Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for womens rights and access to education, appeared on the Daily Show last night, ahead of Friday’s pending announcement for the 2013 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Her answer to one of Jon Stewart’s questions left him speechless.
An outspoken critic of the Taliban’s tactics in her native Swat Valley from a young age, Malala was the subject of an attempted assassination at the hands of a Taliban gunman because she was unafraid to speak out.
Then, at just 14 years old, a Talib fighter boarded her bus, pointed a pistol at her head, and pulled the trigger. But she survived, made a full recovery in England, and has become and transformative figure in human rights.
Now, she is poised to become the youngest Nobel Peace laureate ever.
In the key moment of the interview, Stewart asked her how she reacted when she learned that the Taliban wanted her dead. Her answer was absolutely remarkable (emphasis added):
I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would 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, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’ Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well,’ and I will tell him, ‘that’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.’
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