Since I started this blog in August, I have been out of touch with local news and world happenings. There are only 24 hours in the day, and unless I can find a way to give up sleep, my waking hours are filled with family time, work, exercise, household jobs, and now blogging. I’m sure most bloggers can relate. I can’t remember when I watched the news or looked up the CNN website, but an article in People magazine, of all places, caught my eye this past week. Before you start thinking I’m a bad PF role model because I subscribe to People magazine, it was my office copy for the reception area. The short article was about 14 year old Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who was targeted and shot in the head by the Taliban for “promoting secularism.”
In reality, all this girl did was love ice cream, speak near perfect English, and blog anonymously about her experiences trying to get an education and live life under Taliban rule when they took over her area of Pakistan in 2009. You can read her story at the BBC blog, Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl. Her identitity was revealed in 2011, after the Taliban was driven out of her village. She received numerous awards for her bravery, but the Taliban continued to threaten her family. Earlier this month, the Taliban stopped a truck she was riding in with classmates on the way home from school, shooting Malala in the head and neck and wounding another classmate. She is currently in a UK hospital and is expected to make a “good recovery.” No one knows what sort of life she can expect, especially with the Taliban stating that they will “finish the job” if she speaks out again.
When your read a story such as this, it hopefully makes you thankful for the things you have. I’ve spent the last couple of months trying to help educate people about making smart financial decisions. I complain about taxes, government waste, having debt, and how much things cost, but I am truly one lucky person. By being born in the United States, I probably will never have to worry my daughter getting gunned down for things like wanting an education, having the ability to earn money, and choose her path in life. No matter who wins the upcoming election or if my taxes or health care costs rise, I will probably still have enough to eat, a place to live, and the ability to write or say what I please without retaliation.
Stories like this make me almost feel guilty about having the freedoms and luxuries that I have. Am I making the most of what I have been given? Would I continue to express my beliefs and opinions if I lived in fear of being shot in the head on my way home from work? Ultimately, I can’t change who I am or apologize for having an easier life because of where I was born. The best I can do is carry on with what I know, be humble, be greatful for every day, and be as mindful as possible of others who are true heros like Malala Yousafzai.
Do you sometimes take your freedoms for granted? Could you speak out for your beliefs if you were physically threatened?