Taliban Shoots Pakistani Schoolgirl, Advocate of Education for Girls
When she was only 11 years old, Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban by giving voice to her dreams. As turbaned Taliban fighters swept through her town in northwestern Pakistan in 2009, the tiny schoolgirl spoke out about her passion for education. She wanted to become a doctor, she said, and became a symbol of defiance against Taliban subjugation.
On Tuesday, masked Taliban gunmen answered Ms. Yousafzai’s courage with bullets, singling out the 14-year-old on a bus filled with terrified schoolchildren and shooting her in the head. Two other girls were also wounded in the attack. All three survived, but on Wednesday a neurologist said Ms. Yousafzai was in critical condition at a hospital in Peshawar, though doctors had been able to remove a bullet. Arrangements have been made to send Ms. Yousafzai abroad for treatment, but she could not be moved for now. The two other wounded girls were reported to be in stable condition.
A Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, confirmed by phone Tuesday that Ms. Yousafzai had been the target, calling her crusade for education rights an “obscenity.” Mr. Ehsan added that if she survived, the militants would certainly try to kill her again. “Let this be a lesson.” That Ms. Yousafzai’s voice could be deemed a threat to the Taliban, that they could see the young schoolgirl’s death as desirable and justifiable, is being seen as evidence of both the militants’ brutality and her courage.
Ms. Yousafzai first came to public attention in 2009, when the Pakistani Taliban swept through Swat, a picturesque valley once famed for its music, tolerance and honeymoon destinations. Her father ran one of the last schools to defy Taliban orders to end female education. As an 11-year-old, Malala wrote an anonymous blog documenting her experiences for the BBC. Later, she was the focus of documentaries by The New York Times and other media outlets. “I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban,” she wrote in one blog post titled “I Am Afraid.”
A government reward of more than $100,000 has been announced by the provincial information minister for information leading to the arrest of Malala’s attackers. “Whoever has done it is not a human and does not have a human soul,” he said. Across the rest of the country, Pakistanis reacted with outrage to the attack on Malala, whose eloquent and determined advocacy of education for girls had made her a powerful symbol of resistance to Taliban ideology.
Read more about young Malala Yousafzai in The New York Times here.
Documentary About Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Girl Shot by the Taliban: Class Dismissed
Shot by the Taliban, Young Malala Yousafzai Struggles for Life
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