Attack on teen consumes Pakistan
Have you ever been attacked for standing up for your right to go to school? In the U.S. – at least after the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s – this idea has become virtually extinct. But there are other parts of the world which are going through a similar struggle right now. One such place is a region of Pakistan called the Swat Valley. Five years ago, Malala Yousufzai, a then 14-year-old girl from Pakistan, was shot twice on her way home from school by the Taliban -- a militant movement that is widely classified as a terrorist group. She survived, and was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of young people and for the right of all children to be educated. In fact, well before the attack took place, she was writing for news organizations about her life under the Taliban regime and their attempts to take over in Pakistan. Her rise to prominence eventually led to her becoming a target -- even though she was just a teenager. After the attack, a Taliban spokesperson claimed, "This [her outspokenness] was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter." Here is how we will begin to discuss this particular topic: The willingness to take the life of someone who has convictions that differ from your own is to abandon faith in the communication process. No doubt the attack was particularly despicable given the target was a 14-year-old child. But we shouldn't let this cloud our ability to understand the attacker's perspective. It is only when the motivation behind an act is properly understood that it can be condemned. So what were the Taliban's motivations? The Taliban believe that children should only receive an “Islamic education,” rather than instruction in math, science and other subjects. They believe girls should only be educated up to the age of 8, in order to "secure environments where the chasteness and dignity of women may once again be sacrosanct". However, another spokesperson for the Taliban stated that, "If anyone believes we had chosen Malala as a topic of education as a goal, they are mistaken. She was chosen because she plays a pioneering role in the spread of secularism, and the so-called enlightened moderation.” In spite of the Taliban's intention, it appears Malala and her supporters have successfully used this attack to draw international attention to the struggle for equal rights in Pakistan. The attack, and its justifications, have been universally condemned by world leaders. Consider the media perspectives from all over the world by clicking on the topic's image. Now put yourself in the shoes of an international group which would fight the Taliban. What do you think would be your strongest argument for condemnation, one which would mobilize your group to action?