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January 1, 2013

I agonized over my selection of an Everyday Hero for my first blog of 2013. I wanted the person to be truly exceptional, but that’s what all Everyday Heroes are – truly exceptional. I finally decided on Malala Yousufzai, a teenager in Pakistan who committed the horrendous crime of speaking out against the Pakistani Taliban’s policies toward women’s education.

My selection of Malala was based on many traits exhibited by most Everyday Heroes: Bravery, unselfishness, desire to benefit others, and standing up for right versus wrong. Malala exhibited these traits on an almost super-human basis. She spoke out for women’s rights, specifically for a woman’s right to get an education. For that unbelievably heinous act, a bearded cretin on loan to the 21st Century from the Stone Age stopped Malala’s school bus, boarded the bus, and opened fire on her, putting a bullet into her skull, and wounding one of her friends.



It isn’t just Malala’s actions in promotion of education for Pakistani girls that make her an Everyday Hero. It is the fact that she took that stand in the face of the ultimate risk. She knew the Taliban was angered by her pronouncements; she knew they had targeted her for retaliation.

Ehanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said the shooting was retribution for her “obscenity.”

Ehsan was quoted as saying that if Malala survived, she would be targeted again as a warning to other young people who speak out against the Taliban. Perhaps I should start writing a blog about Everyday Cowards. Ehsan would be my first subject.

Malala’s activism began when her home region of Pakistan was controlled by the Taliban before 2009. She began writing the “Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl” blog for an Urdu-language BBC website under a pseudonym. She described the regime’s practice of destroying girls’ schools and, when the Taliban relinquished local control, began to speak out publicly against the group’s policies and advocate for rights for young people and women.

Walking through a mall the other day, observing packs of teenagers sporting the latest in fashion and giggling about this or that, I thought about Malala and wondered how she was doing and what this Everyday Hero might do next to promote what our kids take for granted.

Joseph Badal is the author of five thrillers, including Shell Game, which was released in June 2012.  His next thriller, The Lone Wolf Agenda, will be released in the spring of 2013.

Joe worked for nearly four decades in the financial services industry, including high-level executive positions in publicly traded institutions. Prior to his finance career, he  served in the U.S. Army, with overseas tours of duty, including in Vietnam and Greece. He received numerous military decorations.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Karen Parker permalink
    January 5, 2013 6:51 am

    I truly enjoyed reading about Malala Yousufzai. Yes, she is definitely an Everyday Hero! We Americans take so many of our freedoms for granted. Reading about Malala sure did make me stop and think about the freedoms we enjoy here because we are privileged to live in this wonderful country.

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