Malala Yousafazi, Pakistani Teen Targeted By Taliban, Speaks At UN
Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-old Pakistani activist who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, spoke yesterday at the UN, forcefully and yet sympathetically describing her experiences advocating for the rights of women and children.
The day also happened to be her birthday.
Malala stated she was not appearing to speak against the Taliban, but rather “to speak up for the right of education of every child.”
“I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists, especially the Taliban,” she added.
Malala began speaking publicly about women’s education at a very early age. Malala’s father, Ziauddin, is also an educational activist, and operates a series of school’s in Pakistan’s Swat valley, often in defiance of the controlling Taliban. In 2009, Malala authored anonymous blog posts for the BBC as a female student experiencing the situation in Swat during the First Battle of Swat, as the Taliban began to impose a ban on women’s education. After her identity was revealed, she continued public advocacy.
In October 2012, Malala was shot by a gunman who boarded her school bus. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. Though the bullet went through her head and neck and lodged in her shoulder, Malala survived, but in critical condition. After months of surgeries and rehabilitation in Pakistan and the UK, Malala began to recover.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon applauded Malala’s efforts, and bashed her opponents.
“Through hate-filled actions, extremists have shown what frightens them the most,” he said. “A girl with a book.”
What do you think of Malala?