Malala - 14 Year Old Girl Shot By Taliban
No one needs to tell us we are living in a terrible world where terrible things happen. We always like to think the children are safe, but we know sadly, even this is not true. Recent headlines tell us of a 14 year old Pakistani girl who was deliberately targeted and shot by the Taliban.
Islamic terrorist groups recruit children as suicide bombers, use them as human shields, and murder children that don't conform to their standards (wearing western-style haircuts for example). This is not what the civilized world is used to seeing especially when it comes to children. Islamic terrorist groups are using children and as we have now seen, they do not want children, especially girls, to become educated. This is a human rights issue no matter where or why it has occurred. These terrorist groups have been indoctrinating children for more than ten years throughout the Middle East. Yet the world does not interfere for fear of upsetting the Islamic terrorists and Taliban.
Malala Yousufzai, who lived in a town in the Northwest of Pakistan was deliberately shot in the head and neck for speaking out against the Taliban and promoting education for young girls.
Malala is a normal 14 year old girl living in the Swat Valley with her family. A ninth grader who has been promoting education for girls in Pakistan. It has been said she started a blog when she was only 11 years old (under a pseudonym) telling about life under Taliban rule. One of her blog entries tells about when she wore a pink dress to school she was told not to wear it again because the Taliban would not like it.
Last year she was awarded Pakistan's first Youth Peace Award from Pakistan's Prime Minister. Malala's father ran a school for girls but it was shut down by the Taliban last year.
"We were being threatened. A couple of times, letters were thrown in our house, that Malala should stop doing what she is doing or the outcome will be very bad," her father, sounding drained and despondent, said by telephone.
"She is candle of peace that they have tried to blow out," said one Pakistani man, Abdul Majid Mehsud, 45, from the violence plagued South Waziristan region. (Both quotes from Chicagotribune.com, October 10, 2012)
Malala felt safe because she believed she was doing good. One of her classmates said Malala wanted to build schools for young girls. Did I say she was a normal child? She may have been normal but she was also extraordinary!
Adam B. Ellick did a two part documentary on Malala back in 2009. As a result he became friends with Malala and her father. Adam said, "The Malala I know transformed with age from an obedient, rather shy 11-year-old into a publicly fearless teenager consumed with taking her activism to new heights." He describes Malala's father as a "poet, a school owner and an unflinching educational activist."
But the more I read about this young girl and looked at her photographs and videos, the more I was taken by her warm smile, inner charm and outer beauty. She is a girl we would all be proud to call daughter or granddaughter. A very young girl standing up for her convictions under incredible pressure, pressure that included fear for her life and her family.
Vigils for the injured Malala
Taliban boarded her school bus to shoot her. She had just gotten on the bus when a bearded man got on the bus...he shot Malala and two other girls on the bus. Malala was hit in the head and neck. It is said the bullet to her skull passed through her skull without hitting her brain. The bullet in her neck was removed by Pakistani doctors. All three girls are expected to survive according to early reports.
This was an assassination attempt....there is no other word for it. The Taliban boasts about the attempt on this 14 year old girl. What is to stop them from shooting other children who do not do exactly as they say? The Taliban have taken full credit for the attack and have even claimed if she lives they will shoot her again and have even warned they will shoot her father. And we stand by and wait?
The Pakistani Taliban issued a letter justifying their shooting of Malala. they say it is their duty to shoot anyone who leads a campaign against Islam and Shariah. The letter also accuses Malala of being "pro-West"..the letter then cites passages in the Koran where a child or woman was killed. The letter ends with; "If anyone thinks that Malala is targeted because of education, that's absolutely wrong and is propaganda by media. Malala is targeted because of her pioneer role in preaching secularism and so-called enlightened moderation. And whom so ever will commit so in the future too will be targeted again by the TTP."
Pakistani police, however, do not agree with the Taliban and have arrested a number of suspects.
In the meantime, Malala has been moved to the UK where doctors say she is making a good recovery. They do agree though her recovery could take months. Doctors also said she will receive specialized care. Malala will be treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in central England. This hospital is well known for its treatment of soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
What effect will all of this have on the Taliban and Pakistan? Will people finally realize enough is enough. Will Malala's bravery be a light to all children in every country? As we pray for Malala's recovery let us also pray that her sacrifices make a change in the world.
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Attendance is down at the school run by Malala's father. It seems the girls and their families are afraid after Malala's attack. The principal of the school has confirmed there have been threats against the school.
One of the other girls shot when Malala was shot is 16 year old Kainat. From her hospital bed she said she wants to tell all girls to continue their education. "God willing, I will continue my education," she said. "I want to tell you that when I think about what happened, it's still in my head and sometimes it's terrifying," she said. The attackers shot a third girl, who also survived. (from CNN; http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/17/world/asia/pakistan-teen-attack/index.html)
Queen Elizabeth Hospital has posted on their website that Malala continues to remain stable and her family is still with her. (http://www.uhb.nhs.uk/news/malala-yousafzai-status-updates.htm)
Malala in the Hospital - sitting up
On November 13, Congresswoman Jackson Lee officially recognized Malala's bravery in a session of the House of Representatives and requested she be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her bravery. Pakistan intends to open schools for poor children and call them Malala schools in her honor. November 10 was marked and celebrated as "Malala Day" by the United Nations. Lahore College awarded 15 scholarships to women, named Malala Scholarships. Thousands have signed a petition to award Malala the Nobel Peace Prize....the list goes on and on. Yes, she has made a difference.
Malala has been making excellent progress, attributed to her age by doctors. They also said her complete recovery will take some time. Pictures have been released of Malala sitting up in bed reading, or talking with her father. Statements issued say she is able to walk, talk and read.
Further surgery will be needed to repair the part of her skull that was 'fractured' by the bullet.
Update April 29, 2013
Malala has her own blog which I recently visited to obtain updated information. Malala began attending school in Birmingham in the UK on March 20, 2013. She is also in the process of writing a book about her life. She wants to continue to work for the children of the world. It is said there she will be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
On April 5 Malala announced an educational grant was being set up in her name. The grant will be used for education for children in Swat, Pakistan, where Malala grew up.
Which of the following do you think may happen?
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Update October 8, 2013 - One Year Later
While this will be my last update to this hub it will certainly not be the last you hear about Malala. One year after the attempt on her life Malala is flourishing. After three months in the hospital and multiple surgeries Malala's full recovery has only cemented her resolve. She attends an all girls school in England and lives with her family in Birmingham.
ABC calls her shooting "the shot heard round the world".
On her sixteenth birthday in July she delivered an address to the United Nations, asking the world to provide education to all children around the globe. She received a standing ovation!
I leave you with two quotes by this amazing young woman;
"It feels like this life is not my life. It's a second life. People have prayed to God to spare me and I was spared for a reason - to use my life for helping people."
"They thought the bullets would silence us, but they failed. And then, out of the silence, came thousands of voices."
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I raise up my voice - not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.— Malala Yousafzai
Update February 25, 2015
In October 2014, Malala became the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala won Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize in 2011, before she was shot, but the prize has since been renamed in her honor; it’s now the National Malala Peace Prize. She was shortlisted for TIME’s Person of the Year in 2012, and was one of the TIME 100 in 2013. She won a Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice in 2012 and the 2013 Simone de Beauvoir Prize for international human rights work on behalf of women’s equality. (from Time.com)