Courage

[A timely repeat from February 7, 2013] In Michener’s classic Iberia, he facetiously observes of Spaniards “Anyone who eats chocolate and churros for breakfast need not prove their courage in any other way.”  I love Michener’s writing, but courage is not a joke.  To me, courage is shown by many special people.  These days, it is defined in one word — Malala. 

Malala Yousafzai was born in 1997 in the Swat Valley in Northern Pakistan.  She is 16 years old.  Malala and her family have lived under the Taliban boot for much of her short life.  As a girl, she was forbidden to attend school.  The Taliban is known for crushing any attempt for girls to learn.  They burn schools and kill teachers suspected of teaching girls.  In 2009, Malala – at the tender age of 11 or 12 began speaking out about the need for girls to learn.  And to attend school.  She published a blog under a pseudonym through the BBC detailing life under the Taliban. And she spoke out against them.  She then began writing under her own name — and giving interviews on television.  All directed toward the need for girls to go to school.  

On October 9, 2012, the school bus in which she was riding was stopped and boarded by Taliban assassins.  They approached Malala and shot her in the head and neck.  Malala clung to life and was sent to the UK for surgeries.  On October 12th, 50 Pakistani clerics – to their credit – issued a fatwa (religious ruling) condemning the attack.  Malala is now up and around.  And she is speaking out.  Against the cowards who are the Taliban.  She is now under consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize [awarded 2014].   She deserves it.  And the Taliban?  They deserve what they gave Malala.  Let’s deputize Mitch Rapp and Jack Reacher. . . . .  

A Hero

In my post of February 7, 2013, I spoke of the courage of 17 year old Malala Yousafzai — the young woman from the Swat Valley of Northern Pakistan who stood up to the evil of Taliban oppression, was shot (and nearly died) and now continues to speak out all over the world — on behalf of women and young girls. Malala is a Hero (with a capital “H”).

At Church on Sunday, I heard another Hero speak. Her name is Bridget Brown. Bridget wears many hats.  She is a student, she mentors and teaches students with disabilities, she works as a dental assistant, she is a prolific public speaker and she does television commercials. Oh – and did I mention — Bridget has Down’s Syndrome?  Bridget’s presentation was captivating.  To say the least.  She is articulate.  Funny.  And compelling.  And she is an inspiration.  In her presentations, she urges her audience to see the abilities in those around us — not the disabilities.  And she asks listeners to be inclusive of those with disabilities – since we all share the same emotions, feelings and desire to be accepted, cared for and loved.  And perhaps because it was Sunday, at Church, Bridget talked of how Jesus seemed to spend  a fair amount of time with disabled people.  Helping them.  Healing them.  There is a lesson here. . . . . . 

Bridget’s website is http://www.butterfliesforchange.org