Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pakistani Teen Spoke Peacefully, And For Many, In Her Push For Girls' Education


From Malala Yousafzai's Facebook page
Malala Yousafzai, sometime before the Tuesday attack
By Talon Bronson
Senior Reporter
PORTLAND, Oregon, U.S.A. –  When you live in a world where a 14-year-old girl can get shot in cold blood – hunted down like an animal for speaking her mind and shouting out for the disenfranchised and the neglected – you get the feeling in your gut that something isn’t entirely right with the picture.
Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl, found herself in the throes of death’s cold hands when a would-be assassin from the Taliban  tracked her down Tuesday, cornered in her school bus, and shot her in the head.
She had spoken with courage, raising her hands up against the oppressive, the hateful and the bigoted, and the Taliban answered her bravery with a death warrant, one terrible bullet and pain.
Yousafzai came to prominence when she began blogging incognito for the BBC about the trials of living under the oppression of the Taliban reign. She had a strong voice and she spoke out against the Taliban and its attempts to ban the education of women.
She was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011. She won the National Peace Prize in Pakistan, where there is a school named for her.
As I put this to paper, she is in critical condition following surgery. Arrangements are in place to move her out of Pakistan as soon as she is stable so she may receive better care for her injuries.
Ihsanullah Ihsan, a head spokesman for the Taliban, and a man I can only imagine to be as ugly as his deeds, already claimed responsibility for the attack. He called this girl a symbol of obscenity, said that she has spread negative propaganda.
Well, that is what he says. But she did not spread her word with bullets and death warrants and she did not speak her mind with the language of hate. Ihsan has no claim to condemn obscenity.
What could be more obscene than putting a bullet in the head of a young girl for fighting for her right to be a doctor one day? Violence and hate are the final obscenities, and I can only hope that the bastards behind the deed find just punishment.
The world that Yousafzai inhabits is a different one than the world I was told of as a child, and the differences are large, and ugly. The weak among us, the frail of heart, may want to turn their eyes. They may want to ignore the outrages that stand before us, but if we have any shred of dignity and respect for our own freedoms, we will stare these obscenities straight in the eye, and condemn them for what they are: hate in its purest form. Hate for love, peace, and equality.
Bad men will always stand on the shoulders of superiority, as the Taliban stands on the shoulders of religious fanaticism and masculine bravado, but good men and women must look this superiority in the eye, and shoot it down, lay it on the ground with all the ideals that we have had the strength to desert over the past 100 years, be it racism, sexism, or the simple hatred of another for their creed.
When Yousafzai returns to her place as an outspoken voice against the wrongdoings of her country, I hope she comes back spitting the bullets that the bigoted planted in her head.
Her word is the word of countless others, the word of those who will not pick up an automatic to make their point, and so – in some places in this world – are exiled to silence. While the shots have rung out and Yousafzai has fallen, bullet holes can heal.
Statements of truth, written in ink and paid for in blood, will stay forever.
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