The shooting of 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was hunted down on a school bus and shot in the head for daring to assert her right to an education, has me reeling.
A teenager on her way home from school. A bearded gunman who asks for her by name. He shoots her and two friends.
What can we do to register our pure, searing outrage?
The creative community should write screenplays and books; journalists must spill rivers of ink in protest. Banksy should graffiti her face on buildings. Annie Leibovitz should go shoot her picture. OWN, Lifetime, Bravo should designate a “Malala Day” on the air.
Also read: A Wake-Up Call for Women Producers
Ellen, Katie, Barbara, Whoopi – wear a Malala pin. Mindy Grossman, CEO at Home Shopping Network: Can you sell Malala T-shirts on HSN?
Get on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook to show that this cowardly act in a tiny, distant town is a gargantuan assault on our most basic values as human beings.
The atrocity — it is an atrocity — comes in the context of a confusing maelstrom of where women stand in the world today.
In the developing world, a teenage activist takes her life in her hands to assert her right to learn, while all around her women are treated as property, beaten by husbands or family members, disfigured when they resist sexual coercion. Covered from head to toe, whether or not they want to be.
Here's a January excerpt from her diary in Urdu, which she has written for the BBC since she was 11 :
On my way from school to home I heard a man saying “I will kill you.” I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone. I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban.
I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.
Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taleban's edict. My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.one.
In Saudi Arabia, women are making great strides as they protest their right… to drive a car. And in Europe’s immigrant communities, these dark mores are creeping in to challenge Enlightenment values.
Back here on earth, Naomi Wolf is worried about the quality of her orgasms in a novel-length ode to her vagina called “Vagina.”
We need to get our priorities straight.
The divide between our status in the industrialized world — where Wolf and I live as free and equal citizens, at least for the moment (Sandra Fluke, stand by) — and the contrast with so much of the rest of the world is deeply disturbing. Yousufzai merely represents the most extreme example that jolts us out of our petty concerns and sparks terror — or at least it should.
I often think how lucky I am to have been born in the second half of the 20th century, in the United States. I can vote. I can drive. I can run a company. I can send my daughter to college. And, yes, I'm worried about reproductive rights.
Let's pray this young hero survives.
Malala Yousufzai is still a child, yet she is merely asking for the most basic element of human dignity. Let’s all raise our voices in anger, in support for her and refuse to tolerate this most heinous intolerance.