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Malala Yousafzai (The Pakistani Girl Shot for Defying the Taliban), Nobel Prizewinner - my Poem
Fifteen-year-old Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai fought for education for girls in Pakistan
She insisted on attending school even though she was threatened by the Taliban, who warned her to stay away from school because they believe women should stay at home and not acquire an education. Malala knew how dangerous it was to stand up for her rights, but she felt it was important, and she said that she was doing this for all girls in Pakistan.
One day, whilst travelling on the school bus, Malala was shot in the head and several other girls in the bus were also injured when the Taliban attacked them. As she lay in hospital, seriously injured, the people of Pakistan were very shocked, and her plight soon drew attention from the rest of the world too.
The Taliban threatened to kill her and her father, and she was airlifted to the UK in October 2012 for safety, and to have the best possible reconstructive surgery.
I was so moved by Malala's story and seeing her on television that I just had to put something down on paper
I thought and thought about it, and decided to write a poem in her honor. It's not a particularly good poem, but I sent it to her in hospital. I don't normally write to strangers in hospital, but it's just something I felt compelled to do.
Here's my Poem Dedicated to a courageous girl - Remember her name: Malala Yousafzai
Malala has recently had her story published (October 2013) you can buy it on Amazon:
In those countries where education is not always available, people fight to go to school to get an education
In the Northern area of Pakistan which is partially controlled by the Taliban, people are keen to go to school, but are held back, because the Taliban want to control what the boys learn, so that they have a religious education and not much else, and they consider girls should not have an education at all, because girls are considered to be mere breeding machines and virtually slaves and chattels, second class citizens who should know their place and be kept where they can't be seen.
Malala Yousafzai on YouTube - watch this to understand why I was moved to write about Malala Yousafzai
You would have to be very brave indeed to do what Malala Yousafzai did
Although threatened with violence by the Taliban if she disobeyed their order to give up her education and stay indoors, she defied them and stood up for what she believed in. This led to them retaliating by attempting to kill her. Fortunately they bungled the job, although she and another girl sitting next to her were seriously injured. They are still threatening to kill her and she has to be guarded, even in hospital in Birmingham.
The paradox is that, far from silencing Malala, her voice has gained world-wide attention, and, already famous in Pakistan because of her stand against the Taliban, she has became famous throughout the world, with millions of well-wishers who have sent cards, letters, presents and donations, Whole classes of school children have written to her, and she is held up as an example and role model.
How would you behave in these circumstances?
Would you put your life on the line if you perceived an unjust situation?
You'd never think that someone would be shot for wanting to go to school
Yes, all Malala did to offend the Taliban was to insist on carrying on with her schooling whe n they ordered her to stay home.
If your children complain about having to go to school every day, tell them about Malala!
Khaled Hosseini has written very vividly about the oppressive lives people live in this part of the world
Update on 28th July 2013
Malala underwent an operation in February 2013 to insert a titanium plate in her skull to cover the hole caused by the bullet. At the same time she also had a cochleal implant in her ear to help her to hear properly.
Doctors say that the operations were successful and that she should make a full recovery eventually. She has been discharged from hospital.
Now Malala is continuing her education in England. She has meanwhile got the whole world talking about her campaign for all girls thoughout the world to receive an education.
She was recently invited to give a speech at the United Nations, which was shown on Television. And what a speech it was - maybe the script had been written by someone else, but what delivery by a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl, what poise and confidence. Even the Taliban have been prompted if not to apologize, at least to say they were wrong to shoot her, and they invited her back to Pakistan. Wisely, she has decided to remain under the protection of the UK for the time being.
Some Important News Links About Malala Yousafzai
- Wikipedia: Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy
- Malala Yousafzai didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize—yet - The Washington Post
There is still plenty of time to receive the Nobel Peace Prize if, at 16, she can say of the man who tried to kill her, "I can't imagine hurting him even with a needle."
- BBC News - Malala Yousafzai suspects arrested, Pakistan army says
The militants suspected of the gun attack on education activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012 are arrested, Pakistan's army says.
We are fortunate in the Western World:
Parents are legally bound to send their children to school, and must do so unless they prove that they are capable of home-schooling their children and do in fact teach them appropriately.
But in some third-world countries, children do not attend school. Sometimes this is because the parents are too poor to send them to school, or they want their children to work and help to support the family. And in many of these countries, people take the view that it is more important for boys to be educated than girls.
Update on 10 December 2014 - Malala has just become joint winner of the Nobel Prize and, at 17, she is the youngest person ever to win
- BBC News - Malala and Kailash Satyarthi receive joint Nobel award
Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi receive the Nobel Peace Prize awards in Oslo.
- Video: Watch live: Malala Yousafzai wins Nobel Peace Prize - Telegraph
The Nobel Peace Prize is announced by Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
- BBC News - Malala and Kailash Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize
Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Malala's Speech on 10th December 2014 After Receiving her Nobel Prize for Peace
She said that the award was not just for her:
"It is for those forgotten children who want education. 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, raise their voice. It is not time to pity them. It is time to take action so it becomes the last time that we see a child deprived of education."