I have been writing a blog for two years now. I have written nearly every day, except when on vacation or in the hospital. My subjects have ranged from observations on life, cooking, crafts and book reviews. Nothing political.

Today I read an article in the newspaper that really got me to thinking. While I do not write a political blog, if I did, I would not be persecuted for it, as we have freedom of speech in our country.

Not so in other parts of the world. There is a beautiful valley in Pakistan, which until recently was a spot for honeymooners and tourists. The villages were peaceful and there were schools and art and culture.

All this changed when the Taliban moved in and imposed their bans and ideology. First, no women’s rights at all. This meant no more school for girls. Period. If anyone opposed their ruling, their head was chopped off.

So most people went along with the new policy, rather than be murdered. However there was a fourteen year old girl who became an activist for women’s rights. She wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC, telling what was happening in her little valley.

Last week, her name was found out, a bus she was riding on was boarded by soldiers, she was identified and shot in the head.

Amazingly she didn’t die. She was sent to England for medical treatment, where she is now fighting for her life. I don’t know that I would have had the guts to speak out, especially if the consequences were so dire.

I know we really can’t do anything about this situation, but it just makes me very grateful, that I am able to think and write and say just about anything that is on my mind, with no repercussions.

Yesterday the absentee ballots arrived for the upcoming elections. My sister and I sat down after dinner and filled out our ballots. While we do not agree politically and did not automatically vote for the same candidates, it made me appreciate a government where each person is entitled to his own opinion and women have the same basic rights as men.