Yesterday I blogged about Malala Yousafzai, a courageous girl from Pakistan who was targeted and shot by a Taliban gunman.
Malala’s story has captured the world’s attention. The New York Times published an editorial today. “Words only have meaning if they are backed up by actions,” the editors wrote. “What will he(Pakistani Army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani) and other leaders do to bring Malala’s attackers to justice and stop their threat to ordinary citizens and the state?”
World leaders must act with resolve to protect Malala and all Pakistanis, especially Pakistani children. Malala is still unconscious in hospital in Peshawar. The Taliban, however, have promised to target her again.
We must also implement policies that will provide education for all children. Malala’s story is at once surreal, saddening, and inspiring…but it isn’t unique. As many as 1.5 billion children experience violence annually. 101 million are not attending primary school. While there is a 97 per cent gender parity between boys and girls in primary school, 39 million girls between the ages of 11 and 15 are not going to secondary school. As an article in today’s Toronto Star points out, “girls are more likely to experience violence and sexual abuse both in the classroom and on their way to school.”
My thoughts and prayers are with Malala Yousafzai, and I know that yours are too. When she recovers from her injuries, and even when the media attention subsides, we must continue to urge political leaders to ensure that Malala and every other child receive the security and education that they deserve.