When she was an 11-year-old girl, Yousafzai started blogging for the BBC's Urdu division, writing about her life and her fears. Her words were strikingly wise, but her fears and dreams would feel universal to any of her peers across the globe. In 2009, when the Taliban began to restrict girls' access to education and burned down a range of all-girls schools, Yousafzai anonymously documented her experience and continued going to school despite the danger. On January 3, 2009, she wrote: "I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools. Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taliban's edict.
How The Taliban Failed:
Just for a moment, ignore the mind-numbing rage you feel, consider the idea of a terrorist organization attacking an 14-year-old, and realize that Yousafzai has become a brave beacon of hope. Similar to the women of Pussy Riot, who had a localized protest blow up into a national political ordeal because of the unrest they represented, by shooting Yousafzai, the Taliban has ensured that global news outlets will know her story and (hopefully) take an interest in her protection — and the protection of many other girls fighting for their education.
Why We Need To Keep Talking About Yousafzai:
While we aren't equipped to tackle the teachings of Islam or efficiently unpack violence a world away, it is important to point out that it is the Taliban, not Islam, that is anti-education. In fact, until recently, another Islamic republic, Iran was a beacon of opportunity for educated women, with over 60% of college students enrolled in the country being ladies. But as radicalization has spread, along with it has come the fear of change.
Photo: Courtesy of Malala Yousafzai's Official Fan Facebook Page