The Hopes and Dreams of Youth

– Clarence Holm

I just finished reading “I Am Malala” and I ashamed!

23% of the world’s population or over 1.5 billion people adhere to the Muslim religion, in one sect or another. Yet even though our media is full or articles about them, I knew almost nothing about them. I had suspicions and reservations, but most information I had was from 30 second sound bites.

It could be that most of the articles dealt with fear. Fear of a group that does not believe in the same values we do. Fear of a group that reportedly wants to impose their religion beliefs on us. Fear of a region that seems bent on our destruction!

That is why Malala Yousafzai’s book is so refreshing. It is a story of a young girl growing up in a Muslim country with all the hopes and dreams that are surprisingly similar to the dreams my daughters had shared with me. Through her book, I learned about the Muslim religion as seen through her eyes. She shared how intertwined her life is with religion, politics, and her tribal heritage. Through her eyes I saw how similar my daughters were to her, even though their circumstances were so different.

I was amazed by how she came to accept her role in life and the risks her goals entailed; her steadfast belief in her God and his purpose, which allowed her to function at a level that would have paralyzed most.

It took a 14 year old girl to open my eyes to a region that has hopes and dreams. That despite intolerable conditions, their lives go on and flourish.

4 thoughts on “The Hopes and Dreams of Youth

  1. Several years ago, I had a Muslim girl in my class. She and her brother came to the USA to get an education and to get away from all the violence of the region. She told horrific stories of how they fled their country that gave me goose bumps. Yes, her religion meant everything to her–but it is hard for us in our country when nearly every atrocity has been committed by a Muslim man in the name of his religion. I will probably have to read the book.

    • Well worth the read, if for nothing else than to be exposed to another view of the world.
      For me it was eye opening to realize some of the similarities of her and my youth, including the lack of running water, the importance of family, and the way hospitality is considered a priority (Always treat guests to your best-even to the point of giving up what you really prize.)

  2. Have you seen the amazing work done by Humans of New York on his UN world tour? He has been in the Middle East and now Africa, photographing and interviewing people. His short interviews and photos are so powerful and enlightening. Your post reminded me of how I have been feeling about his posts. They are on facebook. I think he may have a blog.

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