"The struggle I was in was never just to go off and form some black state for black people. The idea was to change the whole body politic of North America. Our view is that when you begin to raise the bottom, you raise everybody else. So I’m very supportive of workers rights. I don’t care who the worker is. I’m very supportive of the struggle against all forms of discrimination, be it sexual orientation or whatever it is." - Chokwe Lumumba, former mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, civil rights lawyer & activist (08/02/1947 - 02/25/2014)

"The struggle I was in was never just to go off and form some black state for black people. The idea was to change the whole body politic of North America. Our view is that when you begin to raise the bottom, you raise everybody else. So I’m very supportive of workers rights. I don’t care who the worker is. I’m very supportive of the struggle against all forms of discrimination, be it sexual orientation or whatever it is." - Chokwe Lumumba, former mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, civil rights lawyer & activist (08/02/1947 - 02/25/2014)

Today I wanted to share some quotes by several-decade-spanning American activist and self-identifying revolutionary Grace Lee Boggs. Here’s a near-release documentary which she is the subject of.

Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese American woman in Detroit whose vision of revolution will surprise you.

A writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more than 70 years in the African American movement, she has devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America’s past and its potentially radical future.

More here: http://americanrevolutionaryfilm.com

These image quotes are all available to share on Facebook via The People’s Record Facebook page as well. 

Activist dies after stroke at protest resisting the further regulation of women’s bodies and deprivation of women’s healthcare
July 13, 2013

Anne McAfee, a longtime Democratic activist who suffered a stroke during Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster during an abortion debate on June 25, passed away Saturday morning at her home in Austin. She was 82.

Born Anne Elizabeth Castleberry on Oct. 15, 1930, McAfee was a lifelong Austinite and became interested in politics as a child, volunteering at age 13 on Minnie Fisher Cunningham’s 1944 gubernatorial campaign.

In the following decades, McAfee worked on a variety of issues from the advocating for the environment, to protesting against nuclear atmospheric testing, to protecting Barton Springs, to pushing for voting rights, Susan McAfee Raybuck, her daughter, said.

“She was very active in trying to make sure people of all races and colors could vote, even while the poll tax was in effect,” Raybuck said. “She was very opposed to anything that kept people from being able to exercise their right to vote.”

She was also heavily involved in civil rights issues and was an anti-war activist.

She was also passionate about women’s issues, which brought her to the Capitol on June 25 for Davis’ filibuster, Raybuck said. It was not immediately apparent that night to people around her that she suffered a stroke, Raybuck said. But after bystanders realized she was ill, she was taken by ambulance to University Medical Center Brackenridge, where she underwent surgery.

Following the procedure to remove a blood clot from her brain, McAfee was alert and talking, but she suffered a heart attack a few days later, Raybuck said.

She became unable to speak sometimes, but she used sign language to spell out “I love you,” and “How lucky I am,” Raybuck said.

While she was in the hospital, she received hundreds of cards and letters from people that had been at the Capitol when she had the stroke. Raybuck said that their favorite was one written on the back of a protest placard. It said: “You are a badass.”

McAfee’s health continued to decline before she ultimately passed away. Friends and family were by her side.

“Activism was just as much a part of her as the color of her hair and her big smile,” Watson said. “It was just who she was.”

A public memorial will be held for Anne McAfee at 2-6 p.m. July 20 at Green Pastures, her childhood home, located at 811 W. Live Oak St. in Austin. The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Safe Place and Planned Parenthood.

Source

Scientists in Serbia protest in the thousands against government neglect to fund research 
July 7, 2013

On July 2nd more than 3000 scientists gathered at the central Nikola Pasic square in Belgrade for the protest called SAVE-THE-SCIENCE (Spasimo Nauku in Serbian). The main reasons prompting the protests:

  • there has been several months of delay in funding for research and development

  • scientists have been treated poorly and have been publicly degraded by the current Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development

"Since the beginning of 2013, academics have not been paid for material costs and thus are left without basic resources for scientific research and equipment maintenance. In the government’s plan for rebalancing the budget, it plans to reduce the budget for science, which means that the present catastrophic situation will get worse and that is why this protest is necessary, " says Dr. Djurdica Jovovic, president of the Union of Science, Scientific Advisor at the Institute for Medical Research.

