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Malala Yousafzai, a teenage girl from Pakistan, was victimized by a Taliban terrorist attack on 9th October 2012. Despite her horrific injuries, Malala’s response may seem strange, as she did not seek revenge for those who attacked her. Not only did the incident strengthen her courage and her fight for every child’s legal right to an education, but Malala also shed light upon one of the world’s most powerful weapons, education.
Malala’s speech at the UN General Assembly
This chapter is an extract of the speech that Malala delivered at the UN General Assembly. She begins her speech by thanking God and every person who prayed for her recovery. She is thankful for the love and support that she received and she is overwhelmed by the innocent words of children to encourage her.
She says that Malala day is the day for anyone who has raised their voice for their rights, it shouldn’t be remembered as her day only. There are many human rights activists who are struggling to achieve their goals of education, peace, and equality. Many people have been killed by terrorists and many have been injured, she is one of them.
She then acknowledges the importance of education. In North Pakistan, they realized the importance of pen and paper when they saw guns. The saying “The pen is mightier than the sword” is true as extremists are afraid of education and the power of women’s voices frightens them.
Importance of Education
She then says that peace is necessary for education. Everyone is tired of wars; it is only the women and children that are suffering. Poor children are becoming victims of child labor. Young girls are forced to get married at an early age. The main problems faced by both men and women are poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism, and deprivation of basic rights.
Malala says that she is putting more focus on women’s rights and girls’ education because they are suffering the most. There have been times when women activists asked men to stand up for their rights but this time women will do it themselves. This doesn’t mean that men should stop speaking for women’s rights, women should be independent to fight for themselves.
Peace is important for education
Malala encourages everyone to speak up. She asks the world leaders that peace deals must protect women and children’s rights, deals that go against their rights should be unacceptable. She asks the government to ensure free education for every child all over the world. The Government should fight against terrorism and violence to protect children from brutality and harm.
She even points out to reject prejudices based on caste, creed, religion, or gender to ensure freedom and equality for women so that they can flourish. All women can’t succeed if half of them are held back. She again focuses on education for every child’s bright future. One must believe in the power and strength of education and words; they can change the world.
The most powerful weapon
At the end of her speech, she remembers the people who are suffering from poverty, injustice, and ignorance. We must not forget the people who are waiting for a bright future. She then asks everyone to wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty, and terrorism and asks everyone to pick up the books and pens as it is the most powerful weapon. Education is the only solution and thus education must be the first priority.
Malala addressed the United Nations, including more than 500 students in New York on 12th July 2013: “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” Malala allowed many others around the world to join her in her fight for the right of every child to receive an education and following her speech, many children around the world have the growing confidence to begin their journey in education.
If we lack support from a teacher and the essential materials, our education would not be enabled.
Around five million children around the world are out of education, but this can be changed. Every child has the right to provision. Every child should have an equality of opportunity to receive an education.
And every child has the right to learn about current and past world affairs, just like Malala’s story. With knowledge, society can be changed. Therefore, one child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.