The mighty pen.

Right now a 14 year old girl is fighting for her life in a hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. She was shot in the head and neck by members of the Taliban, for daring to encourage other young girls to get an education. They ambushed her as she walked home from school.

They claim that the girl’s online diary about girls’ education is an “obscenity”. Whereas shooting a defenceless child in the head; or executing someone at half time during a soccer match because they fly kites, or listen to music, or fall in love…isn’t an obscenity. It’s just part of the righteous war against everything and everyone who isn’t as pure as the Taliban.

They promise to target the girl again, and this time they’ll make sure she dies because she’s a “secular lady”. It doesn’t matter that she worships the same god as them, or that she attends the mosque regularly, she’s “secular” and therefore dangerous, because she wants to go to school. Oh no! We can’t have females learning stuff. They might realise just how poorly they are treated. They might decide they’re human beings who deserve to be treated with dignity, kindness and – here’s a radical thought – with respect.

But the Taliban espouse a peaceful religion and we shouldn’t be prejudiced against them. Heaven forbid that we should disrespect their theology and culture. Everyone knows that it’s the Christians who are the real war-mongering, spawn of Satan.

After all, it was a Christian who brought about the end of slavery in Europe; a Christian who ended child labour in the UK; a Christian who instigated prison reform; a Christian who started schools for poor children; Christians who help poor communities in the Third World get clean drinking water and create opportunities for the destitute to find shelter and jobs; Christians who rescue girls sold into sex slavery… Yes, those terrible Christians are ruining the world.

Whereas the Taliban are making it a safer place for us all by shooting 14 year old girls on their way home from school. They say the girl was “playing a role in the war against the mujahideen”. How brave of them to take on this militant, scary teenager all by themselves!

Of course, they’re right: the pen is mightier than the sword. They should be afraid; very afraid.

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