Pray for Malala Yousafzai, a fourteen-year-old Pakistani girl who since the age of eleven has written a blog advocating for education and freedom for girls and women in that blood-soaked and religiously reactionary corner of the world. Taliban members ambushed a van she and two other girls were riding to school in and sprayed them with machine-gun fire. She was hit in the neck and throat. Luckily she survived and has undergone several surgeries to repair the damage and remove the bullets (one, I think, is still lodged in the neck). No doubt the assholes will try again. Although Pakistan needs more females (and men) to stand up against advocates of darkness, intolerance, and anti-feminism, I hope someone in the United States can help get her out of that country, help her recover, enroll her into a great school, and then let her continue her fight. The world needs more brave people such as her. Especially in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia. . .do I need to mention them all? Of course, we need advocates for progress and education and common sense throughout the world (even in the United States), but some areas need it far more than others. I grow sicker with every report of a girls' school attacked, schoolgirls doused with acid, minors forced into marriages (especially with aged men), women excluded from many courses of education (as is currently happening in Iran), women kept down economically and socially, women snatched and traded as slaves on the sex market, and a whole host of crimes carried out against women while officials and men turn blind eyes. It is time for these travesties to end. Sad to say that the world would be a much better place if the Talabani and their ilk simply disappeared, died off. Efforts must be made to protect the truthsayers (such as Yoani Sanchez in Cuba), the rabble rousers.
UPDATE: Apparently three of the Taliban attempted assassins have been detained and have revealed the individual who set up the hit. Malala seems to be doing better and was moved to a better facility. She still has a ways to go. And opinion in Pakistan has opened even more debate on the role of the Taliban in their country. I would love to see some violent push-back against these religious reactionaries.
UPDATE II: Little Malala has been airlifted to Britain and reports are she is responding well. I hope they keep her out of Taliban clutches and she gets to continue her education and crusade.
UPDATE III: Reports are she is standing and communicating, much very good news.