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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Malala Yousafzai, hero schoolgirl's recovery

Yesterday, 15 year old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai began to communicate with doctors for the first time since being shot in the head by the Taliban.  As soon as she woke up in Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, she wrote "What country am I in?"  The hospital has a trauma ward to cater for British personnel wounded in Afghanistan.  She can now stand up with help.

She was flown to Britain for specialist treatment on Monday with a serious bullet wound to the head after a gunman shot her at point blank range on a school bus in Swat Valley, Pakistan.

Dr David Rosser said she had a tracheotomy as her airway was swollen by the bullet and is unable to talk but communicates well by writing.  Once the tube is out in a few days time, he believes her speech will be restored.

The bullet struck her just above her left eye and went down the side of her jaw, damaging the skull.  It went through her neck and lodged in the tissue above her left shoulder blade.  Her team of doctors said she will need a few more weeks to recover and then her skull will need reconstructing, either by a piece of bone or a titanium plate and her jaw joint will need more work later on.  Of most concern is the damage caused to her brain as it is too early to know the full extent.

This shocking event has caused such outrage around the world, the Pakistani government are under pressure to act.  Their military detained a man called Attuallah in 2009 but he was later released due to lack of evidence.  Some of his family are in police custody to pressure him into giving himself up.  An accountant and two watchman from Malala's school who were arrested have now been released.

More than 200 people have been detained and many more are yet to be interrogated.  The other two men involved in the attack on Malala are already in custody, accused of sheltering the militant for a night.

Attuallah is believed to have fled to Afghanistan where most of the Swat Taliban and their leader Maulana Fazlullah are based.  It was Fazlullah who ordered the attack on the schoolgirl because she was a fierce advocate of girls education and promoted "Western thinking."

When a number of people turned up at the hospital in Birmingham, claiming to be members of Malala's family, they were stopped by police who recorded their details.  The Taliban has warned they will continue to track down Malala, until she is finally killed.

As the world looks on, our thoughts are with her as she fights to get well.  This young girl has proved just how courageous she really is by daring to speak out against the Taliban, knowing full well what could happen.  And it did.