Blogging in the Face of Danger

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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.

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5 thoughts on “Blogging in the Face of Danger

  1. Out of a serious and sad story and strong point emerges. Social media has given a voice to those without one in a traditional sense. In a far off country with a differing culture, the smallest of voices can be projected. Clearly this girl’s sentiment fell upon both good and bad ears. Her death shows how threatened bad people feel in the face of a moral voice that can reach across the globe.

  2. Thanks for making me aware, great, thought-provoking post. It makes me think of how in general we use things such as social media without thinking twice, while it certainly does not serve as a necessity where in other countries it really is the only voice people have. In the US, we never anticipate how posting a strong opinion about something will really hurt us in the long run–at least not as severely as in this case. I have read other stories of success thought–I tweeted about a week back on an article of women in Bangladesh who used Facebook to form a group to stand up for their rights and the government actually heard them out that way.

  3. Very powerful blog post! What an absolute tragedy. I think we truly take for granted our freedom of speech and our freedom overall. As a female, I certainly take this story to heart. It is so awful to think that just 2 weeks of blogging led her to this fate. I also agree with Charlie that this further demonstrates the power and influence of social media, as it can serve to expose horrible things.

  4. This is a very sad thing to hear. So many times we often forget the privileged life we live here in the states. We are allowed to say and express our opinions and feelings in any manner we choose without the fear of being persecuted. It is always sad to see how other countries do not have the same freedoms that we have. While I am glad that Malala was able to express her feelings and be the hope for a country, it is sad to see other groups trying to put down the progress that she has made. I wish her a speedy and quick recovery.

  5. Indeed, Social Media has allowed people, that sadly before were not able, to express what they thought. However in some places such as China they have social media banned, that is also another sort of repression. Lets hope Malala recovers perfectly

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