Last week in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai, a fourteen year old girl, was shot in the head by the Taliban, those evil purveyors of madness. They accused her of “promoting western culture,” which to the Taliban means not rock music or miniskirts, though they despise those things, but education. Malala was targeted only because she dared to stand up for a girl’s right to education.
The Taliban, those miserable cowards, strive to prevent all manner of education for girls for they know that is women who weave the tapestry and the soul of a nation. If a woman is educated, if she can read and write and dream of better things, she passes on those dreams to her children, her neighbors and eventually her countrymen. And for the hated Taliban, an educated populace is the only thing they really fear.
And Malala, who’d become something of a local and then an international celebrity, celebrated by world leaders and international media, had returned to her small village in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and was attending school with other girls in the region. Returning home on a school bus filled with other young girls and sharing laughter and conversation after a day filled with lessons and quiet, the Taliban, armed with guns, stopped the bus and stormed on board.
“Malala,” they are said to have called out. “We are looking for Malala Yousafzai.’” When they found her, huddled in her seat, they shot her at point blank range before making good their own escape. Can you imagine the moments of terror for this girl, for all of those girls on that bus who dared to defy the Taliban?
The heroism of this young freckle faced girl takes my breath away, and I want to do something to help though I’m not sure exactly what. But I do know that when good people stand together against evil, then goodness will win. Malala has fought this fight alone, but let’s join her now and change the world.