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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. 

Pakistan’s FM: Malala attack possible turning point for Pakistan

Khan Mohammad is one of these unheralded citizens battling the extremism that seeks to overtake his country. The head of the Porak girls’ school in Logar province, a mere hour from Afghanistan’s capital, Khan Mohammad ignored a series of Taliban warnings to stop teaching his students. In May 2011 Taliban shooters ended his fight to educate half the country with a series of bullets. He died near his home. Few headlines attended his murder, but he is and was not alone in his quest to keep girls in school.

For years I have interviewed young women as courageous and committed as Malala and Khan Mohammad who refuse to submit to threats to abandon their education and their future dreams. One young midwife told me that she decided to pursue her profession to save women’s lives after her father rushed her out of Kandahar during the Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan in the late 1990s. It seems a Taliban fighter wanted to marry her – an offer her father could never have refused – so he invented a family wedding in Pakistan and whisked all of his daughters back to Kabul where they lived until the Taliban fell in 2001. As soon as schools reopened in 2002 her father insisted she return to her studies. In 2004 she joined the first class of midwifery training.

This year the fight to keep girls in school has grown even tougher as the Taliban turns classrooms into battlefronts to a greater extent than ever before. The United Nations mission in Afghanistan says it verified 34 attacks against schools in just the first six months of this year, “including cases of burnings of school buildings, targeted killings and intimidation of teachers and school officials, armed attacks against and occupation of schools, and closures, particularly of girls’ schools.” Note the targeted killing of teachers and educators such as Khan Mohammad. And let us ask ourselves why, exactly, their fight matters?

Often I am asked whether we are “imposing America’s views” when it comes to promoting girls’ education in a country like Afghanistan? My answer is that those pushing this struggle forward are not foreign. They are people like Khan Mohammad, the teachers assassinated simply for going to work and the young midwife whose father pushed her to get an education and pursue her dreams of a career. All that the world can do is to support these homegrown education fighters.

Investing in girls’ education provides among the highest returns around when it comes to goals ranging from greater food security to more robust economic growth. According to a 2004 report from Barbara Herz and Gene Sperling, every additional year of primary education offers women a 10 to 20 percent increase in earnings, and each additional year of secondary education can increase future wages by 15 to 25 percent. As the World Bank notes, increasing the number of women who complete secondary education by merely 1 percent boosts annual per capita income growth by .3 percent. And in a desperately poor country like Afghanistan where per capita GDP hovers around $500, every bit of growth is needed.

But beyond the economic benefits, girls’ education fosters stability. Nobel Prize winner Amarty Sen argues that “perhaps there is no clearer route to economic development, political stability, and ultimately peace, than education.” Today close to 40 million of the 70 million children who are out of school come from countries struggling against armed conflict. And as Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said, “a better-educated world is a safer world because low educational attainment is one of the few statistically significant predictors of violence.”

And yet violence is what continues to greet those who say simply that going to school and educating girls is not a crime, but a right. Each day they venture out, unknown and unarmed, facing an adversary that sees homegrown leaders like Khan Mohammad as threats to be vanquished. But assassinating Khan Mohammad and shooting Malala Yousafzai will not extinguish girls’ desire to create their own, brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities, no matter where they are in the world.

Their push against forces that would take their countries backward in time and for the education that makes stability and prosperity possibility is a high-stakes battle. And everyone who desires a more peaceful world has a stake in the outcome.

You can follow Gayle Lemmon and her work on Twitter at @gaylelemmon

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Alan Beasley

    Obama calls her "bump in the road" ... it's gross!
    America needs a President – not a golfer who swings by to check email...

    October 12, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • Ross

      And you think Mitt would be the right guy? I am not going to make a judgement on you based on your this statement but it give me picture of your thought process

      October 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Reply
    • biologixco

      I didn't know Mrs BEASELY had a companion doll named Alan

      October 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • Jean

      What a disgusting misrepresentation of what the President said. That you should apply partisan politics to this tragedy is beyond cynical.

