The Forgotten Malala
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times and Dr. Seema Jilani remind us that Malala is not alone, either as a victim of the Taliban or as a girl determined to keep fighting for her future.
It was one of the most ruthless attacks of our time: three Pakistani schoolgirls were on their way home when the Taliban shot them. Their crime? Pursuit of an education. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and two other young women sustained injuries to their arms. “We are all Malala,” roared the world. Protestors marched and lit candlelight vigils. Malala was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and became an iconic symbol for young women’s educational struggles.
We went about our self-congratulatory ways, assuming we had done something tangible to help. But we forgot the two others injured in the shooting, who are just as deserving of an education and no less heroic. One of them, Shazia Ramzan, plans to move with her family to the Punjab Province of Pakistan to escape the more volatile region of Swat. The other, Kainat Riaz, is wedged in no man’s land, with few options available to her given the economic stratum of her family. In November 2012, I visited Kainat at her house in Swat Valley.