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02 Feb

Afghan girl’s courage shines for all women

Afghan girl’s courage shines for all women

BY LEONARD PITTS JR.
McCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS

January 31, 2009

Full Article

A story for women and girls.

Shamsia was walking with her sister when a man on a motorcycle pulled abreast of them. “Are you going to school?” he asked.

She was. And this was, by definition, an incendiary act in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where the Taliban is making a comeback and posters on walls warn, “Don’t Let Your Daughters Go to School.”

What happened next was monstrous. As recounted Jan. 14 by the New York Times, the man lifted the girl’s burqa, exposing her face. Then he sprayed it with acid. In all, 15 girls and their teachers at the Mirwais School for Girls were targeted by six men on three motorcycles in the November attacks.

Seventeen-year-old Shamsia Husseini got it the worst, according to the Times. She was left with jagged scars on her face and her vision was damaged.

The next day, the school stood empty.

And there the tale might rest, the girls and their teachers maimed, the school closed and dark, a sad story with a moral that speaks to the power of brutish thuggery to crush the things we dream. Instead, it has become a story with a moral that speaks to something else.

Shamsia, you see, is back in school. So are the vast majority of the other girls. This, after the headmaster held a meeting with parents and begged them to let their daughters return. When that was only modestly successful, he got local officials to promise the school greater police protection, a bus to transport the girls, and a footbridge across the busy road. None of it has materialized, but the girls came back anyway.

Shamsia told reporter Dexter Filkins, “My parents told me to keep coming to school even if I am killed. The people who did this to me don’t want women to be educated. They want us to be stupid things.”

A story for girls and women………………………………………………

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