Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Knowledge is Power - Blog Action Day 2013

Today is Blog Action Day for 2013. The topic this year is Human Rights. I've chosen Education, as the topic to discuss because I feel that it is just an important topic.

Malala Yousafzai has recently been all over the news. She is the young woman who was growing up in the Swat Valley in Pakistan, advocating for women's educational rights. She was shot in the head by the Taliban and left for dead. Only, she did not die. She got up and shared her story. With the world. Check out her book. This is a great example of how important education is. And when you have complete access to it, how much you may take for granted, what someone else only wish they had a glimpse.

Education is important for a countless number of reasons. Knowledge really is power. When you don't know anything, you don't know that there is something that you are missing. It's like if you are lost in a country where you don't know the language and can't even read the map. You would probably trust the first friendly face that offered to take you somewhere, just because you figure that your options alone are probably worse. Because you don't know; rather, you are uneducated in the area and language; you are at the mercy of this 'nice' stranger. They could take you wherever they wanted and you really couldn't do anything about it. And so you follow them, hour after hour, day after day, until the days become years. And sure, maybe you will run away one day and get somewhere familiar, but if you haven't learned anything while you were there, it would be very difficult to figure out a way out, and find people you could trust.

The example illustrates an extreme. But the point that is hopefully demonstrated is that  a lack of knowledge leaves one in a more vulnerable state. We have our problems with the educational system in developed countries, but the point is that education is a choice. Droppng out of school is  a choice. To some, like Malala, it is probably inconceivable why one would forfeit their right to an education. But the point is that there are people out there who do not get to make that choice. The choice is made for them, and without the knowledge that other options exist, the cycle remains very suppressive. The right to an education is very much a Human Rights issue that eventually will impact the whole world as we live with the decisions the children who turn into adults, will make.

There are tons of instances where people are oppressed by limiting, if not cutting off, their access to education and knowledge. It is important for the people that have access to the education and knowledge fight for those who don't have a voice. Those who are just blindly doing what they are told because they do not know of any other options. Those who do not have the authority on their own to make changes. I love this quote:

"First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out

because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left

to speak out for me."

-Martin Niemoller

It's not about  money or who is right or wrong. It's about everyone having the knowledge to make choices and decisions that impact their life and world. Knowledge is the power to improve the world in ways you could never have imagined. Let's help others reach their potential. Advocate for education around the world.