Oh Ziauddin Yousafzai,
How do I love thee,
Let me count the ways…..
Okay, so I’m not really going to compose a sonnet for the man, especially one in the vein of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s classic, “How Do I Love Thee.” That said, I really do love the man. He’s completely amazing in every way.
In case you couldn’t tell by the name, Ziauddin Yousafzai is Malala’s father. Yes, that Malala. He recently made headlines by tweeting out his daughter’s GCSE exams scores. Like Holy Shit!!! Four A’s and Six A*’s?!?!?!?!?! Whatever that man is feeding Malala, I want a taste. Just one. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.
Okay can we just stop for a moment and admit that this guy has to have been Nigerian in another life? Seriously, the guy tweeted out his daughter’s exam scores. Basically, homie just stunted on all the parents in the world and especially the Taliban who shot the girl. I don’t think many Nigerian parents are twitter savvy yet, but if they were, man, Twitter would be lit up for days with parents trying to outdo each other on the successes of their children. I would like to propose a motion that we make Mr. Yousafzai an honorary Nigerian for being a progressive, next-level thinker in the realm of stunting vicariously through his children.
So the reason I bring this up is because after I heard about this tweet, I posted the screencap to Facebook. One of my friends saw it and essentially asked why I was so fond of the guy. So basically here goes:
Firstly the guy’s an educator. I mean seriously, listen to his TED talk and you get the feeling that this guy is a well seasoned teacher. It shouldn’t be a surprise by now, I really respect people who choose education as a profession. Educators are some of my most favorite people on the planet. I mean that in the most enthusiastic and unironic way possible.
Right from the outset, the guy made it known that his daughters were going to be just as important as his sons. The culture in the part of Pakistan where Mr. Yousafzai is from doesn’t typically list women’s names in family genealogies. In his TED talk, he described how his cousin showed him the family tree dating back more than 300 years without mention of a single woman. So you have to imagine how big a deal it must have been for him to place his daughter’s name in the family books. Given the heights to which she has risen, nobody would argue that it was a wise choice.
Moreover, he helped her get an education and didn’t cajole or coerce her towards marriage. Which also happens to be a big deal in that part of Pakistan. In so doing, he allowed her to decide her destiny for herself.
As if naming her after a legendary Pakistani freedom fighter wasn’t enough, the girl became a freedom fighter in her own right. When she wanted to start writing about women’s rights and the need for educating young girls, Ziauddin was instrumental in helping her get the job as a blogger for the BBC. This is the job that would later bring her the fame and infamy that resulted in the nearly fatal shooting back in 2012.
Frankly, my adoration of the man doesn’t take anything away from any of Malala’s accomplishments. He might have set her on the path, but he definitely couldn’t walk that road for her. Anyone who refuses to die can make whatever journey they choose by themselves.
My point is, at every step of the way this guy has been incredibly supportive in a way that isn’t common to men in many parts of the world, not just his own. That is something that I find incredibly commendable especially given the heights to which Malala has risen. If I ever become a dad I would not mind being like him.
Dear Mr. Yousafzai, I salute you.
But wait back to the stunting for just a second. Imagine if her result wasn’t that good, would he still post it on social media? Let’s talk parenting this morning since we all belong to that generation where parenting books will probably become useless every few months due to the rapid advancement in technology. Would you tweet your kids exam results? How would you react if your dad did this to you (even if you did just as good as Malala), use the comment section to express you.
Image via Charter for Compassion