One of the organizers of the SAVE-THE-SCIENCE protest, Dr. Milovan Suvakov, a Fellow at the Institute for Physics clarifies:

"The basic point is that the funding planned in 2013, equals approximately $200 per researcher per year which is below the necessary minimum for sustainability of scientific work in Serbia. The fact that we receive salaries does not mean that we are scientists, we are scientists the moment we are enabled to work, and when we become a driving force for this society".

The Union of Science has prepared several demands for the government summarized as follows:

1. To return the amount of funding (so called “material expenses”) per researcher for fiscal year 2013 to 50% of the level it was at in fiscal year 2010, and in fiscal year 2014 to return it to the 100% of 2010’s level.

2. To increase the budgetary allocation to 1% of the GDP, in accord with the Strategy of Scientific and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia and recommendation of European Union.

3. To adopt a collective agreement that will regulate the working and legal status of employees in scientific and research organizations, according to the Labour Law, so as to stop the discrimination against researchers from scientific institutes in comparison with other employees in the public sector.

4. To stop unwarranted delays of payment of salaries and the material expenses, and to accelerate adopting necessary new legal acts.

5. To adopt a law, before the end of 2013, that will introduce a new organizational model for the financing of science, according to widely adopted European solutions.

6. Resignation of Minister Zarko Obradovic and others responsible for ignoring and not solving the problems in Serbian science.

7. An immediate meeting with Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in order to adopt and conduct necessary procedures for the survival of science in Serbia.

The official response of the Ministry was issued on Friday, July 5th and is more than disappointing to all the protesting scientists. The Ministry replied only in very vague terms deemed by the scientists as lacking guarantees, timelines and organized planning.

This caused the Union of Science to announce the prolongation of the SAVE-THE-SCIENCE protest with the main request to raise the R&D funding per researcher.

The main message of all the protesters is summed up in the words of Dr. Tijana Prodanovic, associate professor of astrophysics: “Science in Serbia is in a generally bad shape not only because of the lack of funds and basic work conditions, but because it has been chronically neglected for years and years, which culminated in termination of the ministry of science (that has been adjoined with Ministry of Education in 2011). As a result we are left with a scientific community where the entire value system is distorted, where science is done to collect points which impact our salaries and not for the discovery itself, and where any attempt to do any kind of science is made that much more difficult by the fact that we don’t even have basic things like access to scientific journals. Hopefully this protest is the first step towards the complete restructuring of the science in Serbia.”

One of the most well-known Serbian scientists and a leading stem-cell researcher, Dr. Miodrag Stojkovic commented on the whole situation: “It is a shame that government allows such conditions for the scientists who deserved better treatment and support and should be working at the bench instead of having to go to the street and fight for their rights.”

More activities are planned for Wed, July 10th.

Source

From Global Voices for Justice, a two-part interview with poet Joshua Clover, one of the recently triumphant Davis Dozen. The first part addresses Occupy and philosophy and crisis theory; the second part, on culture and poetry, is above. Clover reads two poems. The second concerns the problem of “how to set fire to fire”; the first contains the following lines: “You know all too well | that the best poetry is not | the least revolution | you know also that poetry | is the best way available to you | to affirm this truth.” Among all else that gets discussed, someone at The Poetry Foundation chose to transcribe the following: 

I take an almost mystical satisfaction from poetry’s strangeness and it’s strange beauty and that satisfaction is important to me and I want to preserve it. But, I don’t think that poetry is a satisfactory revolutionary force. The thing that I’ve been saying for several years now is, listen, it’s a good time for poets to get out in the streets and struggle and it will make their poetry better… don’t figure out what kind of poetry you can write to make the world better, get out into the streets and struggle and your poetry will change for it.

