Shamsia Husseini, right, pictured here with a classmate, was one of 15 girls and women in Kandahar, Afghanistan, who were splashed with acid two months ago by men who presumably wanted to deter them from getting an education.
This is just an astonishing and beautiful and heartbreaking story of survival:
One morning two months ago, Shamsia Husseini and her sister were walking through the muddy streets to the local girls school when a man pulled alongside them on a motorcycle and posed what seemed like an ordinary question.I honestly don't know that I can convey how deeply moved I am by the bravery of these women and girls. Their insistent defiance is exhilarating, and, more than that, quite genuinely heroic. I am in awe of them.
"Are you going to school?"
Then the man pulled Shamsia's burqa from her head and sprayed her face with burning acid. Scars, jagged and discolored, now spread across Shamsia's eyelids and most of her left cheek. These days, her vision goes blurry, making it hard for her to read.
But if the acid attack against Shamsia and 14 others — students and teachers — was meant to terrorize the girls into staying home, it appears to have completely failed.
Today, nearly all of the wounded girls are back at the Mirwais School for Girls, including even Shamsia, whose face was so badly burned that she had to be sent abroad for treatment. Perhaps even more remarkable, nearly every other female student in this deeply conservative community has returned as well — about 1,300 in all.
"My parents told me to keep coming to school even if I am killed," said Shamsia, 17, in a moment after class. Shamsia's mother, like nearly all of the adult women in the area, is unable to read or write. "The people who did this to me don't want women to be educated. They want us to be stupid things."
[H/T to Shaker Allie.]