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ON MALALA YOUSAFZAI

I hope to be writing more on Malala Yousafzai soon but being pressed for time I have to take whatever opportunity is afforded at the moment.

First, I have to wonder how many people worldwide realize the importance of this -- woman? -- I hate to say child. I know she has spoken at the U.N. and won the Nobel Prize. Her memoir, it seems, is being released now, so I guess she needs no help from me. However, she possesses something so rare in today's world that I can't help doubting that many people worldwide are aware of it. Then, again, maybe the average person is not so easily astonished as I am.

I recently wrote a review of Dilruba Z. Ara's A List Of Offences. In that review, on this site, I referred to this same quality and this is the singular mind, the mind that will look at all that's expected of its owner, the  person possessing that mind and say, "not me." Despite being opposed by millions of adherents to a belief system that might threaten death or other consequences equally severe one person says, "not me" and acts, rebels as it were, against that system. Is anyone as impressed by this as I am?

I think the reason, or one reason, this impresses me so much is that it is possibly the most needed quality in our world today and where does it come from? This is the Emperor's Clothes in action in modern life. I don't believe Hans Christian Anderson was writing a chilrens' fable with that story. It was for us and for the ages. Without mentioning names, we look at this politician or that athlete, see his nakedness and say, "what a lovely suit -- or dress."

At 11 Malala spoke out for educational rights for children. In Pennsylvania, big deal. In Pakistan, in Taliban territory,Very Big Deal! A 12 she blogged through the BBC on the same theme.

At 11 and 12 I might as well have been a deaf mute. Eloquent, dynamic speeches and arguments were bursting in my head but nothing came out of my mouth. It all pressed against the walls of my skull -- nothing came from my mouth. Silence. The only speeches I uttered were the inane jabberings I shared with my guttersnipe friends on the street corner.   

At 16 she spoke in front of the U.N. The day I turned 16 I applied for my learner's permit and 4 days later took the  test and got my first license to drive a car. Sixty-three years ago and that lists among my prime achievements.

The importance of these ruminations to me and, I would be proud to believe that I have started others pondering this same question, is this:  Where does a mind like this come from? Can it be created by parents or other adults in the child's life? I had beautiful parents but they didn't create a Daria Chaudhury (Diluba Ara's heroine) or a Caesar Chavez. Or a Malala Yousafzai.

A major question for our age: How does this happen?

----------------- Charlie