Monday, October 15, 2012

Malala Yousafzai

(Editorial cartoon by Kevin Siers / The Charlotte Observer (October 11, 2012) and featured at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge and then return.)

One of the most horrific stories coming out over the past weeks has been the story of the Taliban's targeting a 14-year-old girl for being "immodest," i.e., insisting on going to school.  The Taliban don't want girls to get an education so she was to be assassinated

The police said Friday that they had made several arrests in connection with the Taliban’s shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old education activist who was critically injured, but militant commanders in northwestern Pakistan reiterated their intention to kill the schoolgirl or her father.

“The next 48 hours will be critical,” Mr. Ashraf told reporters. Extremists targeted Ms. Yousafzai, who was shot in the head while riding in a school bus on Tuesday in Mingora, because, he said, “they were scared of the power of her vision.”

“She is the true face of Pakistan,” he added. ...

Sirajuddin Ahmad, the spokesman for the Taliban in the Swat Valley, said that Ms. Yousafzai became a target because she had been “brainwashed” into making anti-Taliban statements by her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai.

“We warned him several times to stop his daughter from using dirty language against us, but he didn’t listen and forced us to take this extreme step,” he said.

Both father and daughter remain on the Taliban’s list of intended victims, he said..
 Malala is still alive, but in critical condition.  Her story has stirred the world, and, in a refreshing bit of news, many Muslim clerics in Pakistan have condemned the Taliban for this monstrous act.

Islamic clerics across Pakistan appeared to overwhelmingly join in the global condemnation of the Taliban’s shooting of a 14-year-old education activist as mosque-goers devoted their Friday prayers to the grievously wounded girl.

Friday afternoon services often serve as a barometer of public sentiment in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world, and with seemingly rare exceptions, many prayer leaders included mention of Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt this week in the northwestern Swat Valley.

“Malala is a brave child who raised her voice for the education of girls and women in Swat, and she was cruelly punished for that. And we condemn it,” one Islamabad cleric, Maulana Ishaq, told his congregation in representative remarks.

What remains uncertain is whether the collective revulsion of religious leaders, politicians and the military toward the Pakistani Taliban, which carried out the attack, will reduce Pakistan’s embrace of extremism in other ways.

My first response, besides outrage, is that at least our version of the Taliban isn't shooting women and little girls, but then I got to thinking about it.  Our patriarchs haven't pulled guns on uppity girls and women (at least not yet), but they have done such things as demand that our girls not get the vaccine which would prevent HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cancer, because it would make them more liable to become sexually active before marriage, just like they don't want realistic sex education for any of our kids.  Abstinence only programs are the only ones our Taliban feel are necessary.

Our Taliban don't want contraception devices available to our kids, and they don't want them available to women.  The result is sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy.  And then they don't want abortion available in any form for any reason.  And then they don't want to provide any financial assistance for the newborn (WIC, ADC, paid family leave, accessible and affordable day care).

Yes, there be monsters, but they're not only located in Pakistan.

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Blogger thurbers said...

Someone I know on Facebook posted that we don't have a war on women in America, this is what a war on women looks like.

I had to correct them. I pointed out that the fear and hatred of women not 'beholding' to men, women who were economically autonomous drives these actions and these laws (and I pointed out that some of the first things the Taliban enact as law are closing schools to women and forbidding them to work even when they are the only adult in a household).

Maybe it was because this is a subject where his conservative friends don't read on, or it is because the comment was liked by a bunch of people in the first hour, but no one has come back on it.

6:09 AM  

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