      October 15, 2012 at 1:45 am | Reply
      • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

        Partisan politics is when Mitt Romney keeps politicizing the Benghazi tragedy for political gain. During the 1984 Presidential debate between Ronald Reagan and challenger Walter Mondale, NOT once did Mondale mention the Beirut terrorist attack that killed 283 U.S. Marines. And during the 2004 Presidential debates between George W. Bush and challenger Al Gore, NOT once did Gore mention the 9/11 attacks on our homeland or the Iraq or Afghan wars as a means of scoring political points. let's face it, republicans are shameless, disgraceful and pathetic.

        October 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
      • Melanie

        Let's face it, this person is a MORAN!

        October 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Dave

      And let me guess.....you are proposing a president that will send us into another recession (near depression) like Bush? The Obama administration turned around the trend of rising unemployment for the first time in 11 years (in Oct 2009). The housing industry is climbing again for the first time since 2005. Pull you head out.

      October 15, 2012 at 1:58 am | Reply
    • Dave

      http://www.homefacts.com/offender-detail/IDSX21781/Andrew-Alan-Beasley.html

      October 15, 2012 at 2:00 am | Reply
    • Man

      TALIBAN: They are not anti Women's Education, they are ANTI WESTERN Education. They call Western Education, Haram as most of the Western education in Under developed nations is done by Christian Missionaries, they convert people to Christianity by giving money, education and Jobs.etc

      October 15, 2012 at 3:28 am | Reply
      • john

        Another false claim. Educators in Afghan (and Pakistani) schools are locals, not foreign christians.

        October 15, 2012 at 7:35 am |
      • HTofS

        Sorry to disagree. The Talibs' idea of education is to sit in Madrasa's listening to a half ignorant leader who interprets the Koran for them (since they cannot understand it because it's in Arabic) as per medieval tribal habits which have (nor ever had) any place for women. Their's is a stone age mentality meeting the modern world.

        October 15, 2012 at 8:02 am |
      • RR

        Taliban can believe whatever ideology or go to hell. No one cares. For them to shoot a little girl, trust me if GOD exists these jerks will be burnt for eternity. YOU CANNOT justify killing kids in the name of an ideology. It is not like this was an accident or collateral damage, though that is sickening. What the hell is wrong with these people? Why would anyone kill in the name is religion? How can any god agree to that??

        October 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • TJ

        If you're actually supporting the Taliban's actions here then you should be waterboarded to death just like the rest of the Taliban.

        October 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Tammy B. Dail

      Obama's perceived misstatement is not important. What's important to highlight and elevate is that this young woman did what armies, law enforcement and other leaders in Pakistan were unable to do – stand up to the Taliban !! She also brings to light the most ironic of all points – that the Taliban,with all their bravado, fear women and girls most of all -

      October 15, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
    • Ethan

      I'm not sure how this conversation became political but I use to love putting molasses on my pancakes.

      October 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
      • Wombat

        Pancakes? Got to be maple syrup for me. With some real butter. Never have cared for molasses on anything.

        October 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • Wayne

        Hey, leave molasses out of this! I can't believe you brought religion/politics/personal opinions into this discussion of confectionery toppings! You must be a mayronic hayseed republicrat/democran/talislamitian! With more of these exclamation points I smite you!!!!

        October 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • madamequeen

      Some people really abuse freedom of speech. I see that you are no exception!

      October 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  2. TribalBeat

    What about the Malala's killed by US Drone attacks?

    October 13, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • Seagull

      TribalBeat who wants to hear about them. they are killed by US not Taliban so they are not important at all.

      October 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
    • Joseph B

      Killing Taliban terrorist will save lives of girls like Malala. The Taliban are criminals.

