Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani girl, gave an incredible speech as she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway on Wednesday after becoming an icon of the fight for children’s education rights.
She just became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in history, and her speech shows her spectacular wisdom.
From a young age, Yousafzai made a name for herself in her community as someone who was unafraid to criticise the Taliban. She has been especially critical of terrorist attempts to prevent young girls from getting an education in Pakistan and elsewhere.
During her Nobel speech, she commented on her attempted assassination at the hands of a Taliban gunman in 2012. She was just 14 years old when the gunman boarded her bus, pointed a pistol at her head, and pulled the trigger in an attempt to silence her.
“I had two options — one was to remain silent and wait to be killed,” Yousafzai said. “And the second was to speak up and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up.”
Yousafzai made a full recovery after the shooting.
Her attitude toward the threat of being shot and killed is astounding considering her young age.
“The terrorists tried to stop us,” she said. “Neither their ideas nor their bullets could win. We survived. And since that day, our voices have grown louder and louder.”
Yousafzai also called attention to her friends in the audience, noting that her story is not all that uncommon.
“I tell my story not because it is unique but because it is not,” she said. “It is the story of many girls. Today, I tell their stories too. I have brought with me some of my sisters from Pakistan, from Nigeria, and from Syria who share this story.”
Here they are:
“This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education,” Yousafzai said. “It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change. I am here to stand up for their rights, to raise their voice. It is not time to pity them.”
Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi, 60, shares this year’s peace prize with Yousafzai. Malala noted in her speech that Satyarthi has been fighting for children’s rights for twice as long as she’s been alive, and said that she is excited to work alongside him.
Satyarthi is credited with saving about 80,000 children from slave labour, according to Reuters.
His organisation works to free children from work in factories and workshops and has connections in more than 100 countries, AFP notes.
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