For a long time, I have thought–and seen the evidence for–the importance of education worldwide. As Paulo Freire put it in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, “all education is subversive.” There is something about power structures–especially corrupt power structures–that insists on limiting or denying educational opportunities altogether. We see this under tyrannical dictatorships and in peaceful democracies. Those who have the most power usually dictate the flow of knowledge. So it really is no wonder that when a teenage girl in Pakistan spoke out about education, the Taliban targeted her.
In case you have not heard of her yet (probably from living underground without internet access), Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani teenager–now 16–who started speaking out about education when she was only 11. An educational activist, she says that she realized the importance of education once it was taken away from her. At 14 years of age, the Taliban attempted to assassinate her on the school bus when she was heading home, shooting her in the head and the neck. Miraculously, she survived the attack and was flown to England for a recovery. Below is a short interview with Jon Stewart that is worth watching.
I need to get my hands on her book.