“Today You Can See That I Am Alive”

Malala Yousufzai, in a photo taken when she was 12 years old

Imagine a world where a girl has to risk her life to get an education – simply because she’s a girl.

Unfortunately, that world is not imaginary.

It exists – right now – in sections of Afghanistan and Pakistan that are controlled by the Taliban.

The Taliban is a group of Muslim religious zealots.

They think only boys should go to school.

And any girl who disagrees with them does so at her own peril.

(“Zealot” is another word for “fanatic.”)

Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai dared to disagree.

“I want every girl, every child to be educated,” she said.

And she nearly paid with her life.

“(But) today,” she said, in a video message released on Monday, “You can see that I am alive.”

Malala is a Muslim girl from Pakistan.

She first got the world’s attention several years ago.

That’s when she began pushing online for the rights of all girls to go to school.

That put her in danger, because she lived in Pakistan’s Swat Valley – an area where the Taliban has been battling for control.

Last October 9th, while she was on her way home from school, members of the Taliban ambushed her.

They accused of her promoting “Western thinking.”

And for that, they shot her in the head.

The shooting outraged the civilized world.

At the time, it wasn’t clear if Malala would survive.

But her supporters got her and her family flown to England.

And for the past four months, she’s been recovering at a top British hospital.

In a video released Monday, she credits the power of prayer for her recovery – the prayers of people of all religions, from all over the world.

“All people – men, women, children – all of them have prayed for me,” she said, speaking clearly in English, according to the Associated Press (AP).  “And because of all these prayers, God has given me this new life – a second life.”

The video released Monday is the Malala’s first recorded statement since the shooting, according to the AP.

Since the shooting, she has undergone several major operations.

But doctors say the shooting has not damaged her ability to think.

And in the video, she says she’s “getting better, day by day.”

“I can speak.  I can see you.  I can see everyone,” she said, according to published reports.  “I can walk a little bit.  I can talk.  And I’m feeling better.”

Malala she also made it clear she has no intention of backing down from her mission to make sure all girls can go to school.

“My mission is the same — to help people,” she said, according to Reuters news service.  “And I will do that.”

Malala and her family are now staying in England.

The Taliban has threatened to shoot her again.

In England, she can freely pursue her dream of getting an education – along with other girls of all religions – without having to worry about getting ambushed around the next corner.

The Taliban couldn’t kill Malala Yousufzai after all.

And it can’t kill her dream, either.