      October 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Reply
      • SPIDER

        Talebans of jewmerica are the real criminals , the ones which use drone at other people who don't agree with their so called democracy ! If they believe in democracy then why not let people choose what they want , but try to impose their laws on others ! America is in middle east not middle east in america ,THEY ARE THE REAL CRIMINALS WHO WILL BOIL IN HELL FIRE

        October 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
      • john

        @spider

        Your theory washes out because the Taliban never give anyone a chance to vote. They just move in and take over at the point of a gun, beheading people who oppose them. Do you really think that the people of the Hindu Kush mountains want these evil, stinking and self-serivng people 'ruling' them with what they call Islamic law? Moron.

        October 15, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • rokon

      For Malalas there is no difference between Talaban and US. Both are the reason they are suffering.

      October 13, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Reply
      • kent grotz

        More bumps in the road?

        October 14, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  3. Truthsayer

    Malala and others like her are an inspiration to us all in Pakistan. However, as mentioned in the above comment, there are hundreds of Malalas and other children that have been killed in US drone strikes. US officials even refuse to comment on drone casualties, usually calling them all "militants". These unfortunate dead children are faceless and nameless. Would CNN care to publish the names and faces of these children killed by US drone strikes as well??

    October 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • Joseph B

      Drones target Taliban terrorist like those who tried to kill Malala. The Taliban are criminals.

      October 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Reply
      • TribalBeat

        Who told you drones target the Taliban? Oh right, the US government did. I would be wary of a Government that hides afar and sends Drones to do its wars. Shucks, I even have a hard time believing that they actually Killed Osama. Never saw his body even. Killed him like I killed my verizon wireless phone – Said it fell in the river. :D While nothing of the sort ever happened. But who is to say otherwise?

        The Drones have killed 100s of Malala's you'll never know.

        October 14, 2012 at 8:28 am |
      • ANgryIrish

        Maybe the Taliban should stop hiding amongst children and fight like real men instead of gutless cowards.

        October 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • john

      please provide us with the specific names and dates of children killed in drone strikes. Which village? How many militants also killed?

      October 15, 2012 at 7:44 am | Reply
    • TJ

      I trust the U.S. gov.t more than I trust some muslim on an internet message board. Honestly, the best long run solution is to nuke mecca and medina to ashes and flatten the rest of saudi arabia to the ground. Cut the head off the snake that is islam, and the rest of it will die.

      October 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • maxamad cabdullaahi

        TJ..... you are coward terrorist.... you are saying muslims should be masscred......... but is islam will eventually will destroy you ......... because you will never can destroy muslims......... you just coward

        October 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  4. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Reminds me of what Hillary Clinton had said on a visit to India after the Mumbai attacks (ref: Pakistani newspaper Dawn story Oct 24th 2011-"US Talks up Pakistan role in Afghan Peace Talks")

    She said Pakistan's relationship with the terrorists is such that "YOU KEEP SNAKES IN YOUR BACKYARD & EXPECT TO BITE ONLY YOUR NEIGHBORS" (sooner or later they will come after you!!!).

    http://dawn.com/2011/10/24/us-...

    October 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • TribalBeat

      Amit, that's true what Hillary said about the snakes and all. What she forgot to realize though was that most Pakistanis view the US as the biggest snake of them all. :P So yes the Talibans are snakes and yes the US is also viewed as a snake. Both have been biting Pakistan. ;)

      The Taliban snake seems to have all the news coverage, thanks to their stupidity. The US snake has the same zing, only they got a better PR department than the Taliban snake. That and they also have significantly more power than the Taliban snake. Snakes snakes everywhere.

      October 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  5. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Everyone in the right frame of mind shares those sentiments and wish the brave girl a speedy recovery.

    Having said that: the greatest winner in all these is the Pakistani govt, which will MISUSE the GOD SENT OPPORTUNITY to demand greater understanding (of its policy of aiding terrorists) and ASK FOR BILLIONS MORE to win the hearts & minds of those barbarians.

    So, with Pakistan the cycle just goes on, the greater the attacks the greater they can GLEEN FROM THE WEST!!!

