“Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons." (Malala Yousafzai)
On some days, in some weeks and months, we become more aware of the spinning of the world on which we live. The movement and the forces that hold us in place, that are utterly out of our control.
The week gone by was filled with loss for many, celebration for many others. Some homes were invaded, or destroyed by, fear and suffering. Other homes were filled with hope and the promise of a new day.
There are so many things outside of our control. Yet, there is so much that we can do, so much change that we can affect, suffering we can limit. In this world, in these days, ignorance and complacency have no place. They are harmful, to ourselves and to the people and land around us.
This week, Malala Yousafzai, a 17 year old Pakistani woman, became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2009, Malala was shot in the head by members of the Taliban because of her outspoken passion for education. Since her recovery, Malala has become an activist for women's education.
In the United States, we often flippantly chide complaining school children by telling them about the children around the world who don't have the same access to education they do. But, what about us? Do we embrace our privilege? Do we use it to educate ourselves? To act?
People are dying. In an era of advanced medicine, a plague unlike any we have seen for decades has unleashed panic and death. Nation after nation engages in ideological war, fighting for their beliefs with weapons. Women are disappearing from communities believed to be safe. Children are being forced into slavery. The ground itself cries out for water and the water suffocates beneath a heavy blanket of pollution.
It isn't that I believe that we can turn the tide quickly, or that we can ever undo the damage humanity has done. I do believe, though, that we all have the power to make small changes. We can touch the lives of our friends, our coworkers, our neighbors. And, I believe that together, we can create the kinds of communities that can change, bit by bit, the world.
But we need to listen. We need to embrace education. So, we read.
Here are a few things I've been reading this week:
1. Scenes from the New American Dustbowl
What have you been reading?