Malala Yousafzai – A Child of Vision and Bravery

Saturday 1411  – 14th July 2013

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malala

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Today I have been thinking about the marvellous speech that Malala Yousafzai made at the United Nations yesterday, on her 16th Birthday.  I imagine that most people have heard of this girl from Pakistan or maybe I am being presumptuous?

In October 2012 Malala was shot in the head, at point-blank range, on a school bus by Taliban gunmen because of her campaign for girls’ rights. She lived in the Swat valley in Pakistan, an area where the Taliban had, at times, banned girls from attending school.   Her father too was an educational activist and school owner so she obviously grew up strongly believing in the rights of everyone to education.  She made her first speech about educational rights for all in 2008 at the age of  just 10 or 11.

After she was shot the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility saying that she  “is the symbol of the infidels and obscenity,” and said if she survived they would target her again. 6 days after the shooting she was flown to England to continue the treatment which had begun in Pakistan and she has now made this her home, along with her family.  She is rightly credited with putting the spotlight on girl’s education, or lack of it , throughout the world where a quarter of young women have not completed primary school.

I will not write any more but will let Malala do the talking , something she does with great poise and power that belie her tender age.

If you click on the photo of her below it will bring you to a page where you can hear a short but powerful excerpt from her speech.  At the bottom of this post is a link to the full 17-18 min speech.

Malala Yousafzai quotes (2)

I’ll leave you with these words of Malala’s –

“Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.  Education is the only solution.  Education first.”

The world needs more inspirational people like her, or maybe like all of us because can’t we all be a little bit more inspirational? 

I for one hope she is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, no-one deserves it more. 

Malala’s full UN speech can be heard here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5X70VyjU0g 

Saturday Girl signing off, see you next week.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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Come on all you lovely men out there, Ring the Bell !

Saturday 1428 – 16th March 2013

one million men one million promises

Last week I was at the Million Women Rise march in London which was highlighting the endemic nature, around the world, of violence against women. You can read my article here  and in it I said “Come on men where are you “.  This was really my way of asking what 49% of the world’s population-the males of the human species – are doing about the violence against women by their fellow man.  We all know there are lots of women’s groups fighting for equality but where are the mens groups.

patrick-stewart1Well, my dear blogging friend Scilla http://scillagrace.com/  told me, in a comment on the original post, about the global “Ring the Bell” campaign so I’ve done a bit of research and thought how great it would be to share this with you all.

The campaign was launched on the 8th March, International women’s day and it also coincided with the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Actor and activist Sir Patrick Stewart was one of the people who launched the campaign and he made a rousing speech at the event, which took place in New York at the UN Hotel, during which he slapped his hand on the podium 9 times saying “Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States ” The campaign is calling on One Million Men to make one million “concrete, actionable promises” aimed at ending violence against women”

He said “Violence against women is the single greatest human rights violation of our  generation. This is a call to action—not an act that will make  things better in six months or a year’s time. This is action that might save a  life today, or tonight, or tomorrow.”

Mr Stewart is involved because he witnessed his father physically abusing his mother when he was a small child and learnt to gauge the temperature of a situation –

“I became an expert on when to open the door and throw myself between my  father’s fist and my mother’s body,” Stewart said that his father “was  unable to control his emotions—and his hands.” and he was clear that his mother did nothing to provoke the violence and as he rightly pointed out even if she did violence is no way to solve conflict. This story could be repeated by millions others I am sure.

He went on to talk about his father being an eminent soldier and suffering from diagnosed shell-shock, for which he received no treatment. Though he was not excusing his father’s behaviour he was, I believe, highlighting the need for help for men to identify why they are violent so they can be stopped .  Recent research has shown that military men are far more likely to abuse than civilians, hardly surprising when war brutalises and dehumanises people.

You can watch and listen to the whole launch if you have a mind to, it’s very interesting with lots of different speakers.. The link is here

If you click on the photo below it will bring you through to the United Nations where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says

“Men must teach each other that real men do not violate or oppress women – and that a woman’s place is not just in the home or the field, but in schools and offices and boardrooms.” 

united nations campaign to end violence against women.

I was so very encouraged by these movements and I hope they grow and grow until the violence stops..

I was saddened though that I knew so little about this. Did you know?? Has the UN movement been widely advertised ? If it has I have missed it.

when men gatherSo to all my male friends and followers there is most definitely something you can do.

You can make a promise here to take action in whatever way you can to end violence against women.. 

Men need to confront other men and encourage change.

 Links

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2013/3/prweb10508301.htm

http://www.inquisitr.com/563999/sir-patrick-stewart-calls-on-one-million-men-to-end-violence-against-women/

http://breakthrough.tv/ringthebell/

http://breakthrough.tv/explore/campaign/bell-bajao/

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/07/opinion/mcpherson-men-domestic-violence

http://www.witness.org/

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Saturday Girl signing off now. Let us all, men and women, be the change we want to see in the world. ‘Til next week…

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here and I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already..