Malala Yousafzai is a 14-year-old Pakistani girl who believes in secular education for women in Pakistan. Despite the efforts of the Taliban to never allow such a thing, Yousafzai has continued blogging about her beliefs. She has received multiple death threats, but also has received a very high honor: Pakistan’s first National Peace Prize. She received the award in November 2011, along with a 500,000 rupees ($5,780 US) stipend. The award will now be given out once a year to one person under the age of 18 that is helping to contribute to peace and education efforts. Although many applaud her efforts to foster a proactive feminist movement in Pakistan, the Pakistani Taliban have been on a mission to stop her from spreading her message.
Yesterday in Swat Valley, Yousafzai was traveling in a van with several other young girls coming home from school. The Taliban stopped her van and asked the other passengers which one of them was Malala Yousafzai. After she was identified, they opened fire on her, critically wounding Yousafzai and injuring two other female students. The most difficult injury to combat will be the bullet that struck her in the neck. Doctor’s expect this will be hard to remove, but they do also suspect she will recover from the attack. The Taliban has already made it clear though that if she does survive, she will not survive next time.
The president of Pakistan has condemned the attack, and the Taliban has taken public responsibility for it.