- SPECIAL GUEST -
I often have young guests on this blog, and why not? They are our greatest resource. Many show outstanding courage and leadership; often more than the adults of this word.
So. Do you recall some time back when a young girl from Pakistan was seriously shot by the Taliban because she dared to campaign for the education of girls? Well, she is alive and well. Not only, she was invited to address the United Nations Youth Assembly last Friday on her 16th birthday - a day declared by the UN as Malala Day - MALALA YOUSAFZAI.
She was given a standing ovation at the United Nations on Friday as she declared the attempt on her life had only given her strength and banished any fear she once felt.
First, watch this brief video. It depicts girls from around the world who wrote to Malala to support her cause:
Now ... back to the speech ...
“Dear friends, on the 9th of October, 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too,” she said in her first major public appearance. “They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed.”
Speaking on her 16th birthday, she said the "terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this -- weakness, fear and hopelessness died, strength, power and courage was born."
“I am the same Malala, my ambitions are the same, my hopes are the same and my dreams are the same,” she said to thunderous applause.
Introducing Malala to a Youth Assembly of nearly 1,000 students from around the world, former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown had said that it was a “miracle” that she was able to be there.
"Let me say the words the Taliban never wanted you to hear -- happy 16th birthday Malala," said Brown, now the U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education.
She was welcomed to the stage as her mother, father and other family members watched and the audience stood to applaud. Friday was declared Malala Day by the U.N. However, Malala said it was “not my day,” but a day for every woman, boy and girl struggling for their rights.
“Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured,” she said. “I am just one of them. So here I stand, one girl among many."
"I speak not for myself but for those without voice ... those who have fought for their rights -- their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated."
Her message to world leaders was that they should introduce “free, compulsory education” for all children across the globe. In comments that may have been aimed at President Barack Obama amid attempts to hold peace talks with the Taliban, Malala said that peace “was necessary for education.”
“In many parts of the world, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorism, war and conflict stop children to go to their schools. We are really tired of these wars. Women and children are suffering,” she said.
But she added that “all the peace deals must protect women’s and children’s rights. A deal that goes against the rights of women is unacceptable.”
She said she even wanted education for the “sons and daughters of the Taliban.”
“I do not even hate the Talib who shot me,” Malala said. “Even if there was a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him.”
She said she had learned this attitude from "Muhammad, the prophet of mercy, and Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha." She said she was also inspired by people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mohandas Gandhi and Mother Teresa. Her philosophy was one of non-violence and the “forgiveness I’ve learned from my father and from my mother.” She said the Taliban were “misusing the name of Islam ... for their own personal benefit.”
"The extremists were and they are afraid of books and pens, the power of education frightens them," Malala said. "They are afraid of women, the power of the voice of women frightens them. and that is why they killed 14 innocent students in the recent attack in Quetta [Pakistan]."
Islam, she said, was a religion of "peace, humanity and brotherhood" that enshrined education of children not just as a right but "a duty and responsibility."
Now, you might like to watch her speech. It is inspiring for someone so young. What extraordinary confidence.
Clancy's comment: Wow! The more I see of some young people, the greater faith I have in the future. Malala ... Poised, confident, determined. At age 16, especially after the outrageous actions of those in her nation (and other nations) who have already tried to silence her! GO, Malala!! Courage that many in today's world do NOT have.... and yes, EDUCATION is the answer to so many problems. I only hope she stays alive long enough to do some great work.
Malala ... Love ya work!