The outspoken 14-year-old Pakistani girl that Taliban gunmen shot in the head on Tuesday crystallizes the idea of courage. She wanted to go to school—and had pressed her case despite extraordinary dangers. The Taliban prohibits schooling of girls past the age of ten. The US military reports that intolerant, cowardly Taliban militias have destroyed more than a hundred schools for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nine out of ten Afghan women are illiterate.
Taliban is a Pashto word. The national language of Afghanistan, Pashto is descended from the sacred Indo-Iranian language that Zarathustra thus spoke. Incredibly, in Pashto “taliban” means “students.”