“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen, can change the world.”

–MalalaYousafzai -From a speech given to the UN Youth Assembly,

just nine months after her attempted assassination.

Everyone knows about Malala, but majority in Pakistan do not want to be affiliated with her. That sense of smoldering animosity towards her, seems to be animated in part by the tensions of a rural community still traumatized by conflict. Conspiracy- minded citizens, loudly brand her a CIA agent, part of a nebulous Western ploy to humiliate Pakistan and pressurize the government. Others have criticized Malala’s father of using her to drum up publicity, while defaming Pashtun culture. The citizens of Pakistan have made it clear that she is no role model for them. However, if we look beyond the resentment, we might just see that Malala did fight for education in Pakistan, even before people knew who she was- getting shot in the head in the process.

We in the present have become apathetic. Even if one does not see Malala on the same pedestal as everbody else in the world, one should still not deny her resilience, bravery and courage to try to be the face of education in Pakistan, even with blatant opposition.

Malala is not deterred by the criticism, attributing it to the well-founded cynicism, many Pakistanis harbor towards political leaders. She still tells audiences that one day, she aspires to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan- wanting to work for a country that has currently turned their back on her.