Dear Malala,

Dear Malala Yousafzai ,

Girls are dying to go to school.

Their thoughts are lines of unwritten poetry. They are reading their books in exile, cloaked in a heavy dark shroud, the words on their pages dimly lit by a radiant hope. They are hardened under the brooding gaze of a gun’s eyes. You know this. You are after all, the girl who lived, the girl who risked her life for her education. Your mind is bulletproof.dscf2127-2

    Girls are dying to go to school.

I should introduce myself. I am beauty, your pupil. You know me quite well. I permeate through all you have achieved.  Pashtun Queen Malala, the “Grief Stricken,” named after  Malalai of Maiwand, a fitting name, warrior girl. Humbled rebel with honorable causes, you taught me that wings with clipped feathers can fly again. Proud Muslim girl, you taught me that intelligence  is a weapon anyone can wield and it is stronger, louder, quicker than the resonance of any gun shot, and more profound than any wound. That women and children can leave more than footsteps in the dirt. Women and children can set opressive institutions ablaze. They can start a revolution from a classroom. They can make change, and I am honored to live in all of it.

Women and children can leave more than footsteps in the dirt.

I am in your journey. When you were a little girl in Pakistan, Taliban groups banned education for women. You wrote on a blog about your experiences  and your belief in education for women under a pseudonym during the turbulent  occupation of Pakistan by the Taliban. So moved by your life, the New York Times recognized you. The world knew who you were. Then, the three gunshots wrung out. Pakistan’s streets were shaken. You were shot in the forehead and survived. You galvanized a shift in the world’s priorities. “In the grace of God,” you healed and brought your fight to the international stage, Pashtun Joan of Arc of education, and stood before many esteemed individuals to accept a Nobel Peace prize as the first Pashtun, Pakistani, and youngest laureate.


At only eleven years old, your veiled voice rose so that those without a voice could be heard.

I am in the mind. I am in women and children. I am in every opportunity afforded to them. I am a book, a pen, and poem.  I am the difference. I am shocking. I am in the shooting. I am in the slant in your smile, and the dip of your eye. I am in your prayers. I am in your language. I am in your educated mind. You have honorable and humbling values and purposes that govern your activities and sacrifices. You were given all the chains and all the pain in which to confine your fate and still, you set yourself free from the limitations set forth by another. I am the student sitting steady and meditative at the desk of your world’s classroom. I have more to learn from you.


Yours Truly,



  1. Leylany Genao



  2. Nick D'Amato

    Awesome article to kick of the new year!! Love reading anything you put out


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