Be careful whom you shoot

Last year, a 15 year old schoolgirl from Swat in Pakistan was shot in the head while returning home from school on the school bus. It seems that certain people objected to the subversive messages she was spreading:

In early 2009, at the age of 11/12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls.
Dear Lord, we can't have girls being educated. Who knows what thoughts might enter their heads? So a gentleman from the local Taliban franchise put a pistol to her head and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of Malala Yousafzai (the top Google hit for "malala") and if the Taliban spent any time educating their followers on human biology, the bullet would have killed her right there in October 2012. Unfortunately for their cause, the hitman was chosen more for his pseudo-Islamic zeal than actual shooting talent. Malala was hit in the head but survived, thanks (by my reading between the lines) to a combination of Heaven-sent fortune, personal will to survive, and some top-notch emergency care by the local and national medics. Flown to Britain for surgery to repair her skull, she recovered and is now attending school in Birmingham. I rather suspect that the school has surreptitiously taken additional security measures since unfortunately the UK is still home to too many misogynistic and violent gentlemen from South Asia who might take exception to Malala's very public survival.

Now, Malala has signed a $3M book deal to write about her life and her cause. Given the international outcry over the attack, and support for her cause, I fully expect it to hit the top of the autobiography bestseller charts. As a result, millions of people who would only have heard of Malala in a cursory news story about another fatal shooting in Pakistan will be reading about her life and the state of female education in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled areas. We can only expect more international support and money for such education as a result.

I'm somewhat hoping that the Taliban hitman avoided capture and will spend the next few months being slowly tortured to death by his compatriots for failing spectacularly in his assassination attempt.

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