Angelina Jolie: “We all are Malala”..Pakistani Taliban declare war on media
On Wednesday morning, as we readied the kids for school amidst a few of the usual complaints about not wanting to go, I saw a headline on the cover of The New York Times: Taliban Gun Down a Girl Who Spoke Up for Rights. The Taliban claimed that 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai “ignored their warnings, and she left them no choice.” They approached her school bus, asking for her by name, and shot her in the head for promoting girls’ education.
After reading the article, I felt compelled to share Malala’s story with my children. It was difficult for them to comprehend a world where men would try to kill a child whose only “crime” was the desire that she and others like her be allowed to go to school.
Malala’s story stayed with them throughout the day, and that night they were full of questions. We learned about Malala together, watching her interviews and reading her diaries. Malala was just 11 years old when she began blogging for the BBC. She wrote of life under the Taliban, of trading in her school uniform for colorless plain clothes, of hiding books under her shawl, and eventually having to stop going to school entirely.
The following morning, the news showed pictures of children across Pakistan holding up Malala’s picture at vigils and demonstrations, and praying in schools. My son worried that girls were going to be shot for standing up for Malala. I told him that they were aware of the danger, but publicly supporting her reflects how much Malala means to them. Malala’s courage reminded all Pakistanis how important an education is. Her bravery inspired their own.
Still trying to understand, my children asked, “Why did those men think they needed to kill Malala?” I answered, “because an education is a powerful thing.”
The shots fired on Malala struck the heart of the nation, and as the Taliban refuse to back down, so too do the people of Pakistan. This violent and hateful act seems to have accomplished the opposite of its intent, as Pakistanis rally to embrace Malala’s principles and reject the tyranny of fear. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban said “let this be a lesson.” Yes. Let this be a lesson—that an education is a basic human right, a right that Pakistan’s daughters will not be denied.
Malala Yousafzai has taken one more step in her very long and difficult journey. Separated from her family for now, the 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl arrivedtoday at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Britain’s primary receiving facility for military casualties returning from overseas. Doctors say she still has not regained consciousness since being shot in the head by a Pakistani Taliban gunman who forced his way into a van full of schoolgirls, asked for her by name, and opened fire.
The attack has provoked unprecedented levels of public outrage, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan—even among people who have in the past sympathized with the militants. “First of all, attempting to kill a 14-year-old girl is a low act,” says Mullah Yahya, who was a high-ranking Afghan Information Ministry official back in the 1990s, when Mullah Mohammed Omar’s regime was in power. “Second, claiming responsibility for it is a sign that the [Pakistani] Taliban are not aware of the media’s importance. I have seen more anger against the religious elements in the past week than in all my 40 years of life.” Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman Malik, says the government has posted a $1 million bounty on Ehsanullah Ehsan, the Pakistani Taliban spokesman who claimed responsibility for the shooting.
So how are the Pakistani Taliban responding to so much public condemnation? By declaring war on individual journalists and the media, of course. “For days and days, coverage of the Malala case has shown clearly that the Pakistani and international media are biased,” says a Pakistani Taliban commander in South Waziristan. “The Taliban cannot tolerate biased media.” The commander, who calls himself Jihad Yar, argues that death threats against the press are justified: he says “99 percent” of the reporters on the story are only using the shooting as an excuse to attack the Taliban.
Jihad Yar does not apologize for the attempt to assassinate the girl, who was passionately opposed to the militants’ efforts to close girls’ schools. “We have no regrets about what happened to Malala,” he says. “She was going to become a symbol of Western ideas, and the decision to eliminate her was correct.” There’s proof, he says: video footage of her meeting America’s ambassador to Pakistan. “If she was not important for the West’s agenda, why would a U.S. ambassador meet her?” In the next breath, the commander insists that “Malala’s case is not important. The Taliban will not spare journalists who focus on this one girl and never talk about dozens of girls who have been killed by U.S. drones in tribal areas and Afghanistan.”
““We have no regrets about what happened to Malala,” he says. “She was going to become a symbol of Western ideas, and the decision to eliminate her was correct.” There’s proof, he says: video footage of her meeting America’s ambassador to Pakistan. “If she was not important for the West’s agenda, why would a U.S. ambassador meet her?” In the next breath, the commander insists that “Malala’s case is not important. The Taliban will not spare journalists who focus on this one girl and never talk about dozens of girls who have been killed by U.S. drones in tribal areas and Afghanistan.”
had to repeat that paragraph..its important..its at the crux of this event..