A Profile in Courage:  Shining Light in the Darkness

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Malala Yousufzai’s courageous blogging against the Taliban set her apart from other 14-year-old Pakistani girls.  She paid the price this week as Taliban fighters pulled over her school van and shot her along with two girl classmates.

As I read this article this afternoon and my stomach, heart and soul all sank

‘Half the Sky’ was aired last week by PBS. This 4-hour documentary created by the Putlizer prize winning journalists and authors of the book ‘Half the Sky’ Nicholas Kristoff and Cheryl DuWunn has raised the awareness and conversation of oppression against women and girls. The Half the Sky movement first raises the awareness of how big and horrific the level of oppressioin that still exists for so many girls and women in the work. Then they tell stories of inspiration and hope as to who and what is being done to lift this oppression and create opportunity for hundreds of millions of girls and women to live healthier meaningful lives.

And then, – young Malala, a hero in this important dialogue – is shot on her school bus by the very people who oppress her.
Earlier this year Malala was awarded Pakistan’s first national peace prize for her blogging about the Taliban’s banning of education for girls.

I read a thread of her blog and am overwhelmed by her courage and perseverance in the face of real threat and danger.

You can read her blog entries here.

In the CNN article referenced above there is a quote which gives voice to how this Taliban act of violence effects the forward progress of lifting women out of oppression. “Dark hands,” she said, tried to attack Malala’s cause, “but it will discourage many others who are fighting for light.”

We can not let this discourage all those who work to lift and empower girls and women who thirst for education and the ability to participate in the global economy in order to bring a better life for their children and themselves. This truly is a battle of ‘light vs. darkness’.

The light must continue to shine.

Facebook’s No. 2 Executive

Interesting article on Sheryl K. Sandberg.

Frozen Boats: Europe Buckles Under Deep Freeze

Thank goodness the Sailing Arabia Tour is SOUTH of the record-breaking cold snap that continues to stop northern Europe in its tracks.

To view more of Charles Michel’s extraordinary photos of the ice storm damage in Lake Geneva, visit Show | YACHT.DE.

While the photos are spectacularly dramatic the problem is very real and severe across northern Europe:

Across the Atlantic, much of Europe is suffering through a winter of historic — and deadly — proportions. Over 600 people have died from the intense cold that has gripped the continent over the past few weeks, with the most severe toll recorded in Eastern Europe. Over 5,000 Russians have suffered from hypothermia or frostbite while the country has seen 20 days of unusually cold weather when temperatures fell 13°F to 25°F below normal and Moscow on Feb. 13 endured temperatures of -4°F. (It could be worse though — temperatures in the northern Russian city of Toko fell to -63°F.) In Central Europe, the commercially vital Danube River froze for hundreds of miles, from Austria to its mouth in the Black Sea, forcing officials to take chain saws to the ice. Things are so bad in Hungary that the central bank has been compressing billions of old notes into briquettes that can be burned for heat. If the climate’s still warming — and it is — word didn’t get to Europe.  Continue reading on Time.com…

Gabrielle Giffords: A symbol of courage, resiliency and the possibility of the human spirit

I have watched Gabrielle Gifford’s journey since the horrific announcement of the shooting.  Her battle to not only survive but thrive has inspired millions -and I am one of them.

Perseverance and resiliency are things we are short on in our ‘instant gratification’ society. Gabrielle’s day by day struggle falls under the category of ‘never give up.’

Many people have done great things – and we have erected a lot of buildings and statues to commemorate their great achievements.  But this honor – being bestowed on Gabrielle – maybe the most awe inspiring I have seen.

To have a Naval warship carrying your name – a great symbol of our country’s strength, fighting power, peace keeping capability and global mobility – You deserve it Gabrielle!

 Naval warship to be named for Gabrielle Giffords

Only three combat vessels in US history have ever been named for women, but Gabrielle Gifford’s, the former Arizona Congresswoman who survived what is assumed to have been an assassination attempt that claimed the lives of six other people, will soon join those hallowed ranks.

During a Pentagon presentation, Mabus said he chose the vessel’s name as a tribute to the valor exemplified by Giffords and her astronaut husband, retired Navy Capt. Mark Kelly. The Navy also cited her commitment to military and veterans affairs and border security,” according to TC. “Mabus described Giffords as a woman who ‘has become synonymous for courage, who has inspired the nation with remarkable resiliency and showed the possibilities of the human spirit.’”

The ship’s sponsor will be Roxana Green, mother of nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green whose life was lost the day of the shooting.