be free to seek higher education and so that their children would not grow up in the shackles of the culture in which they were raised. My father left his home to travel to Germany where he studied and worked. He lived in a country where he knew no more than a handful of people but lived there with a dream of a better life for this family. A dream that he and my mother strove hard to fulfil. My parents made every sacrifice so that my siblings and I would be well educated, well informed and be able to attain our dreams.
I am Malala because I understand the culture, the country and the people who resented her, too well for my own liking. Though I hated it with every fibre of my being, I understood those who wanted to silence her from speaking up in favour of girls being educated. Those who wanted to mute her large dreams and tried to do so in the ultimate way the day that she was shot in the head by members of the Taliban. These cowards attempted to silence a beautiful and innocent girl because the dreams of which she spoke of would eradicate their ignorant, belligerent and tribal beliefs that women need to remain uneducated. The Pakistani army has claimed to have caught the 10 members of the Taliban who attempted to murder Malala Yousefzai. What justice they will face is still unknown. In a society where men rule and women are ruled, where men use guns and knives to oppress the minds and hearts of the very women they claim to protect, a beacon of light and empowerment has risen above these bullies and today has been honoured.
As much as Malala Yousefzai has spoken to my heart and the hearts of millions of women around the world, her resolve to step back into the light after being shot in the head by these cowards is all her. Her courage, her resolve, her thirst to continue fighting for what she believes in, spreading her message of empowerment for girls and women around the world is deserving of nothing short of the Nobel Prize.
I am prouder than I can express today. Today is a good day. Today is a great day. Today is a day when a girl took a stand against the big bad bully, fought back after being injured and was recognized for it in a grandiose way.
Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace prize, but today it truly feels like we all won it. Every single one of us that she represents.
This post was originally published onhttp://canadianmomeh.com
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