When it comes to social justice and general badassery, it seems that the apple does not fall far from the tree. At least, this is the case for Malala Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin, who have become international forces in advocating for young women's education, an issue that remains fiercely contested in certain areas of the world. Perhaps no instance of violence better exemplifies the everyday struggle of young women than the kidnapping of some 300 Nigerian school girls by terrorist organization Boko Haram. And now, 300 days after their capture, Malala's father has written an open letter to the young women's parents in a powerful and inspiring sign of solidarity and call to action.
The letter, released on Saturday, is a stark reminder of the continuing struggle that he and his daughter have embarked upon in the public eye for the last two years, since the Taliban's failed attack on Malala's life. And while Malala was lucky enough to survive and, indeed, thrive as a result of the violence, some of Boko Haram's victims, who shared Malala's dedication to and passion for knowledge, have not been so lucky. But Ziauddin's letter serves as a symbolic representation of the power of perseverance and the distinct need to maintain a dedication to education, despite the intense heartbreak of these parents.
Here are just a few of the most powerful quotes from his letter.
"My heart is heavy as I write to you on the eve of the 300th day since your beloved daughters have been taken from you. You are in my prayers every day. You have known a pain no parent should ever know."
"The world may turn their attention away, but my daughter Malala and I will not forget you nor your children. Like Malala, your children were targeted simply for being girls who love to learn ... It is up to all of Nigeria and the global community to raise their voices louder and demand your girls be brought home safely."
"Education is a pathway to opportunity but every day women and girls face unspeakable challenges in their journeys to a better life. ... A school is a sacred place, an institution of growth and learning where no child should ever fear violence or retribution. It is my wish to see your daughters return home and to their classrooms in order to continue with their education, in a safe and protected environment."
On An Unacceptable Reality
"When Malala was attacked by extremists for her commitment to education, I struggled to understand such a devastating act of violence. Sadly, these threats are an everyday reality for millions of girls and boys around the world, with the recent attack on a school in my nation of Pakistan being yet another tragic reminder of the risks faced by students and teachers."
On A Shared Responsibility
"Together we are stronger than the fear and ignorance attempting to tear us and our families apart. We cannot accept silent inaction. We cannot rest until we have justice for your daughters and for all girls and boys kept out of school."
Stand in solidarity with the Yousafzai family and the rest of Nigeria in saying #bringbackourgirls. Together, we may, as Mr. Yousafzai writes, "...call on President Goodluck Jonathan to take resolute action and increase the Nigerian government’s efforts to bring your daughters home safe and alive. It is his duty and responsibility to ensure the welfare of all Nigerian citizens."
You can read the entirety of the letter, as originally released by ABC News, here.
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