Posts Tagged ‘ Women ’

The Brazen, Beautiful Humanity of Malala Yousafzai

By Karen Angela Ellis for Urban Faith

Malala 1

It is easy to imagine Malala Yousafzai gracing the cover of TIME magazine as its Person of the Year . Her soft brown eyes peek at us from pictures that have surfaced from the ripples of a sudden plunge into the spotlight. Her story is so dramatic, so much the essence of the human rights struggle that the it continues to fascinate and inspire worldwide. Her hair, side-parted and modestly covered, Miss Yousafzai demonstrates a hunger for peace well beyond her 14 years. In 2011, she was awarded the National Peace Award by the Government of Pakistan for her courage in seeking restoration of peace and education services. In a short span of time, this tiny girl has become a towering figure in her pursuit of justice for herself and 50,000 other schoolgirls who lost the right to education in their Pakistani communities.

Millions more are now familiar with Miss Yousafzai, who was forced off of her school bus, shot in the head, and critically wounded along with two other young schoolgirls at the hands of the Taliban. She continues to heal in the safety of a UK hospital, the government and the world watching over her as if she were the little sister of us all.

Since 2009, when Miss Yousafzai was a mere tween in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, the hope for education has burned in her heart. While other girls in freer societies tweeted their obsessions with fashion and musical heart throbs, Miss Yousafzai dodged daily threats to become internationally known for her blog that promoted the restoration of the education stolen from her and her classmates.

Her opponents brazenly confessed planning her demise for at least a year. This time they were mercifully denied satisfaction, though they threaten further attempts will be made until her voice is silenced. With ironic justice, the public magnification of her courage has likewise magnified her opponent’s cowardice, exposing grown men who will go to such lengths to snuff out any beacon of light that pierces the darkness of their own souls.

Nothing New Under the Sun
As a Christian woman, when I think of the social conditions that were in place when Christ walked the earth, I am forced to see how little a young girl’s plight has changed in many areas of the world. Centuries may have passed, but the fundamental flaws in our human character remain the same, and they are often unavoidably woven into the fabric of our societies, both free and restricted.

Knowing this, Christ’s counter-cultural treatment of women stands out in relief. In the first-century Roman Empire, a woman held very little sway on matters political or civil; their social plight two thousand years ago foreshadows the Taliban’s restrictions on a woman’s movements today, be they physical, psychological, political or intellectual.

Converse to these gaping holes in our societal fabric, the Bible’s high esteem for women and girls is recorded throughout its narrative. Indeed, many accounts in the Gospels tell us that Christ’s constant consideration of women was radical indeed for its day — His high view of women is perhaps best displayed and recorded in Luke 24 in the first witness of His resurrection and victory over hell, death and the grave; His greatest triumph was first revealed to a group of women (Luke 24:1-12).

These women gathered at his empty tomb were entrusted with the first knowledge of the risen Savior; an affirmation of God’s high estimation of the word, witness and worth of a woman (Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-10). There is one sole Entity who could first assess, and then restore a woman’s social worth properly as beings who bear the very image of God ; that is the Creator of that image, God, Himself (Genesis 1:26-31). These women were divinely commissioned to tell His disciples that Christ had risen, and the news of Hope for all humanity began to spread. “Go, tell the others what you have seen….” What a humbling honor, indeed, to be charged with bearing what has become a life-altering message for so many — including myself.

Salute
Today, Miss Yousafzai’s story is known worldwide; it was a proverbial “shot heard ’round the world.” It’s doubtful that life for this young woman will ever be the same, yet she and her family have accomplished more as ordinary citizens than many politicians have been able to do collectively. From her tormentor’s perspective, she must seem as one of the foolish things of the world that has confounded the self-proclaimed “wise.” In her courage, she has shown wisdom that they cannot comprehend. A mere and simple girl, who should have been easily silenced, now heals from her wounds with the protection of the world. She stands defiant in her innocence, large in the power of her perceived weakness.

I salute the courage of Miss Yousafzai and her classmates; they have stirred a passion in the world, and made us consider and confront our own humanity. May they be victorious in their quest not only for education and a just society, but also in their larger quest for recognition and in understanding the fullness of their humanity. May they also receive the full dignity and significance that is their right by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and may they come to know the One in whose majestic image they are made.

Advertisements

Pakistan Women’s Cricket Team Relishes Spotlight in Guangzhou

As Reported by The China Daily

The Guangzhou Asian Games have made Sana Mir, Captain of the Pakistan Women’s Cricket Team, feel like a big-screen star.

Pakistan, the tournament’s No 1 seed, easily won its game against newcomer China by nine wickets on Monday, but that sparkling effort was not what truly impressed Mir.

“We never get this kind of media coverage back at home. I am just so glad the sport made it to the Asian Games,” said the 26-year-old. “There is always TV coverage when the Men’s Cricket Team plays in Pakistan because it is huge, but you never see us playing on big screens or TVs,” she said.

Although Pakistan has 500 to 600 professional women players under the age of 19, and about 1,000 to 1,200 playing at the senior level, they are overshadowed by the men’s game, said Ayesha Ashhar, Manager of the Women’s Team.

“Our earnings can’t compare with what the men make. It’s the love of the sport that keeps us going,” said Mir. “We would like to be treated and rewarded just like the Men’s Team.”

Unlike some of the women players whose families are against them playing due to strict traditions, Mir’s family is happy for her to play the game. “I have to thank my parents and brother for their support, otherwise I couldn’t have made it this far.”

Meanwhile, Ashhar said women’s cricket in Pakistan has improved rapidly over the past two to three years, thanks to an effective domestic structure which helps players to train and progress at a young age.

“The team’s performance at the international level wouldn’t be as good as it is now without that.”

She also said China definitely gave the No 1 seed a surprise in Monday’s match – the first between the two countries.

“For a young team that only has three years’ of history, what China did on the field was excellent – especially the bowling,” the manager said.

Currently all of the Chinese players are converts from other sports, including Rugby, Softball, Volleyball and Athletics.

“Cricket needs many years to become established in a country. For China, the challenge is to attract enough talented players and coaches. But I believe when China chooses to develop a sport, it succeeds,” Ashhar said.

“All we need now is time,” said Liu Rongyao, Manager of China Women’s Team. “In ten years’ time, China will be among the top three women’s teams in Asia.”

%d bloggers like this: