Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani schoolgirl, a campaigner for women’s right to education. In retaliation for her human rights work and criticism of the Taliban, the fighters wounded her. Despite this, Malala has survived. These days, she continues her human rights activity. The life and biography of Malala Yousafzai have become a real symbol of the struggle for justice. This paper will discuss the life of this activist, provide examples of her speeches, as well as the impact the have had on the society.
Malala was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora in northwest Pakistan. The girl’s name was given to her in honor of the Pakistani heroine Malalai – a participant of the Battle of Maiwand in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The name Malala is translated as “grief-stricken”. From the further fate of Malala Yusufzai, it is seen that her name became fatal.
Malala descends from the Sunni Muslim family. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, is a poet. He operates a network of public schools and advocates for education. Due to her father, Malala also began the struggle for women’s right to education. In 2009, the girl started writing an anonymous blog for the BBC. She expressed her views on education and life under the threat of the Taliban. The girl’s position consisted in the fact that all girls should have access to the secondary education. She kept a very honest, frank, and sincere blog about hard life for girls under the Taliban regime. The girl described how those who want to study are beaten with stones and how girls and women were deprived of human rights and freedoms. The author Matt Doeden states,“Malala had made herself famous by speaking out for her rights to an education.”(7) Malala made notes by hand. Then, the girl delivered the notes to the reporter who digitized them and sent by e-mail to the BBC website. Malala’s nickname was “Gul Makai”. It means a bluebonnet. She was virtually alone, being a little girl throwing down a challenge to such a powerful structure as the Taliban. To do this, it is necessary to have an extraordinary courage.
During this period, the military influence of the Taliban has increased in Pakistan. People all over the country heard artillery from the advancing Taliban forces. As soon as the Taliban took control of the whole areas, they issued a decree banning music and television. They also imposed restrictions on women on visiting the shops and limited their education. Many girls’ schools were blown up. As a consequence, the students stayed home, fearing the possible reprisals by the Taliban. However, during a lull, some girls could receive a primary education if they wore the burqa. At this time, Malala and her father started receiving threats because of their outspoken views. They began to worry about their safety. Malala’s father began to consider his daughter’s moving beyond Swat to a boarding school. Nevertheless, the girl did not want to leave her native town.
Malala Yusufzai kept a diary for about a year. The last blog entry dated March 12, 2009. However, Malala and her father still continued their common human rights activities. Malala appeared in a documentary film and on television interviews. Due to her activism, millions of people around the world learned about the terrible events happening in Pakistan. At the same time, Malala and her father receive numerous threats from the Taliban. However, convinced that threats did not work, the Taliban decided to kill the girl to stop her human rights activity.
On October 9, 2012, the masked gunman rushed in the bus, in which Malala was going home. The terrorist fired at Malala. The bullet went through her head and neck. It went right through the shoulder wounding two other girls sitting next to Malala. The girl was in critical condition. Her father was convinced that she would die and told everyone to prepare for her funeral as her vital organs were injured. Besides, the infection started spreading throughout the body. In a state of coma, Malala was moved to the United Kingdom in the special hospital for treatment of war injuries. A couple of days later, she came out of the coma and tolerated treatment quite well. In the book Who is Malala Yusufzai, the author mentions, “When she was better, she went on working for the right of children to be educated.” (Brown 10) Currently, the whole family of Malala lives in the United Kingdom. However, they hope that soon, they will be able to return home. For her human rights activities, Malala has received many awards. She has been also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. “The Nobel Peace Prize of 2014 was awarded jointly to Malala and Kailash and Satyarthi, a man who fights for children’s rights in India.” (Throp 41)
At the special session of the United Nations on 12 July 2013, Malala Yusufzai urged the world leaders to provide free and compulsory education for children around the world (Throp 50). She also noted that it was necessary to take some measures to help 57 million children without access to education these days. The girl also called to respect the rights of women and children. According to a young activist, no child should die due to the fact that he/she wants to learn. The girl added that hundreds of human rights defenders and social workers around the world are struggling to achieve the objectives in the field of education, peace, and equality. Malala stated that only together people could change the situation. At the United Nations, Malala Yousafzai said that the terrorist threat would not stop her activity. During the presentation of the Sakharov Prize in Strasbourg, Malala affirmed that the real superpower is a country with many educated and talented people. It is not a country with thousands of weapons.
The Influence of Speeches
Malala’s speeches are widely cited around the world including Pakistan. People from all over the world warmly congratulate the girl and her family on social networks. Many Pakistanis are proud of their famous activist. Nevertheless, many Pakistanis do not support Malala. After the assassination attempt, the girl’s leaving for London, and especially after her performance at the UN headquarters, a real campaign started against the girl in her native country. Malala’s father is often accused of using his daughter as a tool for reaching the West. However, even in Pakistan, there are many supporters of the girl’s activities. The girl should be the subject of pride for the citizens of Pakistan. Her activity has had a positive impact on Pakistani children. According to many contemporary politicians of Pakistan, Malala Yusufzai has become a new symbol of the country. People around the globe believe that her achievement is truly unprecedented, and her persistent struggle and loyalty must be an example for all people. Malala’s activity changes the situation relating to education. After receiving the Nobel Prize, a special fund after Malala was established. It supports educational programs and projects around the world. Malala Yousafzai opened a school for Syrian refugee girls. Besides, Malala’s Fund will provide a grant of 250 thousand dollars to increase funding for educational institutions for girls in a refugee camp in Jordan (Throp 57). People believe that with the help of the little and brave girl, their future will change.
The 17-year-old human rights activist from Pakistan is one of the main characters of modern days. Malala Yusufzai has become a symbol of the struggle for the right of children to education and empowerment of women all over the world. The Pakistani schoolgirl Malala was attacked by the Taliban for defending the right of girls to education. She was seriously injured. Nevertheless, after the restoration of her health, the girl continues to advocate for girls’ education around the world. Her speeches are inspiring and help children not to realize the dream of education.