    October 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  6. Nycole

    Why is at always “imposing America’s views”? It's not like America is the only place where women go to school. They go to school in every country in Europe, South America, Australia, eastern Asia and Canada among others.
    Why does America get the blame for everything when most of these people aren't trying to "be like America", they're simply trying to be like the entire rest of the world.

    October 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • TribalBeat

      Because America Judges these guys. The rest of the world does not get into everyone else's business. And as a Judge the US dictates foreign policy all around the world. Hence if you dictate your views, you are "Imposing Your views".

      October 13, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  7. Nandan

    There wouldn't have been any Taliban if the mothers of these people had received formal education. It is the mother alone and no one else who can put valued in the minds of children of impressionable age. By denying education to girls, a society is going to produce more and more barbarians. A society that does not respect its women has no place in the modern world.

    October 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • TribalBeat

      Its all about Poverty. Wherever in the world there is poverty and a lack of Law enforcement, such problems exist. Look at Somalia, Look at Mali, Look at Sudan, Look at Afghanistan. All these places are poor with a lot of foreign powers flexing their muscles within.

      How come nothing goes on in Nigeria? Togo? Liberia? Kenya? etc? These are poor nations too. The answer is nobody is butting into their affairs. In Pakistan you got India on one side who don't consider Pakistanis human – then on the other side of Pakistan they've got the crazy Afghanis whose Idea of peaceful life is a perpetual civil war. Then you have influx of 5 million of these Afghan refugees into Pakistan to run away from the war there.
      The US led Mujahideen transform into the Taliban. Tada!

      And then you got the US jumping up and down sending drone attacks, thinking its killing a finite enemy and not creating more in the process. Too many coaches.

      October 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply
      • Arvind

        Poor innocent Pakistan. She attacked India 3x.

        October 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
      • adnan

        attacked india or defended against india? you have your facts mixed up sir.

        October 15, 2012 at 12:29 am |
      • jalalmakbar

        Arvind, Please take care of your people first who were Murdered by your CM in the state of Gujarath in those famous riots where the Government and the Police turned who stood and watched when Civilians mostly Muslims were KILLED by hINDU MOBS in the most ghastly way possible. No thanks to the Muslim Rulers who turned India from their stone age system.

        October 15, 2012 at 7:28 am |
      • john

        complete ignorance of what is happening in foreign relations around the world. Your statement is shot through with errors and falsehoods.
        Go back to school.

        October 15, 2012 at 7:49 am |
  8. mountainlady

    It's a shame that no issue, no matter how important, escapes the taint of politics (as in Mr. Beasley's case). Education for all, especially women is above partisan squabbling. It concerns the future of the world. This is a great editorial about a vital issue. To all the comments about US drones... I can't support remote control killing myself and think we should bring our soldiers home. In the meantime, if the CNN moderators read this, could you give us information about how we can help? I would like to support all the Malalas.

    October 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  9. Luigi

    Education = Power. That is what radical Islamist fear most.

    October 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  10. Tazz

    The right to have an education is definitely not "an American view" since Islam calls for the pursuit of knowledge, especially for girls/women.

    The Taliban refuses to acknowledge this and instead, ban girls from getting an education because they know, knowledge means power and that will mean, they might be challenged on their skewed version of Islam. Kudos to Malala and those other courageous people fighting for their right of an education!

    October 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
    • Jinn the Kafir

      100% false.

      October 15, 2012 at 12:58 am | Reply
  11. mim

    I don't stand alone in feeling compassion and helplessness for what military people do to innocent people the world over. War and the fight for freedom is never glamorous, but so many heroes emerge to stand tall and gain respect of others who also wish for a peaceful and harmonious planet. We know Malala is not alone and pray that one day the rights of her people to live a fulfilled life will be born of her valiant effort to make her world a better place.

