Yesterday a Taliban gunman singled out and shot Malala Yousafzai in the head (she survived). The teenaged Malala had angered the Taliban for boldly campaigning for girls’ schooling. The shooting made international headlines, and today just about every Pakistani political party, prominent official, and at least one terrorist organization condemned the shooting.
- “Whoever has done it is not a human and does not have a human soul,” said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial information minister. Hussain also offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the shooter.
- “Malala is our pride. She became an icon for the country,” said Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
- General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s army chief, condemned the “twisted ideology” of the “cowards” who attacked Malala.
- Imran Khan offered to pay Malala’s hospital bill.
- “Shameful, despicable, barbaric attempt . . . Curse be upon assassins and perpetrators,” said Jamaat ud Dawa, the charity arm of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
- “The time to root out terrorism has come,” said Bushra Gohar of the Awami National Party.
- “We are infected with the cancer of extremism, and unless it is cut out we will slide ever further into the bestiality that this latest atrocity exemplifies,” editorialized the News International.
Despite the overwhelming outpouring of support for Malala, observers doubt the incident will spark widespread defiance of the Taliban. A 2009 video showing a fighter flogging a girl also momentarily aroused public anger, but the rage petered out fairly quickly. In all likelihood, the anger will subside this time too.
Via Meadia wishes it wouldn’t. Malala’s shooting is only the most public example of the Taliban’s brutality and despicable attitudes toward women and girls. There are probably thousands of similarly ugly stories that don’t make international headlines. Nevertheless, it’s heartening to see widespread anti-Taliban sentiment in Pakistan, however long it lasts. The best hope for the country is that the domestic reaction against fanatical barbarism will discredit radical ideology and shame political and military leaders into acting to defend the pillars of decency and toleration.