The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Child Activist Shooting in Pakistan Draws Protests

Oct 15, 2012

Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old child and women’s rights activist, was shot in the head and neck by religious fundamentalists who claimed to be Taliban in Swat, Pakistan on October 9th, 2012. She was on her way home from school on the school bus. Two other children were also shot by these killers who violently oppose the educating of girl children.

Her shooting has provoked outrage across the world, including in Pakistan, as well it should. Children and women have been at the forefront of demonstrations on her behalf in Karachi, Pakistan and other cities, organizing rallies and school closings.

At the age of eleven, Yousafzai spoke out against prohibitions against the education of girls by announcing her resolve to become a doctor.

She gained public attention in 2009 and in 2011 anonymously spoke out in blogs against the oppression of women and children.

In 2011 she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize and subsequently won Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. She has led delegations of child activists in appealing for educational rights for Pakistani children and specifically girls.

While government officials worldwide, the United Nations and the U.S. have roundly condemned the actions of the religious fundamentalist right-wing, the fact remains that many of these same powers created the framework for the violent attacks by fundamentalists to be carried out against women.

For decades, the Pakistani government has based itself on religious fundamentalism. Top officials in the military and the powerful secret service have cultivated ties with fundamentalists and terrorists, who have carried out attacks against women.

This same Pakistan government, with its military is one of the U.S.’s most important client states. The U.S. government funnels billions to the Pakistan military and secret police to safeguard the interests of U.S. imperialism in the region. At the same time, the U.S. has made use of and supported all kinds of extreme right wing fanatical groups and splinter groups. These shifting alliances, based on political maneuvering, have fragmented the country and left various reactionary warlord groups in a position to terrorize the population and carry out continuous war.

The U.S. government, along with its vassal regime in Pakistan is responsible for the horrendous conditions the population endures today. If the fight to end the violence against Pakistani women and children is to be successful, it must include a fight not just against the religious fundamentalists and terrorists, but the Pakistani military and secret police, and U.S. imperialism itself.