    October 14, 2012 at 12:44 am | Reply
  12. SayAsIs

    In 2008-09, the Taliban have tried to impose the so called Allah's law – Sharia in Swat region of Pakistan. Sharia, which in simple term means banning women from work and education, enforcing beards on men and head to toe covering on women, beating people for missing their daily 5 time mechanical prayers, public executions and stoning.. the list goes on and on. This girl is now facing death because she tried to exercise her freedom of speech and exposed what these neanderthals are doing using violent Islamic verses as excuse. The real culprit in all this, as anyone can see are the violent and misogynistic verses from Quran and Hadith, which Muslims are unable to refute as they are supposedly from Allah and his messenger. The moderate Muslims are beaten down into submission using the very scriptures that they believe in by the extremists.

    October 14, 2012 at 4:57 am | Reply
    • TribalBeat

      Even if I were to agree with your assessment on Islam being the "Real" Culprit, what Religion is the US following? Because the US is just as much culprit as Islam. Had the US not been waging its War Of Terror, the region would not have been the way it has become. How many have you even been to Swat!? I was there in the 1970s, 1980s. It was much different back then. What happened between then and now? Islam obviously hasn't changed in 1400 years. So what else changed? I'll tell you what changed – the US decided to wage a war Of Terror. Drone strikes. Afghani civil war. And these things didn't happen by themselves – the US initiated them.

      The US wages its war of terror – while We pakistanis are targeted, because the US itself isn't on the ground. Too afraid to lose the lives of its soldiers so they send drones. Then they have the audacity to tell us We aren't doing enough. Pakistan has lost 30,000 civilians to the US War Of Terror. How many has the US lost?! Give me a break. Find some other Culprit.

      October 14, 2012 at 8:23 am | Reply
      • 0rangeW3dge

        so true, Americans don't see themselves as others do....

        October 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
      • Arvind

        Poor Innocent Pakistanis

        October 14, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
      • john

        The US has repeatedly offered to send troops into Pakistan to help rid the taliban / al qaeda scourge. Are you saying that they should come? Your government says no.

        October 15, 2012 at 7:54 am |
      • nottolate

        "the US decided to wage a war Of Terror. Drone strikes. Afghani civil war. And these things didn't happen by themselves"

        Putting the cart before the horse aren't ya? Have you forgotten 911? Thats what started the whole thing and it was muslims that did. How convenient to forget that. Figures....

        October 15, 2012 at 10:06 am |
      • jillscherb7

        For nottolate: Actually, it started before 9/11 if you look at the history of Afghanistan and the Taliban. During the Cold War, the former U.S.S.R sent troops in 1979 to Afghanistan to support the then Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in their fight with the mujahideen.

        The mujahideen were supported, in turn, by Pakistan and the United States. The Soviets departed in 1988-89 under Gorbechev. The mujahideen continued to be supported by the United States, but ultimately, with "Arab" support (Al Quaeda), they turned on their former supporters. The Taliban are but one of the many mujahideen groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.

        Actually, the term "mujahideen" arose around 1829 when mountain people in Afthanistan fought the British and, again, in 1857, during the India Mutiny of 1857, when Afghaniis supported those who fought the British in northwest India.

        It would seem that the Taliban, then, are a peculiar creature of the West, whether formed in battle against colonialism or as supported by the West in a battle against the former U.S.S.R. Dissension between quite different sects in Islamic areas of the world add to the complex mixture of political, geographic, religious, and social influences. Anyone who takes a simplistic view, "us" vs. "them," is ignoring the long histories behind current events.

        There is also a quite lively long-term political history between India and Pakistan, involving the West (the U.S. and Great Britain as well as the former U.S.S.R) that anyone commenting on these affairs would be wise to explore.

        October 15, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  13. 0rangeW3dge

    It's OK for Taliban and other Republicans to shoot anybody they don't agree with,,,,I think they put that in the "In God We Trust" bill back in the 50's

    October 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  14. JD

    Whenever any leader world over gets angry, kills several common people... be it US, Pakistan, Taliban, China or anywhere else... Osama got angry with US policies, killed thousands of common americans... Bush got angry with Osama n killed millions in Afghanistan.. isn't it the same state with rest of the world as well.. life of a common man is the price to pay for every corrupt idiot selected as leader in world history be it Obama or Zardari...

