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Faces of Courage

A teenage Afghan girl who had acid thrown in her face for attending school vows to go back to school, "even if they kill me."

An Afghan teenager whose face was burned in an acid attack by suspected extremists vowed from her hospital bed on Saturday to continue going to school even if it put her life in danger.

Men on motorbikes used a water pistol to spray acid into the faces of Shamsia and around dozen other girls as they arrived at school, wearing burqas in the southern city of Kandahar on Wednesday.

Shamsia, 17, was the most badly injured and had some acid enter her eyes.

She was transferred to a military hospital in Kabul where she was visited on Saturday by other schoolgirls, accompanied by media.

"I will go to my school even if they kill me," she told reporters. "My message for the enemies is that if they do this 100 times, I am still going to continue my studies."It is not clear who carried out the attack which President Hamid Karzai and other officials blamed on the "enemies of Afghanistan" -- a broad term that most often refers to Taliban insurgents.

Now, I want you to pause for a second and think about the raw courage on display here, and consider the challenges faced by others elsewhere as we commiserate our own in extreme relative comfort.

And also pause to reflect on the nature of the enemy we face, and come to grips with the concept that it will take an entire generation to win the wider war of ideas against this enemy.

This Afghan girl, by simply going to school, joins these people who are not afraid.

Yes, it will take at least a generation to win (defined as reducing the risk of radical Islamic terrorism to a nuisance rather than a mass murdering national security threat). But there is a foothold in Afghanistan, and an entire leg up in Iraq. We dare not shrink now and squander it.

Think about this Afghan girl this week when you are tempted to complain about the situation at home, whether politically, economically, or otherwise.


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Comments (6)

Unfortunately, her future n... (Below threshold)
troglodyte:

Unfortunately, her future now rests on an America that just elected Barack Obama to be its president and commander-in-chief. May God bless her for her courage, and may God protect her in the brave new world american voters have visited upon her.

Subhuman scum that would th... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Subhuman scum that would throw acid on a girl for daring to go to school are 'suspected extremists'? We've lost the language, it seems.

What a courageous and deter... (Below threshold)
Jewels:

What a courageous and determined girl that should be used as a role model for girls, and for that fact, teens everywhere. If our children only had that much courage, and knew who they were, what good could be done in this world...

I pray for her and all of the women in those countries that they will one day be FREE.

I wish someone in public of... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

I wish someone in public office in America (like Congress or the Senate) would stand up and say out loud what fucking cowards these terrorists are, and use the same language I just used here. Calling evil for what it is is a virtue. And it exposes the terrorists' useful idiots in the process.

What really disgusts me is ... (Below threshold)

What really disgusts me is the stone-age religious thinking in Afghanistan that works so hard to keep women in oppression. Unfortunately little of the NATO role in Afghanistan is really reversing this.

Part of the reason these Neanderthal mindset men in Afghanistan so resisted the Soviet invasion of their nation was that the Soviets would probably have secularized this society and got tough with this religious extremism. This might have been the only case that I know where atheism might not have been a bad thing at all.

The very fact that this you... (Below threshold)

The very fact that this young girl feels to stand up for her rights in this way--demonstrates the success that we have had in the War of Ideas. We have a tough fight ahead of us, but the Taliban and al-Qa'ida should tremble when they see words like this from a 17 year old girl.

We must all we can to support these types of reformers. Though they may be small in number, the values of freedom and liberty are eternal endowments of a loving Heavenly Father. As long as there is one battling for their agency, he will not leave them unsupported and we should not. Eventually the call of this girl and others like her will become a groundswell that cannot be stopped or reversed.

Thank you for capturing this story and may we each do all that we can to support the cause of liberty and freedom--not the least of which is that effort that we undertake while on our knees.




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