To most children attending school, there is no place safer than the school bus or school, but on Oct. 9 2012 the bus became the final thing that Malala Yousafzai would see. That day, as a group of young girls boarded the bus for the ride home in Swat, Pakistan, the Taliban stormed the vehicle and held the girls at gunpoint, demanding they give up 14-year-old Malala or all be killed.
Malala Yousafzai was shot twice in the head.
Miraculously, Malala survived the gunshot wounds and is currently in a coma, but she is not yet safe from harm. The Taliban has declared that they will kill her if she survives the coma. In order to provide some form of safety, Malala is being treated at a military hospital in the UK where a hospital spokesman has declared her state as “satisfactory.”
So why did the Taliban specifically target this 14-year-old child? What could murdering one innocent do to support their cause?
In 2008, Malala began blogging for the BBC’s Urdu division about life as a Pakistani girl living under the Taliban. Though she originally wrote under a pseudonym, she became internationally recognized when the Taliban was driven out of her region of Pakistan, the Swat Valley, and she won the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011.
Malala’s main fears were spurred by the Taliban’s strict no-education policy for women. When the Taliban began targeting all-female schools, teachers and female students, Malala refused to give up on her dream of gaining an education. She continued to blog and go to school, even though every journey to the school house was a risk on her life.
Malala’s choice to continue her education and stand up for the right’s of women is a continuing inspiration. The Taliban’s very attempt at assassination proves that by even just one woman standing up we can shake the very foundation of those trying to keep us down. The Taliban saw, and still sees, Malala as a threat and that is why they attempted the assassination.
Stronger than any army, more effective than any speech — education is the most powerful weapon women have against discrimination. Malala may not currently be able to speak but her message is still reverberating throughout the world.