(Video Credit: UPI.com)
In Pakistan, a single masked man can stop a school bus while his compatriot climbs inside and shoots a child in the head.
This is because the Taliban is terrified of educated teenage girls.
That is exactly what happened to 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai on Tuesday this week. The man who climbed into her school bus asked for her by name and then shot her. (Others were wounded as well.)
That he felt compelled to shoot her is testament to her precocious courage and gifts. That he was able to shoot her is testament to the Pakistani government's double-dealing, corrupt embrace of Islamist extremism.
Malala Yousafzai has become famous as a kind of Pakistani Anne Frank. She lives in the Swat Valley, an area once openly controlled by the Taliban and now supposedly controlled by the government of Pakistan.
In the past the reopening date [after her school's winter break] was always announced clearly. The principal did not inform us about the reason behind not announcing the school reopening, but my guess was that the Taleban had announced a ban on girls' education from 15 January.
My friend came to me and said, 'for God's sake, answer me honestly, is our school going to be attacked by the Taleban?' During the morning assembly we were told not to wear colourful clothes as the Taleban would object to it.
"Gul Makai's" published diary became very popular. That made its young author very dangerous. When she observed to her father “The Talibs are where the army is but the army doesn`t go where the Talibs are,” it was more than a family conversation. It ended up in the newspaper.
In December 2011, Miss Yousafzai was awarded the first National Peace Award for Youth by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. A school was named after her. She told the press she hoped to form a political party one day.
That was too much for the Taliban; she had to be assassinated.
Miss Yousafzai has so far survived the shooting. The government immediately swept in, declaring that she would get the best medical care and loudly denouncing the attack:
“We have to fight the mind-set that is involved in this. We have to condemn
it,” Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told the Pakistani Senate. “Malala is
like my daughter and yours, too. If that mind-set prevails, then whose daughter
would be safe?”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the shooting “barbaric”
Yet Miss Yousafzai herself observed that Pakistan's military seemed to avoid confronting the Taliban. The Washington Post adds this observation:
While school children throughout the nation held prayer vigils for Yousafza,
and many Pakistanis and politicans expressed revulsion over the shooting, major
religious parties and mosque leaders were largely silent. Clerics frequently do
not rebuke suicide bombings or sectarian attacks for fear of alienating their
increasingly conservative congregants or provoking the Taliban.
Whose will is being defied and whose will is being done?
Egypt is afraid of children, too. Earlier this month two boys aged 9 and 10 were thrown in jail on blasphemy charges. Local officials claimed that they had torn up an urinated on a copy of the Koran that they found in a garbage dump.
Just today it was announced that the two boys had been freed:"The case has been closed ... and today we knew that the charges were dropped and the children were released after a deal was reached between Muslims, Christians and security officials in the area," said Gamal Eid, a human rights activist and part of the team of lawyers defending the boys.
He did not explain what kind of deal had been reached.
In the Internet age it is difficult for Islamist authorities who threaten children to conceal their actions. The civilized world is watching.
And a little child shall lead them...