Iqbal Masih, a child labourer spoke out against abuses that were committed against him and his peers in a factory in Pakistan. His mother sold him off into child labour at the age of 4 to pay off a $12 debt. He was quickly put to good use in a carpet factory - for his small hands were swift in the loom and his tiny fingers made tight, intricate knots which in turn wove beautiful carpets. Iqbal and his friends were fed little food, since it was against the master's interest to let them grow bigger - their hands would not remain so small. After a few failed attempts Iqbal was able to run away at the age of 10 from his bonded servitude and join the Pakistan Bonded Labour Liberation Front. He made impassioned speeches about child labour around the world and helped numerous kids flee their lives of servitude. After his trip to America and Sweden, Iqbal returned to Pakistan where he was shot dead at the age of 13.
Malala Yousafzai, born to an educational activist father who runs a school in Pakistan was named after a Pashto warrior woman who is also known as the Afghani Joan of Arc. She definitely lives up to the courage of her namesake by speaking out against the voices of suppression and those who dare to take away her right to education. She is egged on by her father who by all reports loves and encourages his daughter's spunk and thirst for knowledge. She wants to be a politician and have her own political party so she can vocalize the need for education from a public platform in all four provinces in Pakistan. She vehemently claims that which is her right - education. She wants to give a voice to those who are denied one. She is the face of the people in Pakistan who yearn for the fresh air of progress and the light of education.
Iqbal and Malala represent the spirit which refuses to be suppressed. They are the ones who dare to speak out against the denial of their rights, they are the ones who dare to challenge the norm, the slipping further into the abyss of darkness. They dare to dream of a brighter future when they will see an end to all the injustices which plague them, their nation and the children of their motherland. This is why they need to be silenced. Because, to allow those dreams to fester would mean an end to the darkness in which the Taliban live and their ideas and views thrive. They are silenced because those cowards are afraid of being challenged by children - by their innocent, fearless, and vociferous rebellion.
Iqbal died in 1995 - his voice was silenced but not forgotten. Malala came along in 1998 and now fights for her life. Their spirit lives on through children who dare to dream and have the courage to question - that will never be snuffed out. Pakistanis must come together to stop those who aim to trample on them. Silence those voices of darkness and decline - come together and give Malala a voice while she fights for hers.