Memo to the Presidents of Pakistan and the U.S., the leaders of the Taliban, their generals and their ministers: Malalay is an 11-year old girl living in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. She speaks with an understanding of truth and justice that I fear you will never have. Please take a few minutes and sit down, shut up and take her words to heart:
“Every child of my age in the area is terrified. We are not allowed to go to schools, when they asked us not to go to schools, we stopped going there,” she added. “Yet, they torched our schools. We couldn’t go out to play.”
“I want to become a doctor. I want to tell all the extremist elements that if they deny female education, where would they send their own daughters for medical treatment,” Malalay said.
Malalay is also fearful for her teachers who are threatened everyday by these militant elements.
“My teachers have dedicated themselves for the mission of imparting education and yet, these forces have threatened to kill them and forced them to stay at home,” she added
“My school has 62 teachers and around 700 children are studying in the school and it’s been weeks that no educational activity has taken place in our schools. I won a quiz competition on my last day at school and I was so happy that I beat all the other students of my age, but now I dread that I would never be able to go to school, participate in quizzes and win prizes for my abilities,” Malalay said, with tears in her eyes.
Malalay is a very intelligent girl and has a very good understanding of what is happening in her community. Her love for her homeland and her anguish on the current situation is very obvious from this poem, which she wrote herself to address elders and the people in power.
Education is my basic right
My books have been burnt
My pen has been broken
My school has been torched
O’ the protector of human rights and justice,
Come out! Stand by us!
Give my books back!
Give my pen back!
I am the daughter of the Eve!
I’m a mother, I’ m a sister, I’ m a daughter…
I am an honorable part of this global village…
Is there anyone to hear my voice, to hear Swat??
Help us and protect us!