Malala Yousafzai, One Year Later
A year ago Wednesday, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban for advocating girls' education. She survived, and in just one year, she has started a foundation in her name, written a memoir, won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and is in the running to win the 2013 Nobel Peace prize, being given out today, which means she could be the youngest-ever Nobel Laureate at age 16. (We have emptied the dishwasher maybe six times over the same period.) What we're getting at is that Malala is a real life super hero.
On Tuesday, Malala was a guest on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" to promote her memoir, I Am Malala. She gave such an eloquent interview that we were left teary with admiration. (Jon Stewart was adorably speechless.) Here are our favorite nuggets of wisdom from the interview:
When Stewart asked her, "Where did your love for education come from?" Malala replied:
"We are human beings, and this is the part of our human nature—that we don't learn the importance of anything until it's snatched from our hands. In Pakistan, when we were stopped from going to school, for the first time I realized that education is very important and education is a power for women."
It's also powerful enough to prevent war. Says Malala:
"Going to school is not just about learning different subjects, it teaches you communication, it teaches you how to live a life. It teaches you about history and how science is working, and other than that, you learn equality because ... it teaches students how to live with others together, how to accept each of the language and traditions, and each of their religions. It also teaches us justice. It also teaches us respect. It teaches us how to live together ... I support the idea of sending children to school because it is the best way to fight terrorism."
Malala says she never thought the Taliban would be so cruel as to kill a child, but:
"I used to think about [what would happen if I were attacked] and I used to think that a Talib would come and just kill me, but then I said, 'If he comes, what would you do Malala?' then I would reply to myself, 'Malala, just take a shoe and hit him,' but then I said, if you hit a Talib with your shoe, there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others cruelly and harshly. You must fight others, but through peace and through dialogue and through education. I would tell him how important education is and that 'I would even want education for your children as well, That's what I want to tell you, now do what you want.'"
To which Jon Stewart asked if he could adopt her. (Eeeee!)
Despite the dangers waiting for her at home in Pakistan, Malala says:
"I want to go back to Pakistan, but first I need to be fully empowered ... and to make myself powerful, I only need one thing, that is education, so I will get education, then I'll go back to Pakistan."
What do you think of Malala's bravery?