This One’s for The Girls
By Sheryl McAlister
The story was only the 4th or 5th on the news some time back. It remained there until a few days ago. When all hell broke loose. And as the 20th anniversary of 9-11 looms large, evil has once again been unleashed on a nation of undeserving people. The blame game has started, and the folks in harm’s way are running out of time.
Journalist Richard Engel, of NBC, has reported on the war in Afghanistan since the beginning. Literally, an expert in what was happening on the ground as US troops prepared to move out of the country. He predicted a swift and violent assault by the Taliban. He predicted women and young girls would be the most immediate targets. Yet the story remained near the middle of the news cycle – seemingly not yet important enough.
And now the whole world watches and waits as the chaos continues. Engel courageously continues to report from the streets of Kabul where thriving women-owned businesses once stood. Where allies went into hiding, caught in the purgatory between a life of freedom elsewhere or the hell on earth that will soon be their every-day existence.
The leadership this nation desperately needs is the 24-year-old woman who survived her Taliban-infested childhood to emerge as a world leader and the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. When Malala Yousafzai was 15-years-old, she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban when she defiantly spoke up about her right to an education.
Malala is the leader we need, and she has a message for us all.
“It’s not too late to help,” she said in an August 17, 2021, New York Times Opinion essay. “We need immediate humanitarian aid so that families are not dying from starvation or lack of clean water.” She further explained how official agreements need to accompany policy to ensure girls can complete their education.
Another Afghan woman, quoted recently on American television, said the Taliban isn’t afraid of American fighter pilots and bombs. “They’re afraid of women,” she said. I don’t recall who wrote it, but I read once: “People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer.”
Malala’s concern at the moment is not the analysis of what went wrong so fast. She said there would be time to sort that out later. Now, she said, “we must listen to the voices of Afghan women and girls. “They are asking for protection, for education, for the freedom and the future they were promised. We cannot fail them.”
Copyright 2021. Sheryl McAlister.
Photo credit: Malala Yousafzai via Twitter
Learn more about Malala: www.malala.org
I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
He Named Me Malala: Documentary
Malala: I Fear for My Afghan Sisters