Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Taliban Shoots 14-Year-Old Rights Activist In Head

Young 14-year-old rights activist Malala Yousafzai is struggling to stay alive in a Peshawar hospital after the Pakistani Taliban shot her, point blank, in the head. All Malala wanted to do was go to school, while the Taliban want to keep their women barefoot, pregnant and ignorant- the better to control them. She is now suffering the consequences.

A team of senior doctors late Tuesday completed her medical examination in a combined military hospital (CMH) and described her condition as critical.

“We have thoroughly examined her, she is in critical condition. The bullet travelled from her head and then lodged in the back shoulder, near the neck,” a doctor in the CMH told AFP, requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to the media.

“She is in the intensive care unit and semi-conscious, although not on the ventilator,” he said, adding that the next three to four days would be crucial.

Earlier another doctor in Saidu Sharif Medical Complex in Swat’s main town of Mingora had said the bullet penetrated her skull but missed her brain, leaving her out of danger.
Seeking revenge for her activism, Taliban militants targeted her while on her school bus. Two other girls were also wounded, though not critically. And they threatened anyone who might dare to criticize their actions.

I don't recall Malala's story, but apparently three years ago she partnered with the BBC to write a blog about the horrific things the Taliban were doing in the Swat region of Pakistan. That was when girls' schools were being torched at the behest of cleric Maulana Fazlullah.

In 2011 she received several accolades including the
.. first-ever national peace award from the Pakistani government last year, and was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by advocacy group KidsRights Foundation in 2011.

What shocks and frightens many Pakistanis is that this happened during the day in an area where the army was supposed to have flushed out the Taliban- three years ago.

As happens, stories regarding the attack on Malala changed over the course of the day.

Initially, an officer told AFP Malala was shot as she was getting on the bus, then later that a gunman had flagged down the vehicle some distance away.
“One of them, who had a small beard, went inside and asked the children which was Malala,” Shah told AFP.
“He fired three shots. One bullet hit Malala’s head. The second hit the shoulder of her school friend and the third inflicted a minor leg injury to another girl on the bus,” the policeman added.
Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP the Islamist group carried out the attack after repeatedly warning Malala to stop speaking out against them.
“She is a Western-minded girl. She always speaks against us. We will target anyone who speaks against the Taliban,” he said by telephone from an undisclosed location.
“We warned her several times to stop speaking against the Taliban and to stop supporting Western NGOs, and to come to the path of Islam.”

Yes, that's the way civilized people deal with opposition and criticism- just shoot 'em dead. Even children.

Of course there were the useless and obligatory condemnations from the usual suspects including Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardaro, who said they would continue to fight Islamist militants. Right, this from a country that harbored (knowingly or not) the world's most wanted man (Bin Laden) for so many years. Then the U.S. State Department's Victoria Nuland said:
“Directing violence at children is barbaric, it’s cowardly, and our hearts go out to her and the others who were wounded, as well as their families.” 
You think?

Amnesty International piped in with:

“This attack highlights the extremely dangerous climate human rights activists face in northwestern Pakistan, where particularly female activists live under constant threats from the Taliban and other militant groups.” 

As though any of that will make one iota of difference in how the Taliban militants deal with what they consider infidels.  And everyone thinks they are becoming a more moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban, as Lara Logan put it.  What a joke. They're as vicious and stronger as ever.

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