Last Tuesday members of Pakistan’s Taliban boarded a school bus and shot a 14-year-old girl, Malala Yousafzai, in retaliation for speaking out in favor of education for girls and against the Taliban’s campaign to suppress women’s education. At last report, she was in critical condition in a Pakistan military hospital. The documentary above, produced three years ago, tells the story of Malala and her father, the principal of a girl’s school.
The shooting was condemned by people all over the world, including Pakistan’s Muslim clergy. A joint fatwa, or religious edict, was issued by at least 50 scholars associated with the Sunni Ittehad Council, condemning the shooting and appealing to worshipers to observe a “day of condemnation” on Friday.
I think it is telling that the Pakistan Taliban targeted Malala rather than her father, Ziauddin Yousafzia, who operated a network of private girls’ schools. It shows how afraid they must be of the idea that their own wives and daughters might desire education, which would be the first step toward independence and self-determination.
I have no first-hand knowledge of Pakistan, but I am familiar with the type of people whose self-esteem depends on being able to despise, humiliate or control someone less powerful than themselves.
News reports indicate that many and maybe most Pakistani people repudiate the Taliban’s terrorism. Pakistan’s Parliament has women members, and Pakistan once had a woman prime minister. The video below shows the thoughts of some enlightened Pakistanis. Unfortunately a small group of dedicated fanatics can sometimes have more power than a non-fanatic majority.
Click on Clerics declare Malala shooting ‘un-Islamic’ for an Al Jazeera report.
[Added 10/15/12] Click on The fight for education in Pakistan’s Swat for another Al Jazeera report.