There is a trait in our society that tends to immortalize individuals rather than a cause. The man who stood up to the tank in Tiananmen Square was remembered more than the communist rule itself. Mother Teresa became the person known for philanthropy and service, rather than the missions that she founded. Here’s a different thought: greatness is not measured by individual success, it is measured by the impact that the person has on society and its behavior.
Over the past few weeks, there has been an attempt by many organizations and people to use the heroics of a young girl in Pakistan for their individual causes. Some would like to adorn her with peace prizes, and others would like to walk around claiming the title of “I am …” Although our intentions might be genuine, we should avoid making the sacrifices of a girl into a vicarious realization of our fleeting attention. Modern social network activism is very short term. People have short attention spans and whatever captures our interest for a passing moment, arrests us. The moment a more interesting story comes along, we drop our cause or the person and move on to the other. The more successful causes are those that move beyond the admiration of an individual and more towards spearheading a cause.
Education is the fundamental promise that every child, was given by the citizens of the world. Education is the fire that crafts people into pioneers, thinkers, visionaries and is the single most successful tool towards bringing people out of poverty. The investment needed for a sound education is not small, but it is also, not that difficult. Governments around the world have the necessary funds to create an infrastructure that can push education even into its most rural areas: whether or not these funds are allocated towards education or prioritized is the challenging question.
The tragedy that happened to the 15 year old girl in Pakistan was not as a result of culture or corruption or cruelty (even though a small element of it exists); It was due to lack of education. Without a good primary or secondary education, large swaths of gentry are easily swayed by the anti-social, extremist elements in every society. In developing nations, these elements are even more powerful. Organizations such as the Human Development Foundation exist to implement a nationwide call for action. Their Education Advocacy Campaign initiates reforms in society by informing people of their rights, and helping them achieve their rights. HDF launches reformative action at the grassroots level. A petition has even been started to implement universal primary & secondary education in Pakistan: http://www.Causes.com/PakistanEducation
Education is supposedly a compulsory right of every child aged 5 to 16: when this right is denied, we have to recognize this as a global human rights’ issue. If we have to get to the “root cause” of the problem, then we should target the growth of education. We should hold Governments accountable and influence them towards enforcing education and take strict action against those who deny their children the opportunity to be part of the global population. This is a precarious time and real change can only happen if we support this cause, rather than getting caught up in the sensationalism of violence. After all, isn’t that what the Malala fought for, the right for education for all?