On October 9th, 2012 15 year-old Pakistani schoolgirl and activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban. Her crime was having the audacity to advocate for the equal opportunity of girls to be educated in school, so naturally the cowardly scum in the Taliban targeted her for murder. But thankfully, today, after a three month recovery process, doctors say she’s making “excellent progress” and is free to be discharged to her family for four weeks before returning to the hospital for further surgery to repair her skull.
In 2009, at the age of 11, Malala wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC Urdu service after the Taliban took over the Swat valley and forced all of the girls schools to shut down. In it she described how her classmates were forced to hide books under their shawls and had to live in fear of having acid thrown in their faces. Her piece was also one of the first voices that drew attention to the Taliban’s vicious campaign of beheadings and violence in their efforts to secure control of the region.
Following the blog, Malala was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize in December of 2011, which turned her into a national celebrity and made her even more dangerous in the eyes of the Taliban. They tried to intimidate her by publishing death threats in newspapers, slipping them under her door, and even harassing her online. All they succeeded in accomplishing was getting Malala to take down her Facebook profile, but she vowed to “never stop working for education for girls”, and continued to speak out against them on television. This prompted Taliban leaders to hold a meeting in the Summer of 2012 specifically to decide how to defeat this one troublesome teenage girl, and they unanimously agreed to kill her.
In one chillingly prophetic interview Malala imagined how an eventual confrontation with the Taliban would take place:
I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.
Change.org has a petition online calling for the Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize to Malala. They already have more than 270,000 signatures, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and famed atheist professor Richard Dawkins.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t think of a worthier candidate.