October 13, 2012
No comments on Malala Yousufzai from Malaysian Ulamas
Huffington Post UK | By Felicity Morse
More than 4,000 girls’ schools were razed to the ground by the Islamist militant group. Girls who attempted to study lived in fear of being kidnapped, having acid thrown in their faces or even being killed.
At a time when even political leaders were terrified of criticising the Taliban, an 11-year-old schoolgirl found the courage to speak out.
“The decision to ban girls from going to school was shocking for me and I decided to stand against the forces of backwardness,” she told news agency APP in January.
Malala began writing a blog for BBC Urdu, documenting what life was like in the Taliban-controlled state. Her courage was remarkable. In 2009 the militant group were committing brutal punishments for the most minor of infractions.
Beheadings were performed in public and the butchered bodies of male and female detractors thrown onto the streets. Although Malala initially blogged under the name Gul Makai, she later revealed her secret to her friends.
“They told me I was endangering my life, but they were happy that there was someone to speak up for them,” she told Newsline earlier this year.
Her simple language belies the veil of fear that hung over her daily life. “On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you,’ ” she wrote in her BBC Urdu blog.
“I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.”
The schoolgirl described how she and her classmates were told not to wear uniforms to school because it would make them targets for the Taliban.
Writing for the BBC she said she instead “decided to wear my favourite pink dress”. However even this was not permitted.
“During the morning assembly we were told not to wear colourful clothes as the Taliban would object to it,” she wrote.
The reaction to Malala’s blog in Pakistan as well as internationally reveals how remarkable the schoolgirl’s actions were.
She was the first Pakistani girl to be nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize, and though she did not win, she was awarded the first National Peace Award by the Pakistani government in December.
A ceasefire was signed between the Pakistan and the Taliban in 2009 and though conditions have undoubtedly improved, the Swat Valley continues to be a focus for pro-Taliban fundamentalists.
Malala has continued to campaign for girls’ right to education and revealed the full extent of the oppression of women under Taliban rule.In 2011, she described how women were forbidden from shopping and forced to wear the shuttlecock burka, a garment that covers the entire body with a fabric grill to allow women to see through. Malala wrote for the BBC in 2011:
“When the Taliban came to Swat they banned women from going to the market and they banned shopping, but they did not know that women, whether from the East or West love shopping.
“My mother also used to come to this market and one day she was scared by a Talib. The Talib said to her: ‘Why are you coming here and why are you not wearing the specific burka which we have told you to wear?’
“My mother rushed home because of the fear she felt.”
She has said she wants to “become an honest and hard-working politician” when she finishes her schooling. By reflecting the fears of many living in Pakistan and summoning the courage to speak out and be heard, Malala has become a symbol of hope for a region living in fear.
Her shooting has caused outrage in Pakistan despite the country’s violent history. The President of Pakistan has condemned the “cowardly” and “deplorable” act and activists have been vocal in calling for her recovery.
Doctors in Pakistan have managed to remove a bullet from Malala’s head and her condition is reportedly stable.