Speaking of The Poetry Foundation, Clover and Juliana Spahr applied for a job there last year; their letter is well worth a read as well. 

Submitted by:  afieryflyingroule

Topless Tunisian activist Amina Tyler: ‘Femen have insulted all Muslims everywhere and it’s not acceptable’ April 10, 2013
A Tunisian activist, who was threatened with death by stoning for baring her breasts online, has broken her silence to condemn the “topless jihad” that was organised in support of her. Amina Tyler posted images of herself with the words “Fuck your morals” written across her chest to the Femen-Tunisia Facebook page, earning calls for her death from a local preacher who feared her act “could bring about an epidemic”.
Women’s movement Femen, which celebrated its fifth birthday on Wednesday, responded by organizing bare-breasted rallies across the world, touting them as a cry against the “lethal hatred of Islamists – inhuman beasts for whom killing a woman is more natural than recognising her right to do as she pleases with her own body.”
Since the event – which inspired the creation of a group of Muslim women fiercely opposed to Femen’s work – Amina has remained out of sight. Amid fears for her life, the 19-year-old was rumoured to be in a psychiatric hospital, while attorney Bochra Bel Haj Hmida insisted Amina was well and with her family. 
Now footage of Amina has surfaced on French TV channel Itele, in which the teenager said she does not want to be associated with Femen’s recent actions. 
She told CAPA journalist Benoit Chaumant: “I am against [it]. Every[one] will think that I encouraged their actions. They have insulted all Muslims everywhere and it’s not acceptable.” 
When asked what she thought of the reaction to her topless photograph, Amina replied: “At the moment I don’t regret what I did. But I do not know what the future holds.” 
As to whether she supports Femen “whatever happens”, she says: “Until I’m 80-years-old. Because they are true feminists.” 
Chaumant says that for her own safety, Amina hopes to leave Tunisia soon.  “They [her family] believe she is at risk of death – she is at risk of death. So they want to keep her with them, at their house.” 
In what was believed to be her last interview before she went underground, Amina told Frederica Tourn she she believed she would be beaten or raped if the Tunisian police found her. But she insisted she was not afraid: “No, nothing they could do would be worse than what already happens here to women, the way women are forced to live every day. “Ever since we are small they tell us to be calm, to behave well, to dress a certain way, everything to find a husband. We must also study to be able to marry, because young guys today want a woman who works.”
As for what the reluctant poster-girl’s comments will mean for Femen – and indeed for Muslim Women Against Femen, this remains to be seen.
Source
Just in case any of you racists out there still believe that your support of Femen’s racism is justified because of Amia Tyler. 
Like everyone has already been telling you, the action was racist & insulting & it is really obvious that your condescending, eurocentric bullshit is not reaching out to help, is not being an ally & is not following the lead of the oppressed group & individuals you are pretending to stand for. Instead, it is projecting your European racism on a group of people who do not need you to mock their culture.

Topless Tunisian activist Amina Tyler: ‘Femen have insulted all Muslims everywhere and it’s not acceptable’
April 10, 2013

A Tunisian activist, who was threatened with death by stoning for baring her breasts online, has broken her silence to condemn the “topless jihad” that was organised in support of her. Amina Tyler posted images of herself with the words “Fuck your morals” written across her chest to the Femen-Tunisia Facebook page, earning calls for her death from a local preacher who feared her act “could bring about an epidemic”.

Women’s movement Femen, which celebrated its fifth birthday on Wednesday, responded by organizing bare-breasted rallies across the world, touting them as a cry against the “lethal hatred of Islamists – inhuman beasts for whom killing a woman is more natural than recognising her right to do as she pleases with her own body.”

