The Taliban may have tried to silence the voice of this 16 year old, but Twitter spoke louder than ever. At the age of 12, Malala began her intrepid battle against the Pakistani Taliban, a group of powerful political extremists, to get back the much deserved right of education and schooling for girls in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. However, the conflict between this unarmed visionary and “self righteous” religious fanatics only reached its peak on the 12th of October 2012, when Malala had her first brush with death. The young activist survived against all odds, and the sound of her gunshot echoed across the globe. Huffington Post has highlighted the wide-reach of her her influence from Nigeria where she met with President Goodluck Johnson and raised awareness for the “Bring Back our Girls Alive” campaign to Syria where she helped hundreds of refugees cross the border to the safety and sanctuary of Jordon. Malalas’ global voice conveying the urgency of creating a nourishing environment for all children to learn, thrive and prosper couldn’t have reached the wide international audience that it did without Twitter.
On the 14th of July, a day now known as the “Malala Day”, tweets with “#StrongerThan” flooded in from celebrities and well-renowned institutions around the world. In support of the bravery and determination exhibited by such a young female in the male favoring society of Pakistan, people tweeted their inner-most fears that Malala’s courage had given them motivation to now surmount. Film-star, Sophia Bush, for example tweeted “I am #StrongerThan Doubt. What are you #StrongerThan? #MalalaDay #inspired.” This engendered a communal sentiment that people are we can overcome our insecurities and fears. In centering and organizing her efforts to combat gender inequality in education, the Malala Fund was created. The Twitter page @MalalaFund tracks all of her latest activities and endeavors such as when she attended the Forbes Under 30 event. Furthermore, the page also acknowledges any awards that Malala receives including the Liberty Bell and further mentions the diverse educational campaigns that Malala herself spearheads and supports. In this way, Twitter acts as a convenient global platform for anyone passionate about girls’ education to get frequent updates about the current steps being taken, how they can contribute in their own societies, and what needs to be done collectively to advance the vision forward.
In response to the immense global recognition that she has received with letters and gifts of appreciation from every corner of the world, the humble Malala has tried to detract attention off herself and rather put a spotlight on her cause. Upward Media has captured her modesty and selflessness in the quote “I speak not for myself but for those without voice, those who have fought for their rights, their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated” has touched the hearts of many. On International Womens’ Day, Malala stood stronger than ever before and encouraged teenage girls to stop wasting their time worrying about how many likes or followers they get on Facebook and Instagram.Instead, she shed light on how the youth can take advantage of social media to give their marginalized peers a platform to articulate their suppressed emotions and most importantly to fight for their RIGHTS. The Malala Yousazfai campaign for equal education has one question ringing in our ears: Is the future of effective activism intricately tied to social media platforms?
Featured image courtesy of Flickr user camodia4kidsorg