Written by Andrea Martin, Media by Jack Wang
Friday – Oct. 10, Oslo, Norway
The Nobel Peace Prize was shared between Kalish Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their efforts to bring about changes regarding the suppression of children and young people’s rights, especially regarding educational opportunities. Malala Yousafazai gained worldwide recognition after the Taliban targeted her for her outspokenness regarding women and the right a fair education within Pakistan. Two years ago, Yousafazai was shot in the head, but survived the attack and has since been able to take her campaign to a global stage. Many commended her heroic actions and words as she spoke to the U.N. in the summer of 2013 about Pakistan’s position in terms of women and young people’s rights and education.
Yousafazai’s speech addressed the violent attacks that had taken place upon school children and teachers in Pakistan. For one instance, in June of 2013, a suicide bomber blew up a bus carrying 40 school girls as it was making its way to an all-girl campus in Quetta. 14 students were killed in the attack. “The extremists were and they are afraid of books and pens,” she said. “The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them.” Yousafazai has also shown the love and compassion that has been embodied within similar historical figures such as, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and Jesus Christ, many of whom she has looked to in times of struggle, adversity, and resistance. She has declared that she does not show contempt or hatred for the Taliban or for the men who tried to silence her.
“Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone,” she said. “Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child. I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists, especially the Taliban.” Gaining respect and praise from those around her, Yousafazai is now the youngest recipient to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17. Yousafazai thanked her parents for their love and support and for allowing her to achieve her goals. Addressing the media in Birmingham England, Yousafazai said the award is a “great honor for me and I am honored to share it with Satyarthi.” Yousafazai has stated this honor will not halt her in her efforts to raise more awareness pertaining to young people’s rights and women’s rights in the Middle East and beyond. “I think this is really the beginning,” she said, adding that children around the world “should stand up for their rights” and “not wait for someone else.”
With the Peace Prize going to a Pakistani Muslim and an Indian Hindu, Yousafazai has praised this award as forming a bond between two countries that wish to fight the same battle against the oppression of children and women. The significance is regardless of skin color, religious background, or national background. People can come together to join a fight for those who are being silenced and nothing can divide us unless we let them. “The Peace Prize gives a message to people of love between Pakistan and India, and between different religions,” Yousafzai said. We must appreciate the love and compassion that encircles us all, and realize we are all human beings deserving of fair and equal opportunities.