    October 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Reply
  15. Sam

    Karachi is still very safe heaven for criminals. Actual big criminals are hiding in Karachi now.

    October 15, 2012 at 12:15 am | Reply
    • john

      sir you must be wrong. You didn't blame the problem in karachi on the USA,

      October 15, 2012 at 7:55 am | Reply
  16. mmi16

    If the Paki's and Afghan's would grow some balls – the Taliban would be turned to dust and there would not be any need for the US to be involved.

    Malala has more balls than all the men in that region combined!

    October 15, 2012 at 1:06 am | Reply
    • Chi

      That country has destroyed itself over you and your stupid people and ur agendas since 1970's and u still talking about balls. If you mother fuc^%$ has balls you wouldnt be hiding like cowards you co^% sucking bit^%

      October 15, 2012 at 2:48 am | Reply
  17. government cheese

    And New Orleans is still hurting?

    October 15, 2012 at 2:18 am | Reply
  18. Chi

    Its truly amazing how the media and mind control works. It totally tragic of what happened to Malala. But what about the thousands of Malala's maimed and killed by American drones. Why dont they receive coverage??? werent they going to school or sitting in school when they were killed by drone attacks. Why dont we talk about them. Why dont we talk about thousands of student shot and killed in Palestine. What about those Malala yousafzai's. When are we gonna give coverage to them???? why are we not expressing sorrow for them????? can anyone answer??

    October 15, 2012 at 2:46 am | Reply
    • art

      You must mean the thousands of Palestinians killed by other Palestinians and other Muslims. ISrael retaliates for atrocities committed my Palestinian terrorists. They don't just decide out of blue to kill people. Israelis have treated more Palestinians in hospitals than you can count. Muslims have killed more than twice as many other Muslims than all western countries combined. So you must be taling about Muslims when it comes to killing Muslims. Perhaps if the Palestinnians would consider living peacefully with Israel as Israel has proposed many times, fewer palestinians would be killed when Israel responds to Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis.

      October 15, 2012 at 8:42 am | Reply
      • jillscherb7

        Oh, I think Israeli's are prepared to kill anyone that stands in the way of a continued expansion and settlement of homelands formerly belonging to displaced Palestinians. They even killed a young American, Rachel Corrie, who stood in front of tanks trying to stop yet another aggressive "resettlement." I do believe we can recognize who is the aggressor in these cases, and it is not Palestinians.

        October 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
      • jillscherb7

        For Art 2: And just in case you have doubts as to who are the aggressors, here is a quote from the wiki page on Rachel Corrie.

        If you read the entire page, you'll also see that she found Palestinians to be following Ghandian and Martin Luther King tactics of non-violence by and large, whereas Israel promotes the militarization of its own nation in order to visit violence on innocent Palestinians all the time:

        The director of Rafah's hospital, Dr. Ali Moussa said that 240 Palestinians, including 78 children, had been killed. "Every night there is shooting at houses in which children are sleeping, without any attacks from Palestinians."

        We could get into arguments about who killed whom, and I'm sure you could come up with Palestinian atrocities as well. The point, however, is that your statement which creates a simplistic black-and-white dismissal of Palestinians is itself worthy of dismissal.

        October 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  19. Man

    TALIBAN: They are not anti Women's Education, they are ANTI WESTERN Education. They call Western Education, Haram as most of the Western education in Under developed nations is done by Christian Missionaries, they convert people to Christianity by giving money, education and Jobs.

    October 15, 2012 at 3:26 am | Reply
    • Li

      Post it as many times as you like. It'll be just as untrue each time.

      October 15, 2012 at 9:23 am | Reply
    • Rebecca

      Can you give examples of girls' schools that have been founded and supported by the Taliban?

