Posts Tagged ‘attempted murder of a child’

The Courage of Malala Yousafzai and the Cowardice of the Taliban…and something more.

October 11, 2012

Reading the NYTimes this morning, there is an article stating that Malala is starting to recover, even standing with help. That is good news.

The bad news is that some people in Pakistan are ‘doubting’ that this shooting of a 14 year old child was ‘real’. Some are stating that Malala was a ‘dupe’ of America, an agent, and so forth. Of course, the Taliban is saying that “Malala deserves what he got, and they will continue to attempt to kill her, PLUS she wore tons of makeup”. These ‘men’ are beyond civilization. If this thinking represents Muslim religious beliefs, they set world sympapthy back 1000 years, which is what they are trying to do to their countries.

Also, “the moment of outrage” has passed on this Malala issue. Well, whether this is because Pakistanis really think that this attempted murder of one of their own children doesn’t matter, or those who are expressing this sentiment are just cowards and afraid of the Taliban, so be it.

I say this, as a mother who has her only son serving in the military: Withdraw all aid and support from Pakistan. Withdraw all troops in the region. Let these backward people fight it out for themselves. Pakistan is the base of the Taliban. Let the Pakistani people feel the full brunt of their brutality, as they have been, but without the support of the world’s people. One more dead US soldier isn’t worth it. These people treat their camels better than the women in their countries.

Lady Nyo, October 20, 2012

(“Sea Eagle”, Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor, 2001)

This week we read of the attempted killing of a 14 year old girl in Pakistan by the Taliban, an out-spoken young woman who has dedicated her young life to the continued education of girls in Pakistan. So far they didn’t succeed in their attempted murder of this courageous young woman, and hopefully they won’t get another chance. That remains to be seen. Politics in Pakistan are full of corruption and opportunism. The Taliban have said that if she survives, they will make another attempt on her life.

For years, Malala would hide her school books under her bed when the Taliban swept through her neighborhood. To be found with books, to be found reading (to be able to even read was a threat to the Taliban!) or watching television, could have been a death sentence.

Though our cultures and ages are wide apart, I have the utmost respect for this young woman struggling to obtain an education in a part of the world where girls and women are denied the most basic human rights. Over a short few years, Malala has become a spokeswoman, at the tender age of 11, for education for girls. She has drawn the attention of a vicious group of extremists in her support of this issue. Her struggle for an education (she wants to be a doctor) goes straight to my heart. When I was growing up, my mother wasn’t ‘keen’ on my going to college: as she said, a college education was necessary for my two younger brothers, but I would probably just get married. They would be the bread winners for their future families. When I dropped out after only one semester, she was happy. At least I could be a secretary and support myself. That, apparently, was the sum total of what she thought was my potential. I had other plans, but they didn’t materialize for years.

I did go back to college, years later, and majored in psychology, quite a change from that one semester of music at Westminster Choir College. However, life got in the way of finishing college. I put my education aside during my first marriage where I worked to support my husband so he could finish college. He left me the week I was seriously injured and couldn’t support him. This was at the end of a 13 year marriage. I didn’t know how good life would become after the divorce.

Over the years life has been amazing, or at least I have actualized aspects of a life I would never have imagined. But a higher education should never be denied by either a short-sighted parent or a terrorist organization. It is obvious human potentialities can be broken by either. Both represent rank ignorance.

This young woman has suffered enormously, but she has also opened eyes around the world and the outrage people are expressing is righteous.

These Taliban terrorists that tried to kill Malala were masked. This is such a mark of their cowardice. They shot other girls on the bus, but thankfully they survived. Their attempt to kill her will always stand as the sum total of their ‘humanity’. I know Muslims, and those I know would never approve of this barbarism. It is my deepest hope the world will continue to see these extremists for what they are: not part of humanity, but a perversion of it. To attack children is insane and shows how desperate they are.

I have been blessed to have this blog and to have published three books to date. I have been able to do this by the constant encouragement and support of my second husband of many years. I am working on two books, hopefully to be out in the world by March, 2013. The royalties for the second book, “The Zar Tales” I planned to go to a women’s group in Turkey, but I couldn’t make the proper connection for this. That book is about the oppression of women by religious extremists and I felt this was a good place for any royalty to land. One of the new books to be published this spring is “Tin Hinan”. Some of the chapters have been serialized on this blog, so those interested can look them up. I think any royalty of this book, of which chapters are being read daily around the world, could go to support the education of young girls and women in areas where these basic human rights are denied.

There is so much we can do to support these issues. We only have to think of the destruction of potential growth, and the very lives of children amongst these cultures. Of course as my own earlier years show, it doesn’t take religious fanaticism to sow doubt and despair about the future. It only takes a narrow- minded ignorance, and that seems to be around in spades, regardless the culture.

I am going to end this entry with a poem I wrote a few years ago about Benazir Bhutto. She lived a complicated life and the charges of corruption, personal and within her party and leadership, seems not to disappear. But she was a woman assassinated; another woman denied life because of ignorance, religious and political extremism.

Lady Nyo


A long white head scarf
Floats over the land,
A white eagle who
Peers down
Testing the currents
Spreading her wings
As a compassionate mother
Over her children.

Chased by dark mountain eagles
Fierce and violent,
Torn from her home,
Sent into exile,
She returns triumphant
The love of her land
Calls her back,
Ignoring the danger
The violence, the threats.

So much to do!
So much to embrace –
Ah! Our mother has returned!

A while head scarf,
Now stained with blood,
Floats over the land.
There– chaos and riots
Gunfire cracks the night apart
Hearts straining, weeping,
Wringing of hopeless hands
In the soot filled and smoky air.

Yet in the mountains
In the strong currents
Made by the warm thermals
Still flies the white eagle
Now splattered by blood
But given in sacrifice
To a far greater love.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009

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