Open Letter to Malala Yousafzai

October 22nd, 2012

Dear Malala,

Your story personally touched me because I have been following the problems of special school children for a very long time. Your school in Pakistan was ‘special’ because it served girls. The schools I worked in while living in the state of New York (USA) were ‘special’ because they served students with learning problems such as autism and language deficits.

I had to stop teaching because I was poisoned in one of those schools despite assurances that such an occurrence would not happen. The details of that incident and the resulting injuries to me are detailed in this blog but we now both suffer from brain injuries. I am sure you will receive the needed help to recover swiftly and, hopefully, completely.

Having written extensively on the subject of toxic chemicals, I also found reports that girls’ schools in Afghanistan were being poisoned and the children (along with staff) sickened. Apparently disparate nations are sharing a common problem in this misuse of technology to harm rather than treat crops where necessary to prevent blight.

You were shot because you spoke out against the resistance to your receiving a formal education. Formal education is limiting when the curriculum is censored but they also offer us the tools to learn independently in the wider world. The protective caccoons our families weave for us cannot last forever. As I wrote about this misuse of chemicals, sharing this information with a ‘private’ internet group on the Yahoo internet server, the protections built around me by my own family and community unraveled. I lost most of my possessions and rights to secure housing through attacks using these same kinds of poisons.

My physician documented the effects of repeated assaults as I also tested my living environments for toxic residues. It was impossible to rule out malicious intent and this, too, was documented in for the record. I also filed several stalking charges based upon photographic evidence and one individual informed me that these crimes were based in the fact I’d filed a law suit when federal Environmental Protection Agency personnel advised me to sue for my injuries following their formal investigation of the incident. Apparently there wasn’t any federal action possible despite their apparent comprehension of the problem. The case remains buried in the bowels of the NYS Supreme Court. As long as the public is educated, I’ve attained my goals in filing the suit.

We cannot hope for the safety of anonymity in this world of advanced technology as you hoped to attain in your own blog. We can hope that the dissemination of truthful information, along with the watchful eyes of our elected governments and rightful local community leaders, will make such violence useless for advancing the aims of those intent upon harming innocent people. Fortunately, ‘facts’ (proven information) are the province of every person and not the property of any single government, political party, religion or faction of society. We as individuals alone determine the nature of ‘truth’ as we discover the principles by which we will live our lives.

Still, we often suffer for the journey taken to gather those facts and select our ‘heritage’ of ‘truth’ against a backdrop of violence. We are all too likely to want to give up on that journey when obstacles keep appearing. Your own obstacles may seem insurmountable, as mine have occasionally seemed to me. I just wanted you to know that your story convinced me to keep going because the undercurrents and hidden violence ongoing in the USA continues to increase even as they often go unremarked in our press. The hostilities in your own region are available for the world to view. It all requires open acknowledgement if we are to end it with a ‘return’ to a future implementing the best of our various nations’ cultural architecture.

Your future safety is now important to the world at large. The access to formal education facilities for which you sacrificed so much to obtain may now be possible for you and many others. If we treat the educational process as a tool for independent learning and networking, the silence that maintains schisms within and between cultures just might end within your lifetime.

In admiration,
Barbara Rubin

Categories: Letters

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  1. carol andersi

    I totally agree with your comments. Education is essential for everyone and we must stand up as best we can for others who are powerless or see themselves as powerless.

  2. agasaya

    The overriding problem is that dialogue itself appears prohibited. Malala was targeted not for what she desired but for speaking about it out loud when it differed from the wishes of more powerful entities. As someone who has been targeted for similar reasons and seriously injured for those actions, I can sympathize and advocate for appropriate protections by our so-called ‘protectors’ in government. If first amendment protections weren’t available to me in the USA, how can one hope for them elsewhere?

    Barbara

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