      October 15, 2012 at 10:36 am | Reply
      • andy

        Well, he does not need to give the names! He refers to all the madarsas or the religious schools run by the illiterate Koran wielding Mullahs

        October 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  20. Man

    TALIBAN: They support Islamic scientific education for Woman........................They are not anti Women's Education, they are ANTI WESTERN Education. They call Western Education, Haram as most of the Western education in Under developed nations is done by Christian Missionaries, they convert people to Christianity by giving money, education and Jobs.

    October 15, 2012 at 3:31 am | Reply
  21. Uzair

    I tihnk most of you r getting this wrong.. one of the first pillars of Islam is education which by the world of Might Allah is that "it is necessary for every man and woman to get education".

    Militants are not Talibans, Talibans are not militants. Taliban is a word which is derived from the word Talib which means 'student' in Arabic.

    Stop attacking Islam as a religion of terrorism. It is not... this is not a religious war... this geographical war for resources. These militants were created to destroy russia and now Afganistan and Pakistan. InshAllah that will not happen.

    October 15, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
    • andy

      No one has to attack you to destroy islam. It is a self-destructive religion. Isn't that also written up in your books? God eat dogs!

      October 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  22. Bassma

    not the Taliban do not follow Islam they follow their own mind, we can not condemn Islam because of a group that does not respect the religion.
    I love islam and study a lot about my religion.
    they do not have fear of Allah and not the people and that is why Islam is viewed with horror because of some groups that cause terror.,. Inshallah more this will change one day. Allahu Akbar

    October 15, 2012 at 10:16 am | Reply
  23. Deltoid

    In my fantasy, the politicians will suddenly be seized by the awareness of common sense and agree that conflicts
    that are religiously-based are abominable to everyone and will at long-last negotiate to end the slaughter.
    We should all pray that this occurs. Only those of us who have experienced combat can really know the horror.
    Only by the education of everyone can we have some small hope for the future. The middle east and those
    countries bordering the areas in conflict must solve their problems from within. Enough, with the western powers
    sacrificing their youth and treasure to overcome fanatics. Einstein was right: The only thing that is infinite besides the
    universe is human stupidity.

    October 15, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
  24. lbpaulina

    The Taliban created a hero.
    Gayle Lemmon says: ....But there are many Malalas whose stories rarely are heard.
    As somebody said (and I like to think of him as of Confucius) "a falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest"
    A fresh forest of strong-willed young girls is growing. Hope they represent the future of Middle-Eastern women.
    They will thank this little, brave Malala, and the Taliban will be remembered for their blind, selfish denial.

    October 15, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
  25. Consequence

    The dilemma of our age is whether the world still makes room for the diversity of view which allows us to look from afar at an ancient male dominated culture struggling to place males and females in sharply defined roles. Or do we, like ourselves, embrace a greater equality in others which will forever change their cultures as it has ours? This young girl is so brave and so right to stand up for her views and the Taliban has shown itself incapable of dealing with its own population except through violence. The tide is turning...and only aged copies of National Geographics will preserve the mondo cane world that once was.

    October 15, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
  26. Keith.

    I wish the media would spend as much time on every child being killed every day,instead of one child for a whole week.

    October 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • John Geheran

      Definitely. But that would be like asking the media to exercise some responsibility and intellectual honesty or expecting Muslims to accept criticism of Islam without rioting.

      October 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  27. Jyothi, St.Louis, MO

    Malala happens to be a lucky girl to get media's attention. She may be okay for sometime once she is recovered. But what about hundreds of others like Malalas who raise their voice against the misjustice that is happenning to them, want to live in their home country and live like the rest of the world ?

    October 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  28. Rasheed

    Both Taliban & West are exploiting this real tragedy to further their own agendas. The Taliban is not as much at fault as the media portrays them to be. Neither is the US/west as innocent. (The Taliban didn't urinate on Americans' faces)

    Not to take away from Malala's courage and smart choices, imagine what people say about a 15-year old who commits a crime – not mature enough to make own decisions, so must not be prosecuted same way as adult. Liberian child soldiers who killed Sierra Leonean innocents weren't blamed, but the ones who brainwashed/drugged them. So for now, let's reduce the DIVA status for Malala, but concentrate on the MEDICAL efforts from which she could benefit. And the anti-Western people could do well to wait for her recovery (or, unfortunately, passing) before politicizing her tragedy. HOLD YOUR HORSES, BOTH SIDES, AND PRAY FOR HER RECOVERY!