Since the event – which inspired the creation of a group of Muslim women fiercely opposed to Femen’s work – Amina has remained out of sight. Amid fears for her life, the 19-year-old was rumoured to be in a psychiatric hospital, while attorney Bochra Bel Haj Hmida insisted Amina was well and with her family.

Now footage of Amina has surfaced on French TV channel Itele, in which the teenager said she does not want to be associated with Femen’s recent actions.

She told CAPA journalist Benoit Chaumant: “I am against [it]. Every[one] will think that I encouraged their actions. They have insulted all Muslims everywhere and it’s not acceptable.”

When asked what she thought of the reaction to her topless photograph, Amina replied: “At the moment I don’t regret what I did. But I do not know what the future holds.”

As to whether she supports Femen “whatever happens”, she says: “Until I’m 80-years-old. Because they are true feminists.”

Chaumant says that for her own safety, Amina hopes to leave Tunisia soon.  “They [her family] believe she is at risk of death – she is at risk of death. So they want to keep her with them, at their house.”

In what was believed to be her last interview before she went underground, Amina told Frederica Tourn she she believed she would be beaten or raped if the Tunisian police found her. But she insisted she was not afraid: “No, nothing they could do would be worse than what already happens here to women, the way women are forced to live every day. “Ever since we are small they tell us to be calm, to behave well, to dress a certain way, everything to find a husband. We must also study to be able to marry, because young guys today want a woman who works.”

As for what the reluctant poster-girl’s comments will mean for Femen – and indeed for Muslim Women Against Femen, this remains to be seen.

Source

Just in case any of you racists out there still believe that your support of Femen’s racism is justified because of Amia Tyler.

Like everyone has already been telling you, the action was racist & insulting & it is really obvious that your condescending, eurocentric bullshit is not reaching out to help, is not being an ally & is not following the lead of the oppressed group & individuals you are pretending to stand for. Instead, it is projecting your European racism on a group of people who do not need you to mock their culture.

Happy Birthday, Dolores Huerta (April 10, 1930 - present)!

Huerta is a labor & civil rights leader who co-founded the United Farm Workers Union in 1972, and directed the groundbreaking, five-year National grape boycott that won the first-ever contract for a grape grower.

She has been a tireless advocate for women’s rights, organizing against the Welfare Reform Act and California’s Prop 209.

She is also a 101 Changemaker: 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radical Who Changed US History

For more on the Farmworkers movement check out Fields of Resistance by Silvia Giagnoni: http://bit.ly/11TcrPr

All images on The People’s Record Facebook page for sharing there.

Venezuelan indigenous Yukpa leader Sabino Romero assassinatedMarch 6, 2013 
Indigenous Yupka chief and land rights activist Sabino Romero has been assassinated in an act which has generated public repudiation from social movements and the Venezuelan government alike. A high profile investigation into the killing has been launched.
Romero was a chief of the indigenous Yupka people of the Sierra de Perijá in western Venezuela. He was assassinated on Sunday night as he made his way to vote in an indigenous election, in circumstances which are still unknown.
Romero was a leader in the struggle for ancestral Yupka lands in the Sierra de Perijá, lands held by cattle ranchers, but many of which have been formally granted to the Yupka by the Chavez government.
Last November, Romero travelled to Caracas with some 60 Yupka to demand that the government act against violence on the part of cattle ranchers who were refusing to give up their lands, as well as to protest against government inaction and public media silence over the conflict.
Several Yupka have already been killed in the land rights dispute, including Romero’s own father, and activists say that local judicial impunity has prevented the murderers from being brought to justice.
The Venezuelan government today condemned Romero’s assassination as a “terrible act”, and announced that a high-profile investigation into the killing had already been launched. The government, in a statement, said it suspects that the Yukpa chief was murdered for his role in the land rights conflict with cattle ranchers.
“We can’t get ahead of ourselves on a hypothesis about  this act, which is condemnable and must be repudiated from all points of view, but in general the just struggle for the fair distribution of land is on the table [as a possible motive],” said communication minister Ernesto Villegas.
Indigenous groups and social movements held a protest today outside the Public Attorney’s office in Caracas to demand that those responsible for Romero’s assassination be brought to justice.
Source

Venezuelan indigenous Yukpa leader Sabino Romero assassinated
March 6, 2013 

Indigenous Yupka chief and land rights activist Sabino Romero has been assassinated in an act which has generated public repudiation from social movements and the Venezuelan government alike. A high profile investigation into the killing has been launched.

