Youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize: Malala Yousufzai

Youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize: Malala Yousufzai

On 10th October, Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel committee, declared that the panel “regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.”

In that spirit, Ms. Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan and Mr. Kailash Satyarthi from India agreed to work together to help children and to heal the rift between their countries..

The Pakistani girl once shot by the Taliban for daring to want an education just like the boys celebrated being the joint winner of the peace prize with her classmates at Edgbaston High School for girls in Birmingham, the city in central England that she now calls home.

After the news of Nobel Peace Prize, She said “I felt more powerful and more courageous because this award is not just a piece of metal or a medal you wear or an award you keep in your room. This is encouragement for me to go forward and believe in myself and know there are people who are supporting me in this campaign. And we are standing together. We all want to make sure that every child gets quality education. This is really something great for me.When I found I had won the Nobel peace prize I decided I would not leave my school, rather I would finish my school time.”

Malala reportedly said: “I’m also really happy that I’m sharing this award with a person from India, whose name is Kailash Satyarthi. His great work for child’s rights and against child slavery totally inspires me.I’m really happy there are so many people working for children’s rights and I’m not alone. He totally deserves this award and I’m really honoured that I’m sharing this award with him.”.

“We are the two Nobel award receivers – one is from Pakistan, one is from India. One believes in Hinduism, one strongly believes in Islam. It is a message to people—a message of love for people of Pakistan and India and between different religions. And we both support each other. It does not matter the colour of your skin, what language you speak, what religion you believe in. It is that we should all consider each other as human beings and respect each other. We should all fight for our rights, for the rights of women, for the rights of children, for the rights of every human being.

Malala said she had a telephone call with fellow Nobel peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, 60, and they wanted to build “strong relationships” between India and Pakistan. I want both countries to have dialogue, to talk about peace … rather than fighting with each other.

Malala said she had a telephone call with fellow Nobel peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, 60, and they wanted to build “strong relationships” between India and Pakistan.

“I want both countries to have dialogue, to talk about peace … rather than fighting with each other. I really believe in peace, I really believe in tolerance and patience, and it is really important for the progress of both the countries that they have peace and they have good relationships,” she said.

She added that both winners would request the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan attend the ceremony when they are presented with the peace prize in December in Oslo.

Brief past history:

On October 9, 2012, Malala (meaning grief stricken) climbed into the back of a small pick-up truck used to transport Swat Valley children home from school. They laughed and talked as the truck rumbled over roads lined with pot holes.

As they approached a narrow bridge over a garbage-strewn stream, a masked man with a gun suddenly stopped the truck. Another man with a pistol jumped into the back.

“Who is Malala?” he shouted. The girls did not answer but heads automatically swivelled toward her. The man raised his pistol. One bullet hit Malala on the top of her head. Two other students were also hit, less seriously.

She was targeted by the Taliban for her relentless objections to the group’s regressive interpretation of Islam that limits girls’ access to education. She was shot while returning home from school in Pakistan’s scenic Swat Valley two years ago, almost to the day.

Malala was transferred to a military hospital near Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, as her head swelled dangerously. Her father, Ziauddin, was certain that his daughter would not survive the night. He sent a message to his brother-in-law in Swat to prepare a coffin.

Pakistani doctors removed a bullet that entered her head and travelled toward her spine before she was flown to Britain for more specialised brain trauma care. She woke up a week later at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England.

She says she regained consciousness with one thought: “Thank God I’m not dead.” Malala gradually regained her sight and her voice. She was reunited with her parents. Soon there were pictures, stuffed animals at her side. She sent messages to well-wishers.

Three months later she walked out of the hospital, smiling shyly as she cautiously strode down the corridor.“She is quite well and happy on returning home — as we all are,” her father said at the time.

Pakistan made Malala’s father its education attache in Birmingham for at least three years, giving the family stability and Malala a safe place to go to school. She went back to school as soon as she could.. She kept campaigning for the rights of children to go to school — meeting President Barack Obama, attending human rights conferences, becoming the keynote speaker at corporate events in London. She began rubbing elbows with people who had the power and the money to help her realise her dreams.

Malala’s case won worldwide recognition, and the teen and became a symbol for the struggle for women’s rights in Pakistan. In an indication of her reach, she spoke before the United Nations and made the shortlist for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2012.

At a Vodafone conference celebrating women in March of this year , she confided that she didn’t have a mobile phone. The crowd gasped, but chuckled at the notion of a teenager who admitted she had no need for a phone.

With British journalist Christina Lamb, she co-authored a memoir, “I am Malala,” which revealed to the world that she was, in fact, also a regular teenager. There’s a part of her that loves the TV show “Ugly Betty,” whose main character works at a fashion magazine. She likes pop star Justin Bieber, watches the television cooking show “Master Chef.”

And yesterday, the people who helped her on the journey — and those just touched by her story along the way — couldn’t help but be swept up by the magic of it all.

“Malala is an inspiration for the many women in Afghanistan and Pakistan who have been fighting for their rights and struggling against the misogynous policies of the Taliban and local warlords,” said David Cortright, co-author of “Afghan Women Speak” and a professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. “As we know, people learn best from personal stories. Malala’s story is a powerful antidote to extremist propaganda, and the Nobel Prize reinforces its impact.”

Malala remains determined to return to Pakistan one day and enter politics. In Birmingham on 10th October her growing polish was clear. She spoke from the heart in three languages, offering an almost uncanny combination of a teenager with a vision and a diplomat with a platform.

She will split the peace prize’s $1.1 million cash award with co-winner Satyarthi. Malala said the joint prize gives a message that the people of both countries — and people who are Hindu and Muslim — can work together. “We support each other,” she said.

Her parents and brothers came, too, and posed together for family photographs while the world’s media begged them to look their way.

But what everyone wanted to know was: how did she learn the news? How did a 17-year-old who just received the world’s highest honour react after being pulled out of chemistry class.“I felt really honoured,” she said

Some critics say that Malala was too young to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and furthermore they argue that it is politically motivated by Western powers to highlight the attack on a girl in Pakistan by Talibans. There many school-going girls who were killed in Afghanistan , Iraq, Palestinian occupied territory and Syria by the bombings of Western powers and Israel are totally ignored. .In recent years, it is argued the Nobel Peace Prize has become a tool of Western powers to highlight their concerns and does not reflect peace-making efforts any more.

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