14-year old Malala Yousafzai is in a hospital bed with with a Taliban bullet lodged near her brain. Her crime? To speak up for girl's rights to education against the wishes of Islamic fundamentalists.
In 2009, aged just 11, Malala's village in Pakistan was overrun by Taliban fighters. She spoke to the media at the time of her horror at perhaps being stopped by the Taliban of fulfilling her dream to be educated and eventually become a doctor. With her words she became a symbol of hope for many girls and women who's aspirations were dashed by cultural and religious dogma that claimed education women beyond the household chores was an abomination.
As a smiling children made their way by bus to school on Tuesday masked Taliban terrorists stormed the bus and in a hail of bullets shot Malala in the head and neck. In doing so they also hit two other girls.
All three girls survived the initial attack but Malala was taken in a critical condition to hospital in Peshawar, a bullet lodged up against her brain. On Wednesday morning surgeons operated on her and removed the bullet. She is now reported as in a stable condition.
Malala's thoughts originally came to the attention of the world when she wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC and spoke of her fears of the Taliban and her hopes for a future free from Taliban strictures. Malala then featured in American documentaries and became a powerful voice for the rights of children. In 2011, she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize.
The Taliban telephoned Pakastani authorities to confirm that Malala Yousafzai was the target of the attack and that this was a a punishment for her and a warning to others. The Taliban spokesperson, Ehsanullah Ehsan, went on to say that Malala's crusade for education rights for women was an “obscenity.” He warned that if Malala survived she would be attacked again.
Malala continues to be treated for her injuries whilst Pakistan security forces round up suspected Taliban insurgents as they search for her attackers.
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