Romero was a chief of the indigenous Yupka people of the Sierra de Perijá in western Venezuela. He was assassinated on Sunday night as he made his way to vote in an indigenous election, in circumstances which are still unknown.

Romero was a leader in the struggle for ancestral Yupka lands in the Sierra de Perijá, lands held by cattle ranchers, but many of which have been formally granted to the Yupka by the Chavez government.

Last November, Romero travelled to Caracas with some 60 Yupka to demand that the government act against violence on the part of cattle ranchers who were refusing to give up their lands, as well as to protest against government inaction and public media silence over the conflict.

Several Yupka have already been killed in the land rights dispute, including Romero’s own father, and activists say that local judicial impunity has prevented the murderers from being brought to justice.

The Venezuelan government today condemned Romero’s assassination as a “terrible act”, and announced that a high-profile investigation into the killing had already been launched. The government, in a statement, said it suspects that the Yukpa chief was murdered for his role in the land rights conflict with cattle ranchers.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves on a hypothesis about  this act, which is condemnable and must be repudiated from all points of view, but in general the just struggle for the fair distribution of land is on the table [as a possible motive],” said communication minister Ernesto Villegas.

Indigenous groups and social movements held a protest today outside the Public Attorney’s office in Caracas to demand that those responsible for Romero’s assassination be brought to justice.

Source

Today is Alice Walker’s 69th birthday! Happy birthday and thank you a thousand times! Here are a few good Alice Walker quotes:

  • I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person. That is, if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money, or what will make fame. 
  • I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up to. 
  • All History is current; all injustice continues on some level, somewhere in the world. 
  • Ignorance, arrogance, and racism have bloomed as Superior Knowledge in all too many universities.
  • Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for.
  • Well, capitalism is a big problem, because with capitalism you’re just going to keep buying and selling things until there’s nothing else to buy and sell, which means gobbling up the planet. 
  • (On Palestine) It’s horrible to see the treatment of the people. I mean, the checkpoints are dreadful. We went through some of them. And the way the Palestinians are treated is so reminiscent of the way black people were treated in the South when I was growing up. And it’s an intolerable situation. And that our country backs this treatment by standing with Israel through thick and thin is just unbearable.

Alice Walker is an American author, poet, and activist. She has written both fiction and essays about race and gender. She is best known for the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple (1982) for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She’s a prominent student of Howard Zinn’s, an outspoken womanist, feminist, anti-capitalist, social-justice champion. We had the opportunity to see her speak a few months ago at the Russel Tribunal on Palestine. 

These are also all on our facebook page photostream to share there, if you like. 


"Prison is a second-by-second assault on the soul, a day-to-day degradation of the self, an oppressive steel and brick umbrella that transforms seconds into hours and hours into days." - Mumia Abu-Jamal, Black Panther revolutionary, journalist & prison activist who spent nearly 30 years in solitary confinement on death row. His death sentence for the alleged murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner was recently changed to life without parole. 

"Prison is a second-by-second assault on the soul, a day-to-day degradation of the self, an oppressive steel and brick umbrella that transforms seconds into hours and hours into days." - Mumia Abu-Jamal, Black Panther revolutionary, journalist & prison activist who spent nearly 30 years in solitary confinement on death row. His death sentence for the alleged murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner was recently changed to life without parole. 

