Malala Yousufzai, a 14 year old free speech activist, a blogger against the Taliban, and a proponent for girls’ education, from Pakistan’s Swat Valley, was shot on Tuesday by Taliban gunmen as she was getting in a van with classmates coming home from school. It is being considered a targeted attack because they stopped the van and made sure that the girl was Malala before opening fire on all of the girls. She received a major wound to the neck, and has since been moved to a military hospital in Rawalpindi, where she is in critical condition. The doctors have managed to remove the bullet from her neck, but she is suffering from edema, which is an abnormal retention of fluid, which is causing excess swelling. So far the 14 year old has remained unconscious and unresponsive.
Yousufzai originally became involved in activism at the age of 11, when she was an anonymous blogger for the BBC’s Urdu language service. She blogged about the truth about life for girls and women under the Taliban, and her identity was only revealed after they were thrown out of the Swat Valley in 2009. She wrote about how girls were being forced to stay home from school, and voiced criticism of the regime, and has since continued to campaign for girls’ education. She was nominated for a Children’s Nobel Peace prize in 201, and won Pakistan’s first national peace prize that same year.
The Taliban has since claimed responsibility for the attack, and are defending it on religious grounds, because “It’s a clear command of Shariah that any female that by any means plays a role in war against Mujahedeen should be killed.” They have also claimed that they will try again if she survives.
Our hearts here at Paper Droids go out the family of this brave, intelligent girl, and we hope the perpetrators are caught and brought to justice. We sincerely hope that she recovers from her wounds and continues to fight for the rights of girls in Pakistan. The Pakistani government is offering a reward of $100,000 for any information that leads to the capture of Malala’s shooters.
If you’re interested in helping Malala’s crusade for the education and empowerment of girls and women, check out the Because I am a Girl campaign, as today is, sadly and ironically, the International Day of the Girl.