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Taliban shoot girl who championed women’s education

These are the days that shatter hearts.

A 14-year old girl, Malalai Yousafzai, who has been an advocate of girls' education has been shot by the Taliban.
Here is a powerful NY Times documentary on girls' education in Swat Valley of Pakistan, where Malalai hails from.   Malalai's angelic personality comes through luminously here.

The representatives of the Taliban, Ehsanullah Ehsan, claimed responsibility on behalf of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). the Pakistani offshoot of the Taliban movement.  
The Taliban movement in Afghanistan had instituted a gender apartheid that had led to the severe restriction of women’s rights and female educations in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

The Taliban spokesperson said of Malalai:

"She was pro-west, she was speaking against Taliban and she was calling President Obama her ideal leader….
She was young but she was promoting western culture in Pashtun areas,"

This child is a symbol of ideas whose time have come, and this brutal violence can only delay the ultimate triumph of justice.

Taliban, you can't kill an idea. May we see the liberation of all of us from this mentality.

Here is a report about Malalai’s activism from UNICEF.

Malalai identifies Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Badshah Khan, Bacha Khan), the "Muslim Gandhi", as her source of inspiration.

Here is an Urdu interview with her.

She wrote an anonymous blog for BBC about the status of girls' education in Pakistan.    
She was nominated for an International Children's Peace Award for that blog.    

After she receied the National Peace Prize (which was later named after her),
she refused security, as she said:  “I feel secure in my city and don’t want to be pointed out due to deployment of security officials around me.”    

Malalai has indicated a desire to go into politics, with the goal of improving the lives of girls through education.

Responding to the destruction of schools by Taliban extremists, Malalai said: 

“Over 400 schools in Swat have been fully destroyed by militants and I would like to work for the rehabilitation of damaged schools.”

As of right now, Malalai remains in critical condition.   
Our Prayers go out to  Malalai Yousafzai, and her family.

Hang in there, angel.   
This world needs you.


Tags: education, malalai, pakistan, taliban, women's rights


  1. Please go to google, do an image search for malala yousafzai and pick you favorite photo and make it your profile pic.

  2. Praying for her recovery, Such a brave girl.

  3. Malala, so many of us are thinking of you and sending healing love! Stay with us, stay strong and heal. This article is right; the world needs you.

  4. YOU Malalai are dukhtare Islam and we stand proud because of you. Our prayers are with you and the voices who speak for you today are being heard in the heavens! God Almighty will intervene in His Divine way!

  5. What happened to Malala is an atrocious crime against humanity. May Allah make the recovery and healing process easy for her, insha’Allah. Ameen.

    I have read other posts of yours and I must say that I am really disturbed by your support for the Obama administration. When drone attacks kill young girls, their fathers, mothers, and brothers (and burn their bodies so badly that they can’t be identified), we don’t see the same kind of outrage and coverage from western media. We don’t learn the names of these victims nor do we see people putting their faces up as profile pictures. It is the cruelty and violence of western imperialism that allows this type of propaganda where a Muslim girl’s life is more important when she is attacked by other Muslims. If Malala was attacked by drones, we would never have learned about her. That’s the harsh reality.

    I’m disgusted at the hypocrisy, including from fellow Muslims who are more concerned with supporting a political party than caring for human life. All human life needs to be treated equally. Whether it’s the shooting of Malala or Obama’s drone attacks that kill so many innocent people, we need to speak out against violence and oppression on ALL fronts. Please stop supporting an administration that doesn’t think twice when it launches missiles on brown bodies.

    The world needs those children who were murdered in drone attacks, too.

