We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.
The greatest danger to our future is apathy. Jane Goodall
Marie, Malala, and Lara: Three women and three lives somehow intertwined together in their combat for dignity, professionalism, and equality. Marie Colvin, former American journalist for the British Newspaper, the Sunday Times, loved sailing and wanted to become the Silver Girl in Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”.Lyrics
She unfortunately died before achieving this goal of growing old on a sailboat (reference to ‘silver’ hair as we age) killed by a mortar rocket in Homs, Syria along side a French photographer…. A courageous reporter, venturing into war zones despite being a woman, she became my hero for representing womankind and also stepping over the boundaries of what many of our societies define as barriers for what women can do. Lara Logan, a South African television and radio journalist now working as the chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS news, seems to have picked up the torch and moved into dangerous territories once occupied by Colvin.
I remember vividly Logan describing her ordeal during the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. First she and her crew were beaten up by the Egyptian Army and then she was later sexually assaulted by over 200 men while covering the celebrations in Tahrir square following Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. Since then she has spoken out bravely about the prevalence of sexual assault in Egypt and the silence which reigns over the reporting of such incidents. I admire professional woman such as her for having the courage first to talk about their own very painful and intimate experiences and then to speak out to try and defend other women especially in countries where women have no rights, no voice and no influence over their own lives or those of their daughters.
We are reminded of what happened to a 14 year old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai yesterday who was hunted down by a group of Taliban soldiers near Islamabad, Pakistan and shot in the head and neck. Her crime? Promoting education for girls and writing about it on a Blog promoted by the BBC detailing her life under the Tehrik-Taliban regime and how they tried to take over the Swat valley where her family lived. An excerpt of her Blog:
I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools. Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban’s edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict. On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.
Nominated for the Pakistani Peace Prize, she was accused of being too “pro-Western” and of defying austere Islamist Sharia laws which force women into complete submission.
Now let’s listen to a CBS 60 minutes overtime interview with Lara Logan who gives her interpretation of what’s happening to women in Afghanistan and Pakistan and other radical Islamist countries and why she continues the fight:
And now in tribute to Marie and other women who want to become ‘silver girls’ , click on the title to listen to Simon and Garfunkel’s song: Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Gar Lyrics: BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER