She would have known that they were going to come for her one day. Yet she carried on despite threats to herself and her family, displaying the courage and stoicism that have marked this young life as so very special. That knowledge became reality when the gunmen who stopped her vehicle on the way home from school verified her identity before opening fire, according to another girl who survived the attack. It was Malala Yousafzai that they had come for and she was hit twice, apparently once in the head and again in the chest. She did not die, and was rushed to the local hospital in Saidu Sharif by helicopter to the Peshawar Combined Military Hospital where her condition at the time of writing in the early evening of Tuesday was said to be critical but stable. And who was it who came for her? According to an unverified report, it was the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who are quick to own their work and deny that which is not theirs. On the balance of probabilities, it would seem that TTP made a determined attempt to kill a courageous schoolgirl who stood against the barbarism they represent, and fought for the education not only of herself but of all girls in the Swat Valley.
Malala Yousufzai is the winner of the National Peace Award in 2011 and was a nominee for the International Children’s Peace Prize – the first Pakistani girl to achieve such eminence. Interviews that have been published since she came to prominence reveal a young woman who is modest about her achievements. She seeks neither fame nor fortune and carried on her life as normally as she could, except that she was not an ordinary person – she had stood against ruthless murderers who would see every girls’ school blown up. Malala Yousafzai is in critical condition today, and so is Pakistan. 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.