Often times, we just write to write. We don’t expect our words to have an impact; we don’t expect them to be the cause that sparks a response. But sometimes, blog posts can be a lot more than words on a screen.
Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old girl from Pakistan, found out the hard way. On October 9, 2012, Malala was shot in the head and the neck by Taliban militants. The gunmen ambushed a van that she and her friends were riding in, and threatened them until they identified Malala. When they did, the men opened fire.
Malala had blogged anonymously for the South Asian version of the BBC back in 2009 for a little less than two weeks. Her town, in the Swat Valley, had recently been invaded by the Taliban. She wrote about how the Taliban initially discouraged them from wearing colorful dresses, and a week later she revealed that the terrorist group would prohibit girls from attending school any longer.
Since her stint on the blogosphere, Malala had become an international voice of hope for young Middle Eastern women. In 2011, she sat down with CNN and spoke about her plight. “I have the right to an education,” she said. “And I have the right to talk. I have the right to speak up.”
Malala echoed those sentiments while talking to Pakistan’s Geo TV. She believed that all women should be able to attend school, despite what the Taliban said or did. Meanwhile, female and coeducational schools all around her were being bombed, torched and raided by militants. Malala was a player in a dangerous game, and she was well aware.
During the month that she wrote her blog, Malala feared for her life. “I heard a man say ‘I will kill you,'” she said, “but to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile phone.” But just weeks ago, her worst fear was realized. She was treated for critical wounds in Pakistan and then airlifted to a UK hospital, where a team of international doctors are working to bring her back to full health.
She hasn’t spoken publicly since the attack, but across the globe, her message is being heard louder than ever.