By Huma Imtiaz
October 18 2012
UNITED NATIONS / WASHINGTON: South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said Thursday he was “devastated” by the Taliban’s shooting of Malala Yousufzai, who had campaigned for girls’ rights to education.
“I can’t imagine how anyone can justify maiming a child for what they consider political reasons, because they want women to be subjugated,” he said at a press conference here.
Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his role in the struggle against apartheid, said Malala was a “wonderful young woman” who has much to contribute to the world.
She is currently fighting for her life in a Pakistani military hospital Thursday after a gunman boarded a school van in Swat Valley and shot the 14-year-old and two of her schoolmates.
The Taliban, who have killed thousands of people across Pakistan in the last five years and destroyed hundreds of girls’ schools, have issued a statement saying that any female who opposes them should be killed.
“I am devastated,” Tutu said.
Tuto was at the United Nations to deliver a report on child marriage, which he promised to campaign against with the same energy as he did against apartheid.
“We want to eradicate this practice by 2030, and why not? We ended vicious things like apartheid,” he said. “This is viciously cruel, how would you feel if it was your younger sister or your daughter?”
He saluted the United Nations for holding for the first time International Girl Day and drawing attention to the discrimination “that has dogged women and girls for centuries.”
White House hails Malala
The White House says Malala’s courage and determination as a champion for girls’ education and opportunity stands in stark contrast to the cowards who seek to silence her.
In a statement by the WH’s Press Secretary on the First Annual International Day of the Girl, the Press Secretary said the attack on Malala Yousufzai by the Pakistani Taliban was outrageous.”Like so many Pakistanis and people of goodwill around the world, the American people are shocked by this deplorable shooting of a girl who was targeted because she dared to attend school, and we reaffirm our commitment to working with the Pakistani people toward a future that delivers progress, justice and peace to all its citizens.”
The statement said that the US prays for her recovery and honours her bravery. “On this International Day of the Girl, we pledge to carry on our work and keep advancing our shared vision of a world where our daughters enjoy the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons.”