It's 4pm on a muggy afternoon in Mingora, north Pakistan. School's out. You're feeling agitated.
People you live and work with have told you about this teenager who's getting ahead of herself. She's written a blog for a sinfully modern Western company called the BBC. It's a diary about how you – your people – are making life hard for the girls of Swat Valley by denying them an education and brutally censoring free expression. So you head out of the house. With a mate and a tip-off. And a gun.
Along comes the school bus, or rather the van, you've been waiting for. It's full of girls. You board it. "Where's Malala?" you scream at the terrified teenagers, who are generally around 14. Malala is the sinner who, in that online diary read by infidels across the globe, was "promoting secularism", as your chums in the Taliban indelicately put it. Hot with anger at her challenge to your way of life, you ask again, this time with even more venom. "Where's Malala?" Malala is made known. So you pull out your gun. You pull out your gun and shoot in the head the 14-year-old who dared to write a blog for the BBC about her right to an education.
What sort of sick, theocratic, permanently insecure, sexually frustrated, emotionally infantile, inhumane brute knows how to pull the trigger of a gun he has aimed at the head of a 14-year-old girl who wants an education? One who thinks he has God on his side.
Spare me your pieties about Islam being an equable, tolerant, peaceful faith; and spare me your rationalisation of what the Taliban were put through by our khaki-clad comrades taking orders from the White House. This isn't about one faith. It's about theocracy, and the brutality and tyranny it necessarily and always breeds.
The safe landing of Malala Yousafzai in Britain yesterday was a moment for all patriots here to rejoice. Her condition is critical. She might not make it. But even those brave Pakistanis who spoke out against her enemies will be glad she is in the hands of our NHS. What a testimony to our country that is.
At independentvoices.com we have started a petition to show our solidarity. To join Malala's fight for free expression, condemn the inhumanity of the Taliban, and support the right of Pakistanis to an education regardless of faith or gender, please log on and sign today. Tell your friends. Take arms, digitally at least, against modern tyrannies based on ancient prejudice, and boost in your own small way the cause for which Malala may yet be martyred.
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