    October 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • Sunil Datar

      Best comment so far, Rasheed.

      October 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  29. TheGreenMan

    I am a "Mallala you'll never meet". I am an Englishman whose country is being demographically raped by an invasion of insular self-segregating islamic colonists from pakistan who are hell bent on setting up religious colonies and ethnicly cleansing the native Europeans from their Continent. I truly wish that the talib called had died at the hand of her taliban brethren as it would mean it is one less pakistani brought into Britain to live off my wage earnings as a settler in the national Health System (NHS) taking up an hospital bed. I am currently supporting over 16 million islamic settlers in England. The unwelcome imporation of "malala" into my Continent is another one too many.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  30. tony

    Listen up!

    Malala is clearly a new Prophet of Islam. The Taliban are now guilty of the ultimate blasphemy.

    October 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  31. John Geheran

    The Taliban are not the problem – extremism is. Simply put, Islam is extreme. Islamic theology stands alone in the world as being the only one whose sacred texts exhort, encourage and condone acts of violence, hatred and intolerance toward unbelievers. Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, once observed "This is Islam, an absurd theology of an immoral Bedouin, a rotting corpse that poisons our lives". That about sums it up.

    October 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Reply
    • Salman

      John, if Islam is really extreme, then the population of over 1 Bn Muslim people in this world today would have wrecked havoc across all the globe. Fact is most of Muslims are nice caring people as anyone else, since Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims are as progressive and peace loving as any other segment of human race.

      Malala is a Muslim, her pursuit of education is supported wholeheartedly by almost entire nation of Pakistan, as you can see from the independent global media coverage. Now Taliban is an absolute minority, insignificant in absolute numbers, perhaps few thousands in 180 million population of Pakistan, and they don't represent a religion and ideology supported by vast numbers. You shall not mix a segment of people trying to 'hijack' Islam and using it for their agenda (of grabbing power), versus the billion plus peace loving Muslims. It may sound difficult to digest for you having a stereotyped mindset, but think about it.

      October 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
      • John Geheran

        Mercifully, the majority of Muslims do not apply, ignore or are unaware of the more extreme elements in the Islam belief system. Best estimates indicate that radicalized Islamists are in the 10-15% range. That said, in absolute numbers upwards of 150-200 Million or half the population of the US are militants. Bear in mind, card carrying Nazis and Communists were about 2% of their respective populations and they managed to murder tens of millions. In today's world, numbers tend to be irrevalent when it comes to wreaking havoc – 9/11 being one example.

        October 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  32. John Geheran

    Point taken. As a "Yank" peering across the pond, I see the political elite as being responsible for an immigration policy that is destined to turn back the clock 1400 years. Candidly spoken, educated Muslim women may be the only salvation. Once free of their Islamic chains, their voices might just become the source of sorely needed reform. Then again, I'm not holding my breath.

    October 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  33. Karen

    What the author says is true. The Taliban's shooting of Malala will not stop other young women from trying to pursue their goals of equal rights and education. In fact, it is only motivating them further and spurring them onward. What a brave little girl. If the world sees more like her, perhaps one day brutes like the Taliban will cease to exist.

    October 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  34. Ali

    I wonder till when, will we keep on printing such one eyed observations on media. The Talibans kill Malals if they go to school, the Drones kill Malaals no matter they go to school or not. War ain't NOT a solution. War Kills and feeds the terrorism and hatred. We need peace in the world...Peace for All!

    November 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  35. kitlat

    Reblogged this on My Social Issue Awareness and Action Blog.

    December 9, 2012 at 2:23 am | Reply

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