Taliban have failed to silence me: Malala
KABUL (PAN): A Pakistani schoolgirl, who was shot by militants in the northwestern picturesque valley of Swat last year, said on Friday the extremists had failed to silence her and called for global access to education.
In her first major appearance that coincided with her 16th birthday, Malala Yousafzai told the UN Youth Assembly in New York. “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world.”
Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, who is also the UN special envoy for global education, and General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic also spoke to about 1,000 youth leaders on Malala Day.
Her brush with death nine months ago had made her more determined in promoting the cause of education.“Dear friends, on October 9, 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too, thinking the bullets would silence us, but they failed.”
Though the UN declared Friday as Malala Day, the teenager said it was “not my day,” but a day for all those trying for their rights. Her life had not changed at all; here ambitions, hopes and dreams remained the same, she added.
Hailed as a symbol of hope and a daughter of the United Nations by the secretary-general, Malala presented Ban Ki-moon with a petition signed by nearly 4 million people in support of 57 million children who are not able to go to school.
She urged world leaders fund new teachers, schools and books and end child labour, marriage and trafficking. "Today, it is an honor for me to be speaking again after a long time. Being here with such honourable people is a great moment in my life."
Refusing to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other group, Malala said she was there to speak up for the right of education of every child. She stressed education for sons and daughters of all extremists, especially the Taliban.
In his remarks, Ban praised the girl for being “courageous” and “resilient” in the face of the Taliban. “She was targeted just because of her determination to go to school. The extremists showed what they fear most – a girl with a book.”
Malala opted for celebrating her 16th birthday with the world, the secretary-general said, referring to the stout support she has received from millions of people across the world.
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