Friday, October 19, 2012

Hero's Quest

Malala was just 14 when she was shot.  Last week, men stopped her small school bus, boarded, and shot her in the head along with her two friends.  The men are Taliban.

She was 14 when she was shot.  AND she lived through it. 

Malala Yousafzai is a student and a vocal proponent for education in northern Pakistan. When she was  eleven, she began writing an anonymous blog for the BBC about her life under the Taliban.  Later, she began speaking publicly.  She was sometimes in the media, speaking about the need for girl's education. She won the National Peace Award for her courage, one of the nations highest civilian honors.  It's now called the National Malala Peace Prize.

The Taliban position, of course, is that girls belong in the home and should not be educated outside that context.  In January '09, the Taliban issued an edict banning all girls from schools. On her blog, Malala praised her father, who was operating one of the few schools that would go on to defy that order.

The Taliban have attacked and destroyed girl's schools in northern Pakistan.  They say they targeted Malala personally because she is secular-minded and critical of the militant group. Now, they are threatening to attack media agencies and kill journalists who are reporting the matter, and they're threatening to track Malala down and kill her.  And her father.

This isn't religion, of course.  This is the same dictatorial power-thinking that Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot used to justify murdering millions. Get back in line or die!

After being attacked, Malala was finally airlifted from Pakistan to the U.K.  The U.A.E. provided the medical evacuation flight.

Pakistan Taliban
London (CNN) "-- Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai stood for the first time after her shooting Friday morning and is "communicating very freely," according to the director of the UK hospital where she is undergoing treatment."

Malala shooting ...
"Malala can't talk because she has a tracheotomy tube inserted to protect her airway, which was swollen after her gunshot injury, but she is writing coherent sentences," said Dave Rosser, director of University Hospitals Birmingham.

"The latest progress report ... could make a good recovery."  CNN

Pakistanis pray for Malala.
The bullet went through Malala's head from behind her left eye and down through her jaw.  There's some damage to her brain, but the doctors say she's thinking well and writing notes, and today she's even standing up with help.  The brain injury, doctors note, means that she is just at the beginning of a long recovery process.

Thousands in Pakistan and thousands more around the world have joined the protest begun by this gutsy young girl.  She was just eleven years old when she took up her simple cause.  Now, perhaps Pakistan will have had enough of the Taliban and their ways.

Every hero's quest is hard.  If it was easy, we wouldn't need a hero, would we.
We wish her well, and her family and friends also.  Can you imagine how her father must feel?  Despite the blinding sorrow of seeing his daughter in pain and in danger, through tears and anguish and fear, still he knows; his daughter is a hero.  She's changed her world.

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