Michelle Obama Tackles Terrorism Against Women and Girls In Moving Mother’s Day Message

Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama honored mothers and motherhood on the Mother’s Day weekend by drawing a vital connection to the importance of girl’s education and the unconscionable terrorist kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls.

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After wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day, the First Lady said she wanted to speak about the important issue of the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls from their school dormitory in the middle of the night.

Mrs. Obama pointed out, “This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education – grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls.”

The First Lady bridged Mother’s Day with this horrific kidnapping, “In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters. We see their hopes, their dreams – and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”

Michelle Obama drew attention to the courage of these girls and their families in pursuing an education, “Many of them may have been hesitant to send their daughters off to school, fearing that harm might come their way. But they took that risk because they believed in their daughters’ promise and wanted to give them every opportunity to succeed. The girls themselves also knew full well the dangers they might encounter. Their school had recently been closed due to terrorist threats…but these girls still insisted on returning to take their exams.”

Perhaps unwittingly building on the premise former President Jimmy Carter posited in his book A Call to Action — “the world’s discrimination and violence against women and girls is the most serious, pervasive, and ignored violation of basic human rights” — the First Lady noted that the kidnapping is not an isolated incident, “And what happened in Nigeria was not an isolated incident…it’s a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions.

It’s the story of girls like Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan.

Malala spoke out for girls’ education in her community…and as a result, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while on a school bus with her classmates.

But fortunately Malala survived…and when I met her last year, I could feel her passion and determination as she told me that girls’ education is still her life’s mission.

As Malala said in her address to the United Nations, she said “The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

Mrs. Obama said, “The courage and hope embodied by Malala and girls like her around the world should serve as a call to action. Because right now, more than 65 million girls worldwide are not in school. Yet, we know that girls who are educated make higher wages, lead healthier lives, and have healthier families. And when more girls attend secondary school, that boosts their country’s entire economy.”

“These girls embody the best hope for the future of our world…and we are committed to standing up for them not just in times of tragedy or crisis, but for the long haul,” the First Lady pledged. “We are committed to giving them the opportunities they deserve to fulfill every last bit of their God-given potential.”

“So today, let us all pray for their safe return… let us hold their families in our hearts during this very difficult time…and let us show just a fraction of their courage in fighting to give every girl on this planet the education that is her birthright.”

Mother’s Day weekend offered FLOTUS a perfect opportunity for a discussion about the human rights violations of girls around the globe, and the importance of education for both girls and boys. And while the human rights violations against women and girls are relative in this country, they are still unacceptable and horrific. It’s ironic that in a country that worships the concept of motherhood, we fail to properly cherish women and girls.

This Mother’s Day, let’s honor the women and girls in our lives by supporting their ambitions and dreams, and standing up for their basic human rights.

10 Replies to “Michelle Obama Tackles Terrorism Against Women and Girls In Moving Mother’s Day Message”

  1. The actions of the Nigerian kidnappers and that of the Pakistani cowards’ shooting of Malala are the actions of insecure, intellectually stunted males (not men) who fear women and girls who are either more educated than they are, or might be. Both instances represent misogyny in its crudest form, although it continues to rear its ugly head here in the United States to a lesser degree. It’s a sad spectacle to see grown men so threatened by the prospect of educated women and the empowerment that would bring that they are willing to endanger these girls–either by killing them or forcing them into marriages with rapists. As always, our First Lady outdid herself in her forceful indictment of the misogyny that is at the root of all the ill-treatment of Third World women everywhere.

  2. @Anne, first off i’d be careful calling ‘ ‘Pakistani Cowards’ its a nationality that many Pakistani share, secondly, the event that ocurred to Malala was in an under-developed, un-monitored regions in Pakistan. Secondly, Malala WAS saved by Pakistani Military from a life an death situation BY the Pakistani Army (the cowards you speak of “seriously girl, get your head checked”) when the Pakistani Army said she was in a stable state, they said to transfer her to a foriegn Hospital. FINALLY, their are more assault and rape cases in the USA and India (that is Indians being secular and some atheists, and USA being mixture of all of’em), their aren’t such cases of these in Muslim states (they are usually very, very less). Furthermore, she was attacked by a terrorist group, NOT by Pakistani, so lady STFU. Unless USA has a problem with Pakistan say it when you are face to face with the Pakistani representatives. Get your facts straight USA and their dense minded population.

  3. I wish we would get our facts straight and let the middle east kill itself off. They seem very intent on doing just that. I feel sorry for the regular people who just want to live

    She was attacked by a Pakistani terrorist group. She was already shot when the military got there

  4. Thank you Michelle Obama, for your passionate words and plea in support of these girls, girls and boys in our country, and girls all over the world.

    Blessings be upon you, the President and your daughters.

  5. Apparently, you didn’t get that I was also talking about the Nigerian fools who kidnapped those 200 plus girls as well. I don’t have anything against either Pakistanis or against Nigerians as groups but those males ARE cowards who happen to be Pakistani Taliban and Nigerian terrorists. Identifying their nationality is not a smear on all the other Pakistanis and Nigerians who are decent and law-abiding, especially those hurt by the actions of the cowards, but a reflection on them alone. By that same token, there are reactionary and cowardly Americans like Tim McVeigh who killed over 160 other Americans 19 years ago, or John Muhammad who killed 15 people in order to make his intended murder of his estranged wife look like a random killing. The actions of these men are not a reflection on Americans, either. Even if this post gets voted down, I stand by my words. I’m sorry you read something into my post that I certainly didn’t intend because I don’t have a beef with Pakistanis.

  6. First off, Pakistan is NOT Nigeria, we have a very diverse history (a very interesting one too). Secondly, not all Pakistani are BLACK or INDIAN, by Pakistani we have a mixture of people from different races; which include wide ranges of Mongol, Chinese, Pashtun, Afghani, Pathans, Persians, Hindu, Sikhs and many more. Thirdly, we got no BEEF with USA too, but apparently, the MOST IGNORANT COMMENTS & NEWS ARTICLES/REPORTS are being made by AMERICANS. You won’t see us talking about you guys in an anti-sentimental way, we focus on whats the next hollywood movie, what’s the latest fashion in USA and much of PAKISTAN CULTURE is based on Western style, Indian style, muslim life-style and asian life-style (we usually balance it all out). Lastly, Pakistan is quite diverse, but it’d be nice if the west begins to understand how Pakistan functions, instead of making baseless statements, which we find quite abusive/hurtful. Thanks, I hope their are No hard feelings. Respect from Pakistan an…

  7. First off, let me say, Wow!! I never in a million years would have guessed that Pakistan is not Nigeria. Thanks for that mind-shattering revelation!! (Sarcasm). Second, since you entire country, I see no point in continuing a dialogue of any kind with you. I noticed that you talked about dense Americans without making a distinction between those who are and those who aren’t. You can dish it out, but you lash out at what you mistakenly take to be an insult to ALL Pakistanis.
    Third off, when I post, I choose not to stoop to the level you did with silliness like STFU. You weaken your case when you respond with insults.
    At any rate, please do not respond to me any more. Consider yourself ignored by me.

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