Posted by: jugglinbob | February 8, 2013

Cured by prayer?

I’m going to have be careful on this one…

I’m sure that you’ve all heard of Malala Yousufzai, but here’s quick recap just in case…

The 15 year old angered Taliban leaders by promoting education for young girls in her home region of Swat Valley where the Taliban had previously banned girls from attending school.
Malala had previously pseudonymously blogged for the BBC about her life under the rule of the Taliban, and she included details about the circumstances of female education in the region. She later became more prominent, giving interviews in the press and becoming the Chairperson of the District Child Assembly Swat. She won the Pakistani government Youth Peace Prize in 2011, which has now been renamed in her honour. Certainly she is indeed a brave girl and is passionate about the issues at hand. She even wants to form her own political party working for the cause of education.

Then, on October 12th 2012, a gunman boarded the bus she was on returning from school , asked for her by name, and shot her with his pistol in the head and chest.

The next day she was flown by helicopter to a military hospital in Peshawar where doctors removed a bullet near her spine, which “entered just above her left eye and ran along her jaw, grazing her brain.” A piece of skull was removed as the brain was swelling at this time. She was flown to the UK on the 15th October for specialist treatment in a prominent trauma hospital, where she responded well to treatment. Dr Rosser, University Hospital Birmingham’s Medical Director talked about her time in ITU and stated that her care requires 13 different medical specialities, something that is unavailable in her home country, whereas the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham has 47 “all under this roof”.

Another interview with Dr Rosser on the 26th October also gave hints about the level of treatment that Malala has received: (Italics are Dr Rosser’s words)

“Needs her skull reconstructed, which is obviously pretty high tech stuff”

“She’ll be having a lot of endocrinology tests because the hormones can get … imbalanced after a serious head injury”

“She’s having blood tests today”

There was a question from the floor about Malala’s skull reconstruction –

“That will happen here, it wouldn’t be appropriate to put her on a plane until that’s sorted”

“That piece of skull has come with her, so the questions that the teams are asking themselves now are do they put that piece of skull back in… or to use a titanium plate… which are things we do relatively routinely here”

She also had a tracheostomy according to an interviewer’s question and Dr Rosser’s response in this and another interview with him.  These interviews are actually fascinating to watch – normally these get edited down to a sound bite of 10 seconds or less, so to see them in full and see how the process works is quite cool.

There is now a petition for Malala to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and thus join ranks of the likes of Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama on one hand, and President Obama and Yasser Arafat on the other…
This petition has 286 145 supporters as of the time of posting this, including the Prime Minister of Canada and Prof. Dawkins.

She was discharged from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham where she had been receiving her specialist treatment in January, but later returned for a surgical procedure to restore her hearing in the left ear, when a cochlear implant was surgically inserted.

OK. So far so good. We have an amazingly courageous girl who has come through an awful experience because of her belief that women should also receive an education. So what’s the problem?
The hospital where she was receiving treatment released a press statement and a video interview which was widely reported upon, where Malala was:

Speaking clearly, but with noticeable damage to the right side of her face, said: “Today you can see that I’m alive. I can speak. I can see you, I can see everyone.
“And today I can speak. I am getting better day by day and it’s just because of the prayers of people.
“Because all the people, men, women and children, all of them have prayed for me. And because of these prayers, God has given me this new life.
“And this is a new life; a second life. And I want to serve, I want to serve the people.

and this is when I start to have problems…

Sorry. Say again? “I am getting better day by day and it’s just because of the prayers of people.
Once more with feeling: “it’s just because of the prayers…
Hmmm… a religious sect decided to kill you but you are now getting better “just because of the prayers…
Let’s ignore the surgery that you received in at least 2 hospitals, the fact that you were moved half way across the world by helicopter and planes to receive treatment in one of few places where one can be treated by “13 different medical specialities”, where you received ground breaking treatment: a cochlear implant, treatment in intensive care including a tube being placed surgically into your trachea, where brain surgeons replaced part of your skull with a man-made material, which according to Dr Rosser is “pretty high tech stuff”, where you will have received drugs to resolve the endocrinological imbalances, where thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent on your treatment.
You have been treated by science.

If my back hurts I might to see a chiropractor or a raiki therapist; if I feel sick and bloated I might try a herbalist. If I get shot – get a Doctor! Now!

British comedian Jack Dee said in one his routines (and I’m paraphrasing as I can’t find a link…):

“Has anyone ever heard at the scene of an accident “Let me through – I’m a herbalist… Ah this man needs Marjoram, and plenty of it!”

“But my leg! It’s been torn off!””

Don’t get me wrong here – Malalar is incredibly courageous and brave for speaking out against the Taliban. But she needs to admit that it was science that has treated and is curing her.

Religion is what got you in the mess in the first place, and now you dare to say that religion has cured you?

Centuries of medical science treated you – religion tried to kill you.



  1. That is disappointing to read. I certainly hope she grows out of her current way of thinking.

  2. […] has been pointed out (personally, not on the blog) that I have been perhaps overly harsh against what Malala said in that interview where she stated that she was only getting better […]

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