Our Advent season is well under way and the message is always:“Have courage, do not be afraid. Rejoice! Those who walk in darkness have seen a great light. Immanuel, God is with us. He is your strength. Console my people, console them”.
On December 10, 2014, the world experienced Pakistan’s Braveheart, Malala, the young campaigner for girl’s education, the youngest laureate, receive the Nobel Prize in Oslo together with Kailash Satyarthi, a campaigner against child slavery from India, both championing the cause of children in their respective countries as well as globally. This can be seen as a symbolic gesture between two countries calling them to turn their swords into ploughshares and make the future of the children in Pakistan and India their common cause.
Malala needs no introduction and it is hard to find such courage in a 17 year old coupled with a clarity of thought and an eloquence that can make cynics catch their breath and the world sit up and take notice. Malala will give the nation Pakistan, which is starved of good news and buffeted by crisis on many fronts, a cause to celebrate but not all will!!!!
Malala is a global icon representing millions of children out of school in the world whether for reasons of militancy, state neglect, cultural practices, poverty or war, her story is inspirational on so many levels. Malala is not a lone voice and has thus invited five inspiring girl champions as special guests, to join her at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. These are Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, her school friends from Swat who got shot along with her in the attack in 2012; Kainat Soomro from the province Sindh where we work, who at the age of 13 was gang raped by four men in 2007 and fought for justice against all odds; Mezon Almellahan from Syria and Amina Yusuf from Nigeria. Malala says: “Though I will be one girl receiving this award, I know that I am not a lone voice. This Nobel Prize is for all girls everywhere who want education. These courageous girls are not just friends, they are now my sisters in our campaign for education for every child”.
Kailash says: “…that even if a single child was denied education, we cannot say we are enlightened”.
Malala says: “…the award is for all those children who are voiceless, whose voices will never be heard. I speak for them and I stand up for them”.
Jesus said: “Let the little children come unto Me, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”.
Jesus came among us to show us the Way, let us prepare ourselves for His coming this Christmas into a world of much darkness by scattering His Light, as we take up His torch and try to make His Kingdom of peace and justice a reality for all of human kind.
By Sister Rebecca Conlon, from Milltown Malbay, Co Clare, Ireland. Rebecca has been on mission in Pakistan since 1989