Young undocumented activists wary of Obama’s new policy; deciding whether to apply

October 28, 2012

Viridiana Martinez has been on the front lines in the debate over immigration reform, organizing protests and getting arrested in acts of civil disobedience. But when the president announced a policy allowing young people like her to temporarily avoid deportation, she was anything but elated.

“It’s all political theater,” said the 26-year-old who came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico when she was 6 and grew up in North Carolina. “For me, at this point, applying for deferred action would be like accepting that theater, and I can’t do that.”

The lukewarm responses of Martinez and other leaders of the so-called DREAMers movement come after they have spent months or even years traveling the country while openly declaring themselves “undocumented and unafraid.” They have gotten themselves arrested, boldly given interviews to the press and allowed their pictures to be taken, and many are known to immigration authorities, who have taken no steps to deport them.

The policy shift announced by President Barack Obama in June provides a two-year protection from deportation to certain young people brought to this country illegally and the chance to apply for a work permit. Now the young activist leaders are deciding whether it’s worth accepting a deal that falls far short of what they’re asking for.

Some, like Martinez, are rejecting the program because its narrow scope doesn’t provide a path to legalization or any security for their families. But others have decided to apply despite misgivings, lured by the chance to get a driver’s license and qualify for in-state tuition in some states and to get a work permit.

Throngs of young people have turned out at events nationwide where immigration lawyers have offered free guidance on completing applications. Still, some are concerned about signaling their presence to immigration authorities. And there are other obstacles: the $465 application fee and the extensive documentation required to prove eligibility.

Last spring, groups of young activists staged sit-ins at Obama campaign offices around the country and gathered signatures asking the president to issue an executive order halting deportations for anyone who would be eligible for the DREAM Act had it passed.

Some believe confusion about the new policy has ended up giving more credit to Obama than he deserves, and that more comprehensive reform may be shelved.

“I’m just afraid that people will push aside immigration as if it was addressed,” said Kim.

The program is not an executive order, but rather a policy directive that will those who are approved in a state of limbo. They will also not be eligible for certain benefits that legal immigrants and American citizens can access.

Source

14-year-old Pakistani activist stable after Taliban shootingOctober 17, 2012
After being shot by the Taliban last Tuesday, 14-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in central England for treatment on Monday night. Doctors say she’s now in “stable” condition.
Yousafzai was shot in the head last week by a member of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan for publicly advocating girls’ education and promoting “Western thinking.” BBC News reports that the gunman who boarded the vehicle asked Malala her name before firing three shots.
She initially received treatment at a military hospital in Pesh[a]war, near her hometown of Mingora, and then a military hospital in Rawalpindi, before being transported by air ambulance to the UK. The Taliban have said they will target Yousafzai again if she survives.
Yousafzai has long been advocating women’s rights and girls’ education in Pakistan. She began penning a blog for BBC News under the pseudonym Gul Makai when she was just 11 years old, revealing details about life under Taliban rule, which banned females from going to school, and discussing her determination to obtain an education anyway. After the military forced out the Taliban, Yousafzai began to advocate women’s education publicly and was awarded Pakistan’s National Peace Award for Youth. She received death threats from the Taliban but continued to speak out against the Taliban’s efforts to deprive girls of education.
Hospital medical director Dr. David Rosser says that young girl has “a chance of making a good recovery.” He tells BBC News, “Clearly it would be inappropriate on every level, not least for her, to put her through all of this if there was no hope of decent recovery.”
In light of continuing Taliban threats, security is tight at the UK hospital, and police have been dealing with visitors. On Monday night, two unauthorized visitors arrived at the hospital to wish Yousafzai well, but they were stopped, questioned by the police and turned away. Dr. Rosser reportedly stated that “a number of people turned up claiming to be members of Malala’s family, which we don’t believe to be true, and have been arrested.” However, a police spokesperson released a statement claiming that no arrests have been made.
A return to Pakistan would almost certainly put the young activist’s life in danger yet again. BBC News correspondent M Ilyas Khan speculates:

Even if Malala Yousafzai survives, life is not going to be the same for her and her family. No place in Pakistan is safe for people targeted by militant groups. She may have to live under state security or in asylum abroad. In either case, her life and her ability to campaign for girls’ education in north-western Pakistan will be severely limited. 

