Founded by Robert Hook, class of 2012, and under the direction of faculty sponsor Michelle McCay, Freedom Arts is published biannually, with late fall and spring editions. This student-produced publication showcases the written and visual talents of Upper School artists. Editions are free, and can be picked up at the front office or downloaded from the link below.
Below are excerpts from various editions of Freedom Arts:
From “17 Years” (Ben S., Spring 2017)
17 Years it’s been bothering me . . .
It’s affected me my entire life . . .
Day and Night, it never ends . . .
Anxiety . . .
From School to Home . . .
Hour by Hour . . .
No cures . . .
Just hope . . .
What can I do . . .
No one knows . . .
One thing I do know is . . .
It’s tearing me apart . . .
It’s tearing me from the inside out . . .
Even as I say these words . . .
It’s here . . .
It can never leave my mind . . .
Just corrupt me . . .
For anyone who has it like I do . . .
You know it can’t just affect one mind but two . . .
It can spread like fire . . .
A fire with space to roam free . . .
This fire doesn’t go out . . .
It only grows larger . . .
Finds new minds to corrupt . . .
You cannot escape its wrath . . .Just be new prey . . .
From “Change through Peace” (Thomas M., Fall 2016)
On October 9, 2012, fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai, an education activist, was shot by the Taliban. The bullet entered through her left eyebrow and traveled eighteen inches through her neck, down her left shoulder, and lodged in her back. Luckily, she survived, but the bullet wound affected her brain. After countless surgeries, physical rehabilitation, and being forced to leave the only home she ever knew in Pakistan, Malala continues to fight for equality and education for everyone. Though she is world-famous, she has lived somewhat of a normal life: fighting with her brothers, going to school, and hanging out with friends.
From reading her book, I Am Malala, I have learned about her experiences, ranging from gender discrimination, to successes in school, and what it is like to survive a shooting.
Malala and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, have inspiring stories which have led to world changes that would not have been possible without their bravery against terrorists for the right of an education for all.
Malala is a great ambassador for equality and education for everyone. This is largely due to her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, ho overcame his problems by relentlessly pursuing his dreams. Growing up in Swat, Pakistan, he was constantly teased for being too short and dark, and having a stuttering problem didn’t help. When he was twelve, Ziauddin entered a public speaking competition, even though no one thought it was a good idea, especially his father.
During his speech, everyone was surprised, because his passion and delivery were fantastic, and he was awarded first place. It was the first day his father was proud of him. From that day on, he knew he could overcome anything, if he kept pursuing his goals. After graduating from college, his dream was fulfilled when he opened a school for everyone in which race, social, or economic status did not matter. Unfortunately, in Swat, this was unusual and looked down upon, since Ziauddin allowed girls to be educated. It took him several attempts to form a school, due to floods, money, and finding teachers. Also, he became a political activist, preaching for equality and education against the Taliban. Because of her father, Malala was able to go to school, unlike most girls who are not allowed to attend after the age of six. Ziauddin paved the way for Malala to go to school and inspired her to speak for women's rights.
Malala’s family was known throughout Swat, because her father owned a school and was a political activist. Despite this, her family largely lived a normal life, with her two younger brothers Atal and Khushal. They were more of a modern Western family than a Pakistani family; the family had three children, as opposed to the average of seven. Everyone had an opinion, which was unique compared to other families, where the mothers and daughters were servants to the men. Malala was sensitive growing up; she would easily get upset when she fought with her brothers. Not surprisingly, she became upset when she learned that girls were not allowed to be educated. She did not have to look far to see this, with her mother and aunt unable to read or write. Malala and her father saw women in their society being taken advantage of and robbed of their futures. As a result, her parents pushed Malala to do her best in school, knowing it was a privilege, especially for girls. Malala is a hard worker, just like her father, always finishing the school year first or second in her class.
