Pakistani schoolgirls pray for Malala’s recovery.
On Tuesday October 9th, two days before the International Day of the Girl Child, 14 year-old Malala Yousufzai and two more Pakistani girls were assaulted while returning home from school in Swat Valley. A Taliban gunman opened fire against the unsuspected schoolgirls and Malala was wounded in the head and the neck. Luckily all the girls survived the irrational attack; one having fully recovered and the other two remaining in critical condition. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have taken responsibility for the assassination attempt and told a Pakistani newspaper that "Malala was shot because 'she was a ‘secular-minded lady' and that this should serve as a warning for other young people like her."
Malala started writing an online diary in 2009, at first as an anonymous blogger under the pen name Gul Makai on BBC Urdu. She confessed about her everyday reality in a province of Pakistan and the difficulties in enjoying the right to education. Her identity was revealed later on and in 2011 she was both nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by the Kids Rights Foundation and won the National Peace Award in Pakistan. Malala spoke up against the Taliban's ban on girls’ education and she found her life often threatened. She soon became the official face of "progressive Pakistan" and expressed her aspiration to form a political party devoted to the dissemination of education.
The assassination attempt provoked massive anti-Taliban protests all over the world. Many organizations and rights activists strongly condemned the shooting, while the local authorities announced a sizable reward for any information that could help with the attacker’s arrest. This outrageous, almost fatal, incident proved that Malala was a lonely fighter against a severe political and religious system. She needed more protection and advocacy. She will surely need real support in the future. All Pakistani girls--and girls everywhere--deserve a fair and real education, a safe environment, and the freedom to dream without the fear of ruthless extremism. They should never have to feel like this:
SATURDAY 3 JANUARY: I AM AFRAID
I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.
Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban's edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.
On my way from school to home I heard a man saying 'I will kill you'. I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.
- Diary of a Pakistani schoolgirl, BBC.
Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.
Girl Museum Inc.