Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Critical (Poem)


     for Malala Yousafzai

A school girl can be feared
and still take a bullet

in the head. She has
a dream grown men want

to kill, their arms raised,
their aim point-blank

denial of a classroom she led.

She reads and writes
Swat's future not in a name

meaning "grief-stricken", not
Malala but Gul Makai, penned

like so many words in her diary
to open what closed doors defy.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

An eloquent teen-aged activist on behalf of girls' education and childrens' rights who was awarded Pakistan's National Peace Prize and dreamed of becoming a doctor, Malala Yousafzai was shot earlier this week by a member of the Pakistani Taliban for "promoting Western culture". She remains in critical condition. Two other students were wounded also. I pray for the recovery of all three.

Malala's story of defiance is extraordinary and moving (see the excellent compilation of coverage here, particularly the documentary by Adam Ellick and his  follow-up), her shooting an outrageous reminder that, in Malala's own words, "barbarians. . . could do anything". May we all join in speaking out, as Malala herself has done again and again, on behalf of girls and women everywhere in the world and raise our voices against violence and religious extremism and intolerance, wherever it is found.

International Children's Peace Prize (Malala was nominated for this honor in 2011.


jen revved said...

Evocative, heart-breaking-- so difficult to write, to speak what this is, what it does, how it feels... xxxj Very beautiful, Maureen. xxj

S. Etole said...

What a testimony to courage that little girl is.