  6. hi Mast Qalandar.  Thank you for your prayers of healing for Malalai.
    I am not sure how you are interpreting my critique of the Republicans as my support of the Obama administration, or being “concerned with supporting a political party more than caring for human life.”  I speak out very regularly against the drone attacks all around the country, and will continue to do so.
    My approach has been pretty constant:  Internationally, I don’t see much difference between Democrats and Republicans, though the Republicans are a bit more of a war-monger on issues of Israel and Iran.  Domestically, though, there is a world of difference between them in terms of environmental issues, education, housing, and care for the poor.  So on those issues, but not on international issues, I do support the Democrats generally.  Thank you for asking.  all the best, omid

  7. Salaam Omid,

    I appreciate the reply. I wasn’t interpreting your critique of Republicans as support for the Obama administration. As I mentioned, I have read your other posts and noticed your support for President Obama. In your post, “12 Essential Points About the Offensive Film on the Prophet Muhammad,” you cited President Obama as a positive example for Muslims to follow. Your words below:

    “Or, we can respond to these catastrophes the way that President Obama reacted to the anniversary of 9/11 by reminding us that our fates are bound up together.  Obama said:  ‘There’s no them and us - it’s just us.’”

    I guess this logic doesn’t apply when Obama is ordering drone attacks that kill other human beings in Muslim-majority countries, right? There is no “them and us” there, I suppose.

    A lot of amazing Pakistani bloggers, writers, professors, activists, etc. are posting about how outraged they are at BOTH the Taliban’s violence *and* the way western media and commentators are using Malala as a means to justify drone attacks.

    Professor Fouzi Slisli writes: “If Malala had been killed in a drone attack, you would neither have heard updates on her medical status, nor would she be called ‘daughter of the nation,’ nor would the media make a fuss about her. General Kiyani would not have come to visit her and neither would the world media be constantly reporting on it. The pliant Western media and its liberals do not give even 1% of this attention to the Pakistani and Yemeni girls their government kills with drones everyday. Even humanitarian outrage, they only express it when it serves the interests of their snake governments.”

    When the lives of Pakistanis are exploited to advance deadly drone warfare, which has already claimed over 1,000 people, it becomes crucial for us to speak out against the way this atrocity is being framed. A lot of liberals and right-wingers alike are voicing their support for the war, making statements like, “Drones are the best option” to fight the “terrorists.” Have you read the “Living Under Drones” Standford/NYU report released recently? After reading it, I don’t know anyone can take Obama’s words seriously.

    All people deserve to be treated equally. Why don’t we hear the stories about victims affected by US drones? Where are their pictures? Why hasn’t Amnesty International posted anything about them? Is Madonna going to sing a song for them? As I said before, violence and oppression needs to be confronted on all fronts, no matter who does it. The reason why we don’t hear about the drone attack victims is because mainstream western media doesn’t want to report the murders that the U.S. commits. Also, why hasn’t much been said about the Pakistani protests against the shooting of Malala? I guess showing Pakistanis expressing outrage over the shooting would humanize Pakistanis. But we can’t have that, can we? The U.S. just needs more drones to - how does it go? - save brown women from brown men.

  8. Sorry, I meant to write:

    A lot of amazing Pakistani bloggers, writers, professors, activists, and *allies* are posting critiques about how this story is being framed and exploited.

    Also, I don’t mean to discredit anything you’re saying. I’m just saying it’s a serious issue when people are calling for more drone attacks after the shooting of Malala. I also wanted to share my critique of your positive statements about Obama. I just found it problematic to cite him a positive example when he has the blood of Afghans, Pakistanis, Somalis, Yemenis, and Palestinians on his hands.

    Thanks for reading.

  9. dear Mast Qalandar, I do agree with what you say about the hypocrisy of remaining silent about victim attacks while lamenting the victims of Taliban.  That’s a fair and good point, and I am delighted that Pakistani activists and bloggers are making that point.
    When it comes to Obama, I am more torn.  I am in full agreement with you that he has blood on his hands, in Afghanistan, Palestine, Yemen, Pakistan, and elsewhere.  You are also right that such an action has to be called out.  Where I might disagree slightly is that within the skewed spectrum of American politics, it is still meritorious, I would hold, to have someone say that we have to reject the “us vs. them” language.  Although yet again, ultimately the measure of any person is not just their words, but their actions. 
    Thank you for your points.

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