Ferguson Protesters Can Learn Much From Malala

saint-louis-flag-burning-2Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani school pupil, education activist, and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner. She hails from the town of Mingora in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Ms. Yousafzai is known for her human rights advocacy for education and for women in her native Swat Valley, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school; this has since grown into an international movement.

Compare Yousafzai’s activism against the Ferguson, Missouri protesters. According to news outlets, Mr. Vonderitt Myers Jr. was shot and killed by an off-duty St. Louis police officer Wednesday night. As such, Meyer’s death triggered another round of violent protests who blocked traffic, broke windows of at least one home and a business during another night of unrest.

Later, protesters gathered in a circle and burned two American flags. “It’s not our flag,” said Elizabeth Vega, an artist who said she had been protesting since Michael Brown’s death. “Our children are being killed in the street. This flag doesn’t cover black or brown people.

With all due respect to Michael Brown, Vega has a repugnant point of view. Yousafzai’s activism is filled with hope. Vega’s activism is filled with hate.

Those of us who live in America must discuss how to become part of a generation that contributes to breaking down barriers. Issues to start focusing upon include quality education, good paying employment, human trafficking, and quality healthcare.

Ms. Yousafzai quoted:

“I speak not for myself but for those without voice … those who have fought for their rights … their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.

If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.”

Ferguson protesters are no longer a force for good. Borrowing from George Bernard Shaw, Ferguson protesters have managed to become only a ‘feverish, selfish little clod of ailments constantly complaining that the world will not devote it self to making them happy.’ Sooner or later, you’re mentality has to become something more than a mere lynch mob.

We must rise above religious and cultural barriers and empower ourselves through education. Only then do we become a weapon, a true force of nature.



Categories: Life Lessons, Social Justice

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2 replies

  1. As I don’t know you or the privileges you may or may not enjoy, please accept this response only as a reflection of my status as a white American male. With my understanding of the privileges that come with that status, I would never presume to judge the Ferguson protesters in this way. I agree that their behavior does not serve me as a model for a constructive response to injustice, but I understand that any protest that brings my attention to injustice in my community is constructive. It is far more important for me to demand accountability, confession and repentance from those responsible for this injustice.

    • Gregory:

      Thank you for opining. I appreciate your viewpoint. Since I used to live in St. Louis for many years, I found myself internally debating and reflecting this issue. On the one hand, I agree with accountability, reflection and confession. On the other hand, I don’t believe in the wanton destruction of property, businesses and homes as a value which will bring a dialogue so desperately needed. What I see is that dialogue (the accountability, confession and repentance) gets discarded once destruction occurs. When that happens, doesn’t matter what one’s intent is, people only see the loss, the looting and harm.

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