The shooting of Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousufzai

The Telegraph reports: A 14-year-old Pakistani girl who campaigned to promote education and expose extremist brutality has been shot in the head by gunmen from the Pakistani Taliban in a retaliatory attack.

Malala Yousafzai was on her way home from school in the former militant stronghold of Swat when two men opened fire, shooting her in the forehead and injuring two other girls.

Witnesses said a bearded man had asked for the girl by name before opening fire.

Her work earned her international recognition and numerous peace awards after she was revealed as the brave seventh grader who wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC’s Urdu service when the Taliban controlled Swat in 2009.

But it also brought death threats.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, accusing her of promoting Western, secular values.

“This was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter,” he said. “We have carried out this attack.”

Reuters adds: Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said his group was behind the shooting.

“She was pro-West, she was speaking against Taliban and she was calling President Obama her ideal leader,” Ehsan said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“She was young but she was promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas,” he said, referring to the main ethnic group in northwest Pakistan and southern and eastern Afghanistan. Most members of the Taliban come from conservative Pashtun tribes.

The Express Tribune reports: The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which attacked National Award Peace winner Malala Yousafzai on Tuesday have said that they will target her again if she survives because she was a “secular-minded lady”.

A TTP spokesperson told The Express Tribune that this was a warning for all youngsters who were involved in similar activites and added that they will be targeted if they do not stop.

Channel Four News aired this report:

Adam Ellick at the New York Times interviewed Malala extensively in a 2009 documentary that was rebroadcast on Al Jazeera:

Ellick writes: The Malala I know transformed with age, from an obedient, rather shy girl 11-year-old into a publicly fearless teenager consumed with taking her activism to new heights. Her father’s personal crusade to restore female education seemed contagious. He is a poet, a school owner and an unflinching educational activist. Ziauddin is truly one of most inspiring and loving people I’ve ever met, and my heart aches for him today. He adores his two sons, but he often referred to Malala as something entirely special. When he sent the boys to bed, Malala was permitted to sit with us as we talked about life and politics deep into the night.

After the film was seen, Malala became even more emboldened. She hosted foreign diplomats in Swat, held press conferences on peace and education, and as a result, she won a host of peace awards. Her best work, however, was that she kept going to school.

In the documentary, and on the surface, Malala comes across as a steady and calming force, undeterred by anxiety or risk. She is mature beyond her years. She never displayed a mood swing, and never complained about my laborious and redundant interviews.

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5 thoughts on “The shooting of Malala Yousafzai

  1. Leslie Garrett

    I have spent time in Swat over a thirty year period off and on, and nobody has ever wanted to hear about it. The ancient mosques there are ancient, because they were animist temples before the area converted to Islam. The ancient eternal fire still burned in the one in Kalam. They had merely added a long porch and installed a mihrab on one side to point the way to Mecca. The nasty stories that we hear about the aggressive forceful spread of Islam are disproved by simply looking at pictures of Swat. The entire Western media gives a very biased view of everything regarding Islam, and of course Pakistan is rarely shown in an attractive light. Next door is the forth Anglo-Afghan war. What possible justification could there be for these Anglos to keep beating people in Central Asia into submission when they never threaten Britain or America or Canada or Australis or New Zealand in any way, or Germany or France or Russia. What right do these neo-Vikings have beating these people up periodically to keep their war industries and career ladders flushed with funds? What business is it of anyone in America or Europe what goes on in Pakistan? When the last helicopter pulls away from an abandoned US Embassy complex in Kabul there are a lot of women in that part of the world who will pay the price for wallowing in Western ways while their men’s hands were tied.

  2. Paul Woodward

    Leslie Garrett – I put you on moderation a long time ago because of your tendency to make anti-Semitic comments. Now you seem to be insinuating that Malala Yousafzai is paying “the price for wallowing in Western ways”.

    Take your twisted thoughts somewhere else. They don’t belong here.

  3. Basil

    It is suspect to me. Another article I read about this sad incident mentioned most people in Pakistan support the Taliban, except when things like this happens and public opinion turns against them. Then an attack by the Pakistani military happens. The article didn’t read between the lines, but I couldn’t help myself. I suppose we are supposed to believe the Taliban blew up Benazir Bhutto too and the brutal military puppet dictator or his handlers(the US state taxpayers!) she dared to challenge had anything to do with it. Naturally America is on the side of women and the Taliban are just little devils, mindless evil ideologues, like the polar opposite to the point of being the same thing as our commie stereotypes, they say secular instead of capitalist or bourgeois. I have my suspicions of the official story here and how I am “supposed” to feel about is as an American, how it is assumed it will effect my emotions. Lets just say the Taliban did it, I wonder how many dozens of little boys and girls we will kill in our righteous indignation at the Taliban, is it ok because our murder of children is merely “collateral damage” ? I literally see people comment ok these Taliban are really evil, its time to take the gloves off and start launching cruise missiles.