It’s not yet clear the ramifications the shooting will have for women’s activism in large in Pakistan. It may hinder many from speaking out against the Taliban and its ban on women’s education due to fear of violent backlash from the extremist group. However, the attack actually seems to be sparking protest and, on Sunday, tens of thousands rallied in Karachi to protest the attack.
While Yousafzai continues to improve under the care of medical specialists, she has a long road of recovery ahead. Dr. Rosser says, “There’s a long way to go and she is not out of the woods yet… but at this stage we’re optimistic that things are going in the right direction.” Malala may need to undergo neurological care, treatment to repair her skull as well as long-term psychological treatment to recover from the trauma of the vicious attack.
Source

14-year-old Pakistani activist stable after Taliban shooting
October 17, 2012

After being shot by the Taliban last Tuesday14-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in central England for treatment on Monday night. Doctors say she’s now in “stable” condition.

Yousafzai was shot in the head last week by a member of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan for publicly advocating girls’ education and promoting “Western thinking.” BBC News reports that the gunman who boarded the vehicle asked Malala her name before firing three shots.

She initially received treatment at a military hospital in Pesh[a]war, near her hometown of Mingora, and then a military hospital in Rawalpindi, before being transported by air ambulance to the UK. The Taliban have said they will target Yousafzai again if she survives.

Yousafzai has long been advocating women’s rights and girls’ education in Pakistan. She began penning a blog for BBC News under the pseudonym Gul Makai when she was just 11 years old, revealing details about life under Taliban rule, which banned females from going to school, and discussing her determination to obtain an education anyway. After the military forced out the Taliban, Yousafzai began to advocate women’s education publicly and was awarded Pakistan’s National Peace Award for Youth. She received death threats from the Taliban but continued to speak out against the Taliban’s efforts to deprive girls of education.

Hospital medical director Dr. David Rosser says that young girl has “a chance of making a good recovery.” He tells BBC News, “Clearly it would be inappropriate on every level, not least for her, to put her through all of this if there was no hope of decent recovery.”

In light of continuing Taliban threats, security is tight at the UK hospital, and police have been dealing with visitors. On Monday night, two unauthorized visitors arrived at the hospital to wish Yousafzai well, but they were stopped, questioned by the police and turned away. Dr. Rosser reportedly stated that “a number of people turned up claiming to be members of Malala’s family, which we don’t believe to be true, and have been arrested.” However, a police spokesperson released a statement claiming that no arrests have been made.

A return to Pakistan would almost certainly put the young activist’s life in danger yet again. BBC News correspondent M Ilyas Khan speculates:

Even if Malala Yousafzai survives, life is not going to be the same for her and her family. No place in Pakistan is safe for people targeted by militant groups. She may have to live under state security or in asylum abroad. In either case, her life and her ability to campaign for girls’ education in north-western Pakistan will be severely limited. 

It’s not yet clear the ramifications the shooting will have for women’s activism in large in Pakistan. It may hinder many from speaking out against the Taliban and its ban on women’s education due to fear of violent backlash from the extremist group. However, the attack actually seems to be sparking protest and, on Sunday, tens of thousands rallied in Karachi to protest the attack.

While Yousafzai continues to improve under the care of medical specialists, she has a long road of recovery ahead. Dr. Rosser says, “There’s a long way to go and she is not out of the woods yet… but at this stage we’re optimistic that things are going in the right direction.” Malala may need to undergo neurological care, treatment to repair her skull as well as long-term psychological treatment to recover from the trauma of the vicious attack.

Source