In 2007, the Taliban started taking control of Swat, using violence and fear to control its citizens. Malala and her father never let this interfere with their causes; instead, they became more vocal. Malala started writing a blog to speak about education for women under the name Gul Makai. Eventually, she revealed her real name, while participating in interviews with Pakistani and American journalists. At this point, the Taliban were fed up; they threatened Malala and her father to stop, or else they would be killed. Her parents were deeply concerned; her father suggested that she stop speaking, but Malala instantly replied, “How can we do that? You were the one who said if we believe in something greater than our lives, then our voices will only multiply even if
we are dead.” Instantly, Malala and her family’s lives had changed because they chose to fight for their rights even if meant their
It was just an average school day for Malala during her finals week. She was going home from school on the bus when the bus driver was stopped by two armed men; one got on the bus and demanded to know which girl was Malala. No one said a word, but her friends innocently looked in her direction, giving her away. The gunman shot her and quickly ran. Everyone was scared, rushing her to the hospital. While speaking at a meeting for the Association of Private Schools, her father was told, “Your school bus has been fired on.” He was the president of the association and there were over four-hundred principals in attendance, so he quickly finished his speech. He rushed to the hospital, knowing it could be Malala, and when he arrived his fear became a reality.
Meanwhile, her mother was left in the dark; she had no idea what was going on and later found out on the news. Ziauddin found Malala unconscious on a bed with bandages on her head. The local hospital did not have the proper treatment for her, so they took her and Ziauddin in a helicopter to Peshawar. When she arrived, Colonel Junaid, an army doctor, had to perform emergency surgery on her swollen brain. She would have died without the surgery, which allowed her brain to expand. The hospital staff did not know how to treat her properly, and the possibility of her getting an infection and dying were high.
Miraculously, Fiona and Javid, two physicians from Birmingham, England, were in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, teaching Pakistani
army doctors how to do a liver transplant. They agreed to help and were taken by helicopter to Peshawar. Once they arrived, they saw she had an infection, but knew they could save her, but only if they had the best resources. Therefore, they took her to a hospital in Birmingham, England. Though the army put pressure on her father to go with her to England, he refused, saying “I can’t leave my wife and sons here alone.”
On October 16th, Malala woke up for the first time since she was shot, lying on a hospital bed with tubes in her neck. She was grateful to be alive, thanking Allah for giving her a second life. She knew she was not in Pakistan because the nurses spoke English, and her parents were not there. Her family was stuck in Peshawar. They had been waiting for several days for the army to take them by plane to England. Malala’s mom told the army she would starve herself to death if she could not see her daughter.
Soon after, they were on a plane to England. Malala finally saw her parents sixteen days after her shooting. Her mother cried as she saw that the left side of Malala’s face was lopsided; she was also deaf in her left ear. The doctors solved this by putting a small electronic device called a cochlear implant inside her head, which allowed her to hear. After the swelling in her brain went down, the doctors put a titanium cranioplasty in her head, consisting of eight screws. In January of 2013, Malala was released from the hospital, and they could finally be a family.
Thankfully, the Pakistani government paid for her treatment cost of around $200,000. It was too dangerous to go back to Swat, so the government paid for two apartments in Birmingham. Ziauddin was given a job as Pakistan's education attaché at the Consulate in Birmingham, and Malala was awarded the Nobel Prize.
The Yousafzai family has enjoyed life in England, since women have rights there. Though they miss Swat, they are grateful to have their family together. Malala and her father are inspirational because they never gave up on their cause, showing that just a father and daughter can change the world. I admire that they did not play the victim; instead, they continued to work hard to fight for the right to an education for all. They put their lives on the line for their cause, which speaks to how badly they wanted change. From an American's perspective, it makes me realize how grateful I am to live in a country where not only everyone has the right to an education, but it is the law to be in school until sixteen years of age. Malala and her father showed great courage in the face of adversity. It was a miracle that Malala survived, which means she has her “second life” to change the world.