Forgiveness, Inspiration, and Malala

By: Sam H.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”

-Mahatma Gandhi

On July 12, 2013, my eyes were fixed on my computer screen. I was captivated. The monitor displayed a video of a Malala Yousafzai, a brazen sixteen year old whose wisdom rivals that of renowned philosophers. There were numerous aspects of her speech that made me admire Malala. Her eloquence and confidence as a speaker was incredible. She is an excellent orator and a formidable storyteller. Even though I was not in the same room as her, I could still feel the emotion that flowed from her poignant words. I was expecting to hear more about her harrowing journey as a survivor of a horrific attack. That did not happen. Instead of focusing entirely on herself, Malala explored a topic that has impacted humanity for centuries. Malala’s forgiveness has been moving.

I will be candid; I am not always quick to forgive someone that has wronged me. Even as a young child, I would hold grudges against my siblings for stealing one of my toys. I knew that pardoning the mistakes of others was important, but it was much easier said than done. Malala’s tribulations are much more severe than my own. She almost lost her life as a result of bringing a voice to the voiceless. I thought that enduring such a traumatic experience would make a person jaded and bitter. I was wrong.

Instead, the young revolutionary stood on the world’s stage and said, “I am here to speak for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists. I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there was a gun in my hand and he was standing in front of me, I would not shoot him” (Yousafzai) . She found the strength to find the humanity in a man who tried to kill her. That commitment to compassion is both baffling and inspiring.

Her story has taught me that I have the ability to ignite change. Malala’s unyielding dedication to global justice is a testament to the power of a girl. Furthermore, she has shown that entire world that a single person can change the world. People like Malala will create a world where equity is a reality rather than an eventual goal. Although I may never be faced with obstacles as large as Malala’s, she has taught me that I can overcome even the most challenging situations.


Yousafzai, Malala. “United Nations Speech”. United Nations Headquarters, New York City. 13 July 2013.

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