Saturday, October 13, 2012

Malala Yousafzai, Wounded Pakistan teen is now face of girls education movement

Malala Yousafzai, who publicly demanded an education and was shot by Taliban militants, becomes a potent symbol for the global push to improve developing countries by educating their girls. - Scott Gold/Los Angeles Times

Malala Yousafzai did not trade in her modest head scarf for a pair of skinny jeans. She wanted to go to school.

For that, the Taliban tried to kill her. When her attackers learned that the freckled 14-year-old Pakistani might survive, they promised to finish the job. Malala, they explained, had been "promoting Western culture."

The Taliban has committed all manner of atrocities over the years, many of them aimed at women. This time, the militants created an icon for a global movement — for the notion that the most efficient way to propel developing countries is to educate their girls. The idea has been flourishing in some of the world's most destitute and volatile places. Today, courtesy of the Pakistani Taliban, it has a face.

"People think 'Western values' is wearing jeans and sipping pop. Malala was doing none of that," said Murtaza Haider, a Pakistan native and the associate dean of research and graduate programs at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto's Ryerson University. "All she said was: 'Would you be kind enough to reopen my school?' This is what the Taliban thinks is a 'Western value.' This is not a Western value. This is a universal value."

Outrage in Pakistan over girl, but change unlikely - AFP/Sunday Nation (image source)


Malala Yousufzai Comes Out of Her Coma - Dashiell Bennett/The Atlantic

There are more reports out England today that 14-year-old Taliban shooting victim Malala Yousufzai is responding well to treatment and has a good chance of fully recovering without any brain damage. Adam Elick of The New York Times reports on Facebook that she has come out of her coma (though she is not fully concious) and appears to have feelings in all her limbs, suggesting that she hasn't suffered any permanent physical damage as result of her attack. Malala was flown to the United Kingdom this weekend after having a bullet removed from her skull by doctors in Pakistan.