Malala and Friends of Guéoul

Malala and Friends of Guéoul share a passion – educating women – to ensure not only their own future, but that of communities and cultures throughout the world.

Friends of Guéoul focuses on girls in Sénégal. It’s 5,443 miles from here to Sénégal. Their successful democracy is the threshold to western Africa. Beyond Sénégal there are a lot of countries full of terrorists, instability and inhumanity. Don’t think that those 5,443 miles make this an issue that doesn’t affect all of us. The globe is shrinking as we speak.

Sénégal can play a vital role in helping to defeat some of the most dangerous ideologies. We can help Sénégal.

The 133 Senegalese girls we educate “represent the kind of change that can permanently relegate the medieval philosophies and practices of groups like the Islamic State to the ash heap of history where they belong” (Rothkopf).

Friends of Guéoul can truthfully and powerfully say that we (you and I) fight global terrorism one girl at a time.

The article excerpts shared with you below really inspired me. The author, David Rothkopf, is speaking about Nobel Peace Prize 2014 recipient Malala Yousafzai. He vividly articulates the reason we’ve worked for ten years to educate and empower the girls in Guéoul.

We can change the world. You and I.

Judy Beggs
Executive Director


Rothkopf: Malala’s jihadist battle

Malala Yousafzai,
Nobel Peace Prize, 2014

The Nobel Peace Prize committee rightly cited the work that Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi did to lead the “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education,” but it was Malala’s work on behalf of girls and women that may be even more central and important to advancing peace in the world today. The systematic repression of women is history’s greatest injustice and one that must be addressed before any era can rightfully call itself just or modern.

But beyond this core concern, in a world in which one of the greatest international threats comes from the spread of Islamist extremist groups, it is urgent that we also realize how essential empowering women is to defeating jihadists.

The correlation between the repression of women’s rights and instability in the modern world is absolutely clear. [See: the World Economic Forum annual report and the 2011 Newsweek list of the best and worst places for women showing that a correlation between repression of women and extremism and instability is clear.]

Not only do countries that treat women badly do badly economically, politically, and socially, but countries in which extremist ideologies have taken root frequently treat women worst of all. In each case they have twisted their religious and cultural inheritances to promote practices that are abhorrent and indefensible, or they simply fail to recognize the rights or the promise of the women and girls among them. This has been taken to extraordinary extremes by groups like the Islamic State.

In its slickly produced English-language magazine, Dabiq, the group defends its enslavement of Yazidi girls and the taking of them as concubines by arguing that the practice is a “firmly established aspect of the Sharia.” Why enslave girls and women? Because not to do so would apparently create temptations toward “fornication and adultery” too great for the men of their would-be caliphate to handle — men who are apparently powerful enough to make all the important decisions but who melt to butter when in the presence of a woman who is not some other man’s property.

Clearly, these brutal thugs fear the innate power of women; unsurprisingly, they are terrified of compounding that via further means of empowerment such as education. Few stories illustrate this so well as that of Malala, just a 15-year-old when a Taliban gunman entered a bus on which she was traveling, demanded to know which among the passengers was the girl whose writings and activism sought only to ensure poor girls the right to go to school, and shot her in the head. Claiming credit for the attack, the Taliban’s spokesman called her a “symbol of the infidels and obscenity” and justified it as a threat against Islam.

As economist Larry Summers has written, “[I]nvestment in the education of girls may be the highest return investment available in the developing world.” That’s why closing the gender gap is so central to the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals. It is not an accident that the top countries in the Gender Gap Report also rank high atop quality-of-life indices worldwide.

Empowering women undoes centuries of injustice and enriches societies. But it also can play a vital role in helping to defeat some of the most dangerous ideologies and organizations found anywhere on the Earth today. It is for this reason that those groups are so scared by a teenage girl like Malala or by the progress represented by the likes the women currently fighting extremism in the Middle East. They represent the kind of change that can permanently relegate the medieval philosophies and practices of groups like the Islamic State to the ash heap of history where they belong.

-David Rothkopf
(emphasis added)

Full article at: