Target: Ihsnaullah Ishan, Taliban Spokesperson
Goal: Get the Taliban to formally renounce their stance against female education in Pakistan
Recently, members of the Taliban in Pakistan gunned down 14-year-old student and social activist Malala Yousafzai, in what was clearly a premeditated assassination attempt. The girl miraculously survived the attack and while doctors say her condition is improving she is still in critical condition and her recovery is not a certainty. A Taliban spokesperson has confirmed that the attack was carried out in response to Malala’s outspoken stance against the Taliban’s edict prohibiting female education in the region.
So far the Pakistani outcry against this attack has been overwhelming, but a unified global voice is also needed to condemn this sort of ignorant violence, and hopefully limit any future occurrences of a similar nature.
The attack took place in what is known as Swat Valley in Northern Pakistan, an area that was controlled by the Taliban as recently as 2009. Under Taliban rule, the education of women was banned in the region because it is seen as a manifestation of secular ideology stemming from “Western” influence. When the Taliban rule ended, Malala and many other Pakistani girls like her began attending school, although not without conflict.
According to Malala, who began blogging to speak out against the opposition to female education in her region, the girls who attend school in the Swat Valley still endure daily threats of violence against them and their families. Obviously the threats were not empty ones.
Malala and two other girls were being driven home in a school bus one day when Taliban gunmen boarded the bus and asked for Malala by name. When someone on the bus identified her the gunmen opened fire, shooting her once in the neck and once in the head.
People in Pakistan are both enraged and heartbroken by this unspeakable act of ignorant violence, and it is time for the rest of the world to speak up in turn. Violence must not be accepted as a form of discourse by the Pakistani people, or by the rest of world’s population.
As Malala Yousafzai now fights for her young life, sign this petition in solidarity with those who are fighting to bring an end to the ignorant hatred that robs young women of their freedoms. The Taliban must stop violently restricting women from becoming educated.
Dear Ihsnaullah Ishan,
The world community has been saddened and upset by the news of the attack on Malala Yousafzai carried out by your Taliban soldiers. Yet, even more saddening and upsetting are your comments justifying the attack. To attempt to murder someone simply because they disagree with you is never justifiable no matter what you may offer as justification.
To violently resist allowing women to finally be educated in Pakistan, a change that defies your beliefs without harming them, is the height of ignorance. The worst of humanity’s atrocities have been born out of such concessions to reactionary and intolerant mindsets like those you and your group now espouse.
The growing majority of the world does not recognize the value of one sex over another; they believe education is everyone’s right. The growing majority of the human species sees the life of Malala Yousafzai and young women like her as precious, something to be nurtured and treasured, not to be cut down.
Whether or not you eventually come to appreciate all human life as precious is not the goal of this letter; rather, this letter is meant to inform you that the space where you can safely practice your belief in violent ideology is shrinking. Progress is closing in on you in the form of a caring, diverse, educated and relentlessly progressive populace. I implore you to make a concerted effort to reform your stance on educating women.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit by Michael Foley Photography via Flickr