City buses have been the scene of transformational moments in human history.
In 1955 Montgomery Alabama, a young black woman was told to sit at the back of the bus, the section reserved for 2nd class citizens. But this day was different, this day she refused to go to the back “black section” and stayed in her seat up front…..For this impertinence she was jailed. But as a result of her courage, millions of others refused to sit at the back of the bus and Rosa Parks is synonymous with the American civil rights movement.
On another bus, 3 months ago and continents away, another brave young woman was punished for her refusal to sit at the “educational” back of the bus. A gunman boarded her school bus, singled her out for execution by cowardly shooting her in the head and then again in the chest.
15 year old Malala Yousafzai was targeted because she was an activist for women’s rights and equal education. This is a slap in the face to Muslim extremists who view women as 2nd class citizens, not worthy of an education or other rights accorded to men.
Gravely wounded, she was airlifted to England for medical treatment and sanctuary. After 3 months she was just released from the hospital where she has made miraculous progress. According to Doctors she will require future surgery to repair her damaged skull, but they expect her to regain at least 85% of her cognitive ability and perhaps return to activism.
She won worldwide recognition, and has become a symbol for the struggle for women’s rights in Pakistan as well as other countries where women are relegated to 2nd class status due to religious and cultural beliefs.
Indicating her growing popularity and inspiration, she was one of the few nominated for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2012. Additionally, tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for Malala to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Just like the courageous Rosa Parks lifted America out of its blindness and brought it into the light. The courageous Malala Yousafzai can be the light bearer for her culture and lead it out of the darkness of repression. For her courage and inspiration she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.