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The Malalas you'll never meet

The Malalas you'll never meet
October 12th, 2012
03:59 PM ET

By Gayle Lemmon, author

Editor's Note: Gayle Lemmon, author of the New York Times best-seller The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The views expressed are solely those of the author.

The attempted assassination in Pakistan of fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai by Taliban shooters is only the latest and most brazen attack on leaders brave enough to defy death threats and fight for a girl’s right to go to school.

Earlier this week gunmen boarded Malala’s school van, asked for her by name and shot her. The teenager now fights for her life in a hospital and receives visits from dignitaries who until her attempted assassination had not dared to challenge publicly the kind of extremism that views educated girls as an existential threat.

But there are many Malalas whose stories rarely are heard. Just as this courageous girl refused to silently abandon her right to education even at the risk of losing her life, women and men fight daily against a worldview that considers girls’ schools a call to action in their battle against modernity. Only Wednesday these fighters struck again in Afghanistan, bombing a girls’ high school in the largely peaceful Bamyan province. And their stories serve as a reminder of the stakes involved in the fight against extremism and for modernity.  FULL POST

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour

A woman once in Malala’s shoes

October 12th, 2012
02:13 PM ET

By Samuel Burke

Shabana Basij-Rasikh was six years old when the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan.

To get an education she enrolled in a network of underground classrooms.

Hearing the story of Malala – the teenage blogger and rights activist, shot by the Pakistani Taliban - Shabana says it could have been her.

When she was fighting to get her own education in Afghanistan, she constantly feared she would be caught by the Taliban and often saw no clear future for women.

“I was scared. I didn't want to continue. I didn't want to be killed by the Taliban. My parents, they were always the ones who kept pushing.”  FULL POST

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