Malala And Amanda’s Tragic Tales Making A Major Impact On Society And The World

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By Balwant Sanghera

Two recent events involving two young girls on opposite sides of the globe are having a major impact throughout the world. Fourteen year old Malala Yousafzai, residing in the volatile region of the Swat Valley in western Pakistan, challenged the Talibans. A grade 8 student in the school for girls run by her father, Malala distinguished herself as a strong advocate for the right of girls to get education. It went against the Taliban philosophy of adamantly opposing the girls getting an education. Malala fearlessly fought for her right and the right of her peers to be educated. She did this despite the ever present danger to her life. Luckily, she survived the deadly attack on her by the Talibans.  She is now recovering in a hospital in Birmingham, England.

With her bold stand Malala has shown to the rest of the world that it takes only one determined person to stand up to the bullies. Her courage has awakened not only the people of Pakistan but also the entire world community. Even in Pakistan, a stronghold of the Talibans, not only the general population but also the government and the military are outraged at this tragic development. Malala has shown the way. It is hard to imagine as to how the bravery of a 14 year old girl can mobilize nations. Something similar has happened here in our own backyard in Metro Vancouver.

The tragic death of fifteen year old Amanda Todd, a victim of bullying has done the same thing in rallying a nation to do something about this evil. Amanda wanted to be strong. As a matter of fact, according media reports, she wanted to have a tattoo: Stay Strong. That would remind her of not giving in under any circumstances. Unfortunately, she succumbed to the relentless, cruel and pathetic actions of some despicable individuals. Since this tragedy, the media has done a commendable job in creating awareness about the curse of bullying. There has been almost non-stop coverage of Amanda’s tragedy and calls to do something to stop bullying at all levels including the social media and cyber bullying. This matter has even reached the floor of the Canadian parliament. Let’s hope that some concrete solutions will emerge so that any more Amanda’s aren’t forced to take their own lives.

Both Malala and Amanda will go down in history as two teenagers who have highlighted the issues affecting them in a very unique manner in different parts of the world. They have set in motion a movement which is bound to address the issues that affected them.  May Amanda’s soul rest in peace. At the same time our prayers are with Malala for her fast recovery.

Balwant Sanghera is a Richmond-based writer and activist.