Happy belated birthday, Malala! I may be a couple days late with this post, (what’s new?) but I could only consider it blasphemous were I not to post something about #BooksNotBullets.
Thankfully I didn’t miss the bookish and inspiring festivities all across the web this past Sunday. For those of you who still haven’t caught on, Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai posted the following on the Malala Fund website, as promotion for her unique way of celebrating her 18th birthday on Sunday July 12:
Post a photo of yourself holding up your favorite book and share why YOU choose #BooksNotBullets – and tell world leaders to fund the real weapon for change, education. We’ll use them on Malala Day to show world leaders that the public wants global education to be a top priority.
First of all Malala, can I just say that #BooksNotBullets is the perfect example of internet use done right. Not only are you an incredibly brave and smart activist and hero, but I think you have the makings of a true social media entrepreneur as well!
In the midst of annoying hashtags, trending feeds, among other types of viral crap sneaking and squeezing its way onto people’s profiles, you have created something that holds a deep and vital message that all people should be aware of, that is also celebratory and joyful, not to mention attractive and catchy as hell. (Plus, it explicitly promotes books!!!!)
Seriously, is there any better way to spread your message to the world than by giving people another excuse to take selfies of themselves? Malala, you’ve got this viral stuff locked down, and in the best of ways. Major props to you.
And of course, in the midst of all my banter, I dare not forget everything Malala has done with the Malala Fund and her advocacy for female education. And there’s also her book, her upcoming film, her accomplishments despite oppressive and violent struggles most of us can’t even imagine – basically we should all just aspire and look up to her entire existence. Simple as that. She is freakin’ cool.
Think about it. How many teenagers would you willingly describe as ‘freakin’ cool’? Let alone tolerable. Malala is ahead of the world, and the rest of us need to keep up.
If you missed out on Malala’s birthday, never fear! There’s still today, July 14, Malala Day. According to www.globaleducationfirst.org, Malala Day is:
not just a day to celebrate Malala Yousafzai. It is a day for all children everywhere to raise their voices and be heard. It is a day to stand up for education and say to [the] world that we are stronger than the enemies of education and stronger than the forces that threaten girls, boys and women from leading happy and productive lives.
Take to your various networks and make lovely posts using the hashtag #StrongerThan. And throw in #BooksNotBullets some more while you’re at it. That’s a hashtag that needs to stick around for good.
I realize that not everyone may be completely up to speed on just who Malala Yousafzai is. Thus, I’ve included some links below, should you like to delve deeper into Malala’s cause.
The Malala Fund – basic info, background on Malala’s story, a link to her personal blog, and a link where you can make donations
#BooksNotBullets – info and a call to action on this beautiful movement
Malala Day – Global Education First Initiative’s website about this celebration of education on July 14
Instagram – Malala Fund’s Instagram profile
Malala Day banners courtesy of www.globaleducationfirst.org