By Malalai Joya
October 13, 2012
Malala Yousafzai remains in hospital after being shot in the head by members of a faction of the Taliban in Pakistan. Only 14, Yousafzai received international notoriety soon after her “Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl” was published by the BBC in 2009.
Owais Tohid, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, reported that young Malala was motivated by another women’s rights activist with the same namesake:
“The first time I met Malala, a couple of years ago, I asked her what her name signified. She answered: ‘Probably, a hero like the Afghan heroine Malalai [of Maiwand] or Malalai Joya. I want to be a social activist and an honest politician like her,’ she said, smiling. Ms. Joya, a 30-something activist, politician, and writer who was bitterly critical of both the Taliban and the Karzai regime, was at one point dubbed the bravest woman of Afghanistan.”
Malalai Joya, now 34, has survived numerous assassination attempts and in 2007 was suspended from the Afghan Parliament because of her criticisms of warlords, fundamentalists and the NATO occupation of Afghanistan. Joya sent rabble.ca the following statement on the shooting of Yousafzai.
On the attack against 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai
Once again we see a crime against women by dark-minded and brutal fundamentalists. Malala Yousafzai was shot by Pakistani Taliban because she did not remain silent about the ongoing crimes and brutalities against women; because, despite her young age, she had the consciousness to stand for her rights and say ‘no’ to the terrorism and misogyny of the creatures of the Stone Age.
I strongly condemn this disgraceful act of targeting an innocent 14-year-old girl. This is the real nature of Afghan and Pakistani fundamentalist Taliban. These dirty rascals pose as ‘manly’ but this heinous crime shows how unmanly and disgusting they are to kill a defenseless young girl.
Malala was targeted because, in her limited capacity, she wanted to inform the world about the brutalities going on against women by extremists. She wanted to wake up the women of the rural areas of Pakistan to stand up and defend their due rights.