Pilar’s emotionally colorful paintings have graced CATALYST’s covers for over 20 years. The emotion is sometimes a rich stillness or gracious intensity of flavor but “Malala” captures the strength and youthful optimism of her subject.
Malala Yousafzai is the young girl who has become the face of educational freedom for women everywhere. Her book I Am Malala—The girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban, co-written by war correspondent Christina Lambhas, was released last month, on the one-year anniversary of her attack.
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, the girls’ schools were outlawed. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. When it was pointed out to her that she had been targeted by the Taliban (her friends told her to Google herself and she would see it) she formulated a plan for what she would say to her attacker if he presented himself.
Her beautiful recitation of this plan on the Jon Stewart Show sums up this young woman’s mission: “At first I thought I would hit him with a shoe, but then I realized this would make me as harsh as them. You must fight others through peace and by dialogue and through education. Then I would tell him how important education is and that I even want it for your children as well, and then I would tell him, ‘That is what I want to tell you, now do what you want.’”
On October 9, 2012, when she was 15, she was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school. She has survived to present a fiercely peace-filled face of opposition to the madness of the Taliban’s war on women.