Malala Yousafzai and Father Tour to Stress Value of Education

ziauddin_youszafi

Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Nobel laureate and education activist Malala Yousafzai, spoke this week at Penn State to share his thoughts on education. He said that education transforms people, burnishes a person’s being, and “can change the world,” according to Annemarie Butkiewicz, reporting for the Centre Daily Times.

Yousafzai said that his childhood and education were filled with strife. He was bullied because he had dark skin and he stuttered. If not for his education, he continued, he too might have become hardened, vengeful, perhaps a bully himself. In an attempt to cure his stutter, he worked with his father on a speech.

“I learned it by heart, I closed my eyes, and spoke it … and it was wonderful,” Yousafzai said.

Yousafzai had a passion for education and eventually started a school. As driven as he was to share education with others, none of his five sisters were allowed to get an education in Pakistan. It was then that he vowed, if he had a daughter, she would have the chance to attend school.

Once he began speaking about his daughter, the pride he felt for her was radiant. When Malala was born, her father wrote her name on a cousin’s family tree. Women’s names are not normally added to a family tree, so his cousin was shocked to see him take such an action.

“I just smiled at him,” Yousafzai said with a laugh.“Almost everybody in a patriarchal society is known by his sons. I am one of the few who is known by his daughter, and I am proud of it.”

Malala’s father has encouraged the girls in his school to disobey, with respect, of course, when their parents try to keep them tied to patriarchal traditions. He also tells them to think critically and to question, because only one thing is worse than illiteracy, and that is indoctrination. He grew up in Pakistan during the US  and the Soviet Cold War. He remembers asking God to allow the Muslims to kill the infidels.

“The world has gone mad,” Yousafzai said, “I can’t say it is childish, it is adultish. Children are very innocent, they are very cute, they are very wise. They don’t know how to manipulate, or how to cheat or how to lie, how to kill each other.”

Education, he says, can eliminate fundamentalism and terrorism.

Malala will be sharing her philosophies of youth empowerment and human rights to colleges and high school classes globally. George Washington University, The Malala Fund, and the publisher of Malala’s memoir are offering a free, online guide for college classrooms to be used by students who are studying her book, “I Am Malala.” There will also be a high school version available next year. Some of the themes covered are global feminism, cultural politics, education as a human right for girls, and violence against women, reports the Associated Press.
It was 2012, when Malala and other classmates were attacked on a school bus in Pakistan, Malala was shot in the head and neck and flown to Britain for medical care, where she now lives. The Taliban believes that it goes against Islamic law for girls to be educated.
When Malala received the news that she had won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize and was the youngest Nobel laureate in history, she was in a chemistry class – and she remained in class until the end of the period, writes Forbes‘ Samantha Sharf. Several days later, she met with Philadelphia school children in the morning and in the afternoon with 1,000 young people as part of the Forbes’ Under 30 Summit. In a recent meeting with President Obama, Malala shared these thoughts: money spent by the US on weapons should be spent on education; that if drones continue, terrorism will spread; and that Pakistan will become developed when the US supports democracy there.

Aarti Dhar of The Hindu quotes Malala’s father concerning the attack on his daughter, which he says was not an accident.

“It has a long story behind it. And that is the story of Swat Valley where hundreds of schools have been shut down, girls’ education is banned and all sane voices stifled.”

He added that the quality of the education a person receives is of equal importance to simply getting an education since many times children at learning institutions are being “indoctrinated.”