The journey of a young peace activist – Malala Yousafzai

The 2013 Nobel Peace Prize winner is to be announced tomorrow (11.10.13) and this year’s strongest contender for the award is 16-year-old education activist Malala Yousafzai. Her journey is one of heroic grit and determination in the face of daunting odds. Malala hails from the Swat Valley in Pakistan where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. In 2009, at the age of 12, Malala wrote a blog under a pen name that talked about her life under the oppressive Taliban regime and her views on the right of education for girls. Thereafter Malala started speaking more openly regarding the unjust and regressive Taliban rule and asserted that girls must have the right to education. She appeared on several television talk shows and even an international documentary.

Exactly a year ago, on October 12, 2012 Taliban gunmen shot at Malala twice at close range in the head and neck, when she was returning from school in a bus. The assassination attempt sparked widespread support for Malala and outrage at the Taliban for this cowardly act. Miraculously Malala cheated death and recovered completely at a hospital in England.

She continues to be a vociferous crusader for education. What is truly inspiring about this young girl is that in spite of being a victim of such violence, she believes that justice can only be arrived at through peaceful action and dialogue. In a recent interview by popular American TV host Jon Stewart Malala eloquently talks about how peace, dialogue and education are the ways to fight the Taliban and not violence. It left the usually glib Jon Stewart completely stumped for words… that says a lot about the power and character of this exceptional girl!

It remains to be seen if Malala will win the Nobel Peace Prize, but regardless of her winning any laurels, her true achievement is that she has been able to inspire and unite a whole generation and bring to the forefront the problems faced by women and children in conflict-ridden societies.

Posted By: Supriya Mathur, Team WEBO Power
Posted On: October 10, 2013

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