Sunrise In The Middle East

I wrote this story about girl’s rights in the Middle East. Hope you enjoy, but any constructive criticism is welcome! I have entered this short story into the Wicked Young Writer’s Awards so wish me luck!

Sunrise In The Middle East

“Greetings People. It’s me, Sunrise, and I’m back with the latest progress on the Girl’s Rights In The Middle East front. As you know…..”

I pause to blow away some of the dust that’s trapped in the gaps between the letters on my keyboard. I smile as the tiny particles are momentarily suspended in a ray of sunlight that’s disturbing my writing session, in a good way. I cup my hands around it and watch them glow with golden light. It reminds me of myself.

“On the morning of your birth, the sun seemed larger than ever before.” my Mother’s sweet, quiet voice echoes in my ears. “ I saw it coming up on the horizon, huge and round and blood-red. It spread its life-giving light all over the earth and eventually it reached you. It seeped in through my window and into the shadowy room. Then it touched your head and you awoke. So I named you Sunrise and hoped you’d be full of life, laughter and most of all, light.”

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I sigh as I pull off a floral-printed headscarf and a cascade of knotty, tangled brown hair tumbles down my back. My amber streaked, hazel eyes that are usually full of humour and curiosity sparkle as my big flashing smile makes an appearance on my smooth olive-skinned face.

I sit back down to read my emails and idly click the first one that pops up.

Dear Sunrise

My name is Aaminah and I am 11 years old. I wanted to tell you how much you inspire me and how, because of you, I go to school and learn how to write beautifully, like you do. Thank you.

You are the Middle East’s best female activist, that is what we say at my school. All the girls are pleased that you spoke up for their education so I write to you on their behalf too.

You are very brave and you have said what our people have all been too scared to say.

Thank you again and may you be blessed.

Every time a child sends me an email like this is warms my heart so much that I click Reply immediately and begin to type.

Dearest Aaminah

I am so glad that you are able to go to school now, I am certain that one day you will be an amazing writer. It was not just me who helped you, there are many girls like myself campaigning for education. When you are a little older perhaps you will be one of them. Perhaps we will even meet one day. I would like that. Say hi to your classmates for me!

Keep safe and may you also be blessed.

Sunrise

I hover over the send button and press it down. I imagine her delight as she reads my message of hope and shows it to her friends. It makes this risky and sometimes dangerous role that I have taken on all worth it. With a contented smile on my playing at my lips, I prepare to read the next piece of mail.

Sunrise Abdullah

This is a warning. Stop your campaigning or you will suffer the consequences. What you are doing is forbidden. We will stop you because you are a disgrace to us all. How could you abandon our ancient ways for the ways of the West? Empowering women is wrong.

I sit back, my face shocked and expressionless, and stare at the screen. I take a deep breath and scroll down to see the sender. Nothing. Email address? Security protected. “Arrghhhh!” my mood changes to angry and confused.

How can people say that? How can they not see that all people should be equal? Education is a chance that all people should have. A chance to escape poverty and oppression. When you’re educated it makes it easier to change the world. And believe me, there are a lot of things that need changing. In my frenzy of mad and blind rage, I hit Reply once again.

To Whom It May Concern

You are wrong.  A rule might be ancient, but that doesn’t make it right. If you truly believe that empowering women is wrong then tell me why. Now. I demand an answer. Because I am, like you, passionate. I won’t give up without a fight. I don’t care for your threats and promises, I am a peace-maker and I make peace through education.

Sunrise Abdullah

Writer and Girl’s Rights Activist

 

 

Malala Yousafzai: A Real Light In The Darkness

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A long time ago, in a country called Afghanistan, there was a battle. The battle was between Afghanistan and England.  Afghanistan was losing.  Amongst the masses of slain soldiers, sat an Afghan girl. She looked up and saw her people running away. Slowly she rose to her feet, she climbed to the top of the highest mountain. Here she spoke up, the words poured out of her mouth, loud and clear and brave. ” It is better to live for one day as a lion, than to live for a hundred years as a coward”.  The people were encouraged and they turned to face the English. The girl stood at the head, holding the flag.  Her words had made the men of Afghanistan strong and they won a great victory that day, but as the English went to ride away, a man looked back over his shoulder. He pulled out his pistol and aimed. The girl fell, dead. Her name?  Malala.

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Over a hundred years later, in a small village in the Swat valley (Pakistan), a baby girl was born. Her father was a teacher and a wise and good man. When his daughter was born he knew he had found his soul mate. She would grow up to be an incredible girl, ordinary yet extraordinary. Her father knew it, he named her Malala.

Malala is seventeen now and has become one of the world’s greatest and most amazing young women. She has campaigned for girl’s education all over the world.  She has met with world leaders, written a book and produced and starred in her very own film ( Which I have just seen and it actually inspired me to write this blog) and won the nobel peace prize. All of this was to work towards her goal: every child shall get an education.

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Malala was just an ordinary girl, but her love for education and her determination has made her extraordinary. But how has she got here? What and who has made her who she is? What has been her journey?

The Taliban said that she and no other girl should go to school. Then they said that it was against Islam and that no girl will go to school and if you do then they will kill you. Even at eleven years old, Malala believed this was wrong. She argues that girls and boys are equal. “In the Qur’an,” Malala says ” the first word means ‘read’. Nowhere does it say ‘only to be read by men’. It simply says ‘read’.”

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Malala and her father spoke out against the unjust laws of the Taliban. They put their lives in danger. Malala’s father said ” I would rather die than live another day in silence”. They were brave and they did what was right.

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Malala when she was no older than me!

But Malala paid dearly. One day, in the school bus, Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban, along with two of her friends. The other two girls where not too badly injured, but Malala was. No one thought she would live, but everyone prayed for her. Praying the hardest, were all the girls she had stood up for.

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She was taken to hospital in Birmingham and here she made a long, slow, but miraculous recovery. But Malala was sad, never again would she see the valleys of her home land. If she returned, the Taliban would kill her.

Malala has inspired me a lot. She is what I want to be: A light in the darkness.  Malala is a girl who was passionate about something and look how far she has come! From a small child living in a remote village to a nobel peace prize winning activist! She first started speaking and standing up when she was just eleven years old. I am almost twelve.

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Malala is living proof that children can make a difference. She says that you should not doubt yourself and think you are uncapable of achieving great things because of your age. Children are powerful, they can be lights in the darkness. I struggle with being a light sometimes, it isn’t easy, but watching Malala’s film and hearing her story has made me more determined than ever. Even though I am a child, it does not make me any less able to make a difference than an adult. Malala needs all of us children to stand up for what is right.

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My favourite speech that Malala has made was when she stood up in front of many important world leaders and said:

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