Her 'crime' was wanting an education
BY MIKE JONES Associate Editor
Sunday, October 21, 2012
10/21/12 at 4:03 AM
We argue over who is the best political candidate for education. We wonder how much money will be available or cut from budgets. We worry over how many students will be in each class. All important issues and ones that ought to concern us.
Even as we fuss over such issues, every American parent knows that no matter who wins an election their children will get an education. We might not agree on how to offer an education or how much money to spend, but we at least know that an education is guaranteed.
In an English hospital, a 14-year-old girl fights for her life because she was not guaranteed an education - and she stood up to fight for one.
Voice of freedom
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who defied the Taliban, spoke of freedom and defiantly went to school, was shot in the head because, according to her attempted assassins, she was becoming too Westernized.
When Malala was 11, she began her quest to make education available to all girls in her province in the Swat Valley along the Afghanistan border.
The border provinces are more susceptible to Taliban influence due to their close proximity to Afghanistan, where the Taliban has its roots.
At 11, Malala decided she wanted to be a doctor and now it is doctors who are fighting to make sure her dream can come true one day.
Malala has kept up her crusade for three years. As she fought to make education available to all girls, she became the symbol of freedom and defiance against subjugation.
This, the cowardly Taliban found unacceptable. On Oct. 9, two Taliban stopped a school bus crowded with children, found Malala and shot her in the head. Two other girls also were wounded but less severely.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the Taliban, proudly confirmed that Malala has been the target of assassination. He called her crusade for equality an "obscenity" and vowed to try to kill her again if she survives.
Such actions and statements show just how backward the Taliban is. In their warped mind, they believe that by killing Malala, they are doing justice for their people and likely expected either acceptance or, more likely, to strike fear into Pakistani parents and their daughters who choose to go to school.
What they got instead was an international outpouring of sympathy for Malala and almost universal disdain for the Taliban.
Pakistanis reacted with rage toward the Taliban and demanded action. The government announced a reward of more than $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the attackers. There were some reports that there had been arrests, but no confirmation.
Malala was moved from Pakistan to a hospital in England where she remains under close guard while she tries to recover. The hospital reported Friday that she stood with the aid of nurses. Malala can't talk because she has a tracheotomy tube inserted to protect her airway, but she is writing coherent sentences.
Pakistan has been troublesome since the beginning of the Afghan War. It was in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden found refuge until a group of Navy SEALs found him. It is in Pakistan, especially in the provinces near Afghanistan, where the Taliban fled coalition forces.
There have been charges of elements of the Pakistan military and security forces aiding Taliban fighters and tipping them off to U.S. military operations. That is why Pakistan was not informed before the attack on bin Laden.
Might the attack on Malala, as horrible as it was, be the catalyst to finally get the Pakistani government to get serious about ridding the country not only of the Taliban and to crack down on any terrorist group hiding in Pakistan?
Could this be the event that shocks the world, especially the Muslim world, into unified action against terrorism? Or will the attack soon be forgotten like many other terrorist atrocities and the Taliban allowed to return to its thuggery and sanctuary?
I'm not calling Malala Joan of Arc, but what this young girl has done and the price she has paid for her bravery goes far beyond the ordinary.
Listening to interviews with her before this attack, you realize that she is very different. She is wise and intelligent beyond her years. Her passion for education and the right of all girls to receive one is awe-inspiring.
And, whether the Taliban o believe it or not, the Prophet Muhammad seems to agree with her. The Hadith is a collection of sayings by Muhammad. In the Hadith of Tirmidhi, Muhammad said: "A father gives his child nothing better than a good education."
Sometimes good comes from acts of evil. It is hoped that from this evil act a movement can begin that will see that girls worldwide will receive the promise of a safe education if they choose one.
Isaiah 11:6 of the Old Testament says, "and a little child shall lead them."
Could that child be fighting for recovery in an English hospital? Will, decades from now, girls freely learn of Malala in their history books?
Original Print Headline: Inspiration
Mike Jones, 918-581-8332
A photograph of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai is seen during a candlelight vigil by Nepalese students to express their support for her in Katmandu, Nepal. Yousufzai was shot along with two classmates by a Taliban gunman while they were on their way home from school on Oct. 9. NIRANJAN SHRESTHA/Associated Press