October 9 2012
In Pakistan, a Taliban gunman shot 14-year old Malala Yousufzai in the head and neck while she was riding to school on Tuesday. She is currently recovering at a military hospital in the frontier city of Peshawar.
Yousufzai, a nominee for last year’s International Children’s Peace Prize, gained the Taliban’s attention for her efforts to promote the education of girls in Pakistan – an effort the Islamic fundamentalist group called “obscene.” Nevertheless, Yousufzai, only 11 at the time, advocated for the rights of girls on a BBC Urdu blog; and when the Taliban were ousted from the Swat Valley she then began speaking more widely, even participating at a UNICEF assembly last year.
The Taliban’s presence in the Swat Valley since 2007 has been all but peaceful and threatens the rights of men and women alike. The Taliban’s real war on women has destroyed 200 schools, the majority of which were for girls, restricted women from attending bazaars, and allowed the bartering of young girls for forced marriages between rivaling tribes.
Women in the Swat Valley are prosecuted every day and threatened with violence for exercising even basic human rights. This real war on women cannot go unnoticed, and Yousufzai's story deserves to be retold.