  4. Leslie Garrett

    I will leave your site Paul, but in banishing me you are certainly losing your most knowledgable reader regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan, Palestine and the Arab world. Not many of your readers has many times wandered off into the wilds alone in native dress for months at a time in all those places.

    None of your ancestors back a few generations would have thought it appropriate in any way for fourteen-year-old girls to go about in public places during war time taking political positions seen as favouring their enemies. It is not the right of the West to take its barbaric North European prejudices, its tatoos, alcohol, and queens, their faith in democracy even, and ram it down the throats of other people. Those people in Central Asia are what they are, and they are not going to be changed over night by NATO-built schools (I may well have been in more Afghan schools than anyone else alive), and when this invasion fails like the one in Vietnam, a lot of poor, misled little girls are going to pay a stiff price for thinking that American meddling was going to change the world. According to UN documents that I can supply, the percentage of girls in school in Afghanistan reached an all time high under the Taliban government not long before it was removed. The Swedish Committee will verify that also. What those men in Central Asia do or do not do with their women is none of your business, and it is not anti-Jewish to point out that most of the news sources that bring you all that you think you know about Afghanistan are Jewish owned. The police officers whom I know in North America tell me that alcohol is at the bottom of most abuse of women in their world, and until the Americans came and all the bars and brothels in Kabul were opened, I never saw any alcohol drunk in Afghanistan, except by the American spies Louis and Nancy Dupree.

    It is people like you who have helped with the propaganda effort for that malicious, destructive, long war. You help carry the myth along that the occupation is one huge service project there to free women, when it is nothing but a feeding frenzy for corporations and careers. You really missed the boat big time this round, anti-Semitic, my ass. My Hebrew is far far better than my Dhari or Arabic, once I took the entire Ulpan course in Jerusalem, and I have worked in the field with both major universities several times. I just received in the mail recently a book, in Hebrew, about Jews in Afghanistan in which I am a major contributor. It is jerks like you who will not allow anyone ever to challenge Jewish intellectual dominance — you are the ones who are going to be most responsible for the next round of Anne Franks, not guys like me who have spent a lifetime, seeing this coming, and working for understanding.

    I do, however, thank you for actually addressing me and having your say. It is an grand example of its kind that I will save.

  5. Paul Woodward

    Leslie — I attempted to respond to your “farewell” comment by email but the address you provided appears to be fake – my response bounced straight back. So, I’ll make my response public.

    Firstly, if you were being “banished” from my site I would block your IP address which would mean you couldn’t view it (unless you used someone else’s computer).

    Secondly, you suffer from a conceit surprisingly common among people who post comments: you imagine that the comments are representative of the site’s readership. You might be among the most knowledgeable commenters but I know enough of my readers directly to know that the most knowledgeable among them do not leave comments.

    “It is people like you who have helped with the propaganda effort for that malicious, destructive, long war.” My short response to that is: bullshit. All that tells me is how little time you’ve spent reading the contents of this site over the decade that I’ve been running it. From the outset, my opposition to the war in Afghanistan and the war on terrorism has been consistent.

    Indeed, part of the impetus for me creating this site was a keen awareness based on my own very limited but direct experience of Afghanistan (I was there for a month in 1978) that the Americans hadn’t the faintest idea what they were involving themselves in when they embarked on their catastrophic response to 9/11.

    “It is jerks like you who will not allow anyone ever to challenge Jewish intellectual dominance…” — there you go again. The irony of the arrogant mind is that it has formed the conviction that it has everything to teach and nothing to learn. But again, if you had taken the time to read more of War in Context and were less infatuated with your own opinions, you wouldn’t make such an ignorant statement.

    I oppose all forms of cultural imperialism — the forceful imposition of one culture upon another. And for the very same reason condemn the men who shot Malala Yousafzai. Just because someone hoists the banner of Islam, that doesn’t make them a guardian of the indigenous culture. The very fact that the Taliban have to use murder and intimidation to consolidate their power is evidence of their own cultural marginality. No doubt wanting to drive out the armies of imperial powers is a noble cause, but targeting a 14 year old girl is both cowardly and idiotic. And for an observer in Canada to then imply that she had it coming to her because she had been beguiled by the evil West — that’s really pathetic.

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