Most teenagers would spend their 16th birthday with friends, family and being spoilt with presents, or trying to have a house party without damaging too much of the house. Malala Yousafazi, however, spend her 16th birthday in front of a UN conference giving a speech on the importance of education. The difference between Malala and the majority of girl in the UK is that at the tender age of 16 she is a campaigner for the right to education and has survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban.
From an early age Malala has been fighting for the right to gain an education simply because she is a girl. Under threat from the Taliban, Malala and her family would not let them win as she claimed yesterday extremist groups are ‘scared of books and pens’. It is this attitude that we should adopt,after all knowledge is power. At the age of 12 Malala began writing a blog for the BBC ( although obviously not using her own name) about how it was to live under the rule of the Taliban. As well as this she still fought to go to school, along with her female friends as well as filming a documentary for the New York Times about her life and struggle. This in itself is extraordinary and I salute her parents, many would be too scared and no encourage her but according the reports she has the full support of her family. Unfortunately the Taliban carried out their threat and attempted to assassinate Malala, boarding her school bus and asking for her. Malala did not hide away and identified herself proceeding to be shot in the head along with her school friends (proving their cowardice). Malala was flown to the UK for emergency treatment and is now living in Birmingham and still working hard to provide education for all children around the world and give equal opportunities to all women.
Yesterday Malala took to the worlds stage again at a UN conference and I actually got goosebumps watching her speech. You would not guess that she is only 16 years old her bravery and total commitment is something that many adults do not have. It made me appreciate my education more than anything and just marvel at her. I researched more about her and found out that she is the youngest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize in history and has already won awards in Pakistan for her contributions. I could not find a single person who did not watch the speech and agree that she is incredible, watch it here.
It also strikes me that in the western world we still hear cries of ‘feminism’ and how we need to fight harder for equality. In certain situations this is right but in the UK today even an idiot could see that we are better off than many of our sisters around the world. In the UK the majority of us are free to make our own choices, we can receive a free education, decide what to do with our own bodies and have wide access to contraception. It is my belief that with the help of girls like Malala we can make the world a better place for women. It has shocking that we are still seeing a lack of education for girls, reports that female babies are being aborted or given up for adoption quickly after birth simply for being the wrong sex. It is incredibly sad that women are still begin treated as objects and are not free to marry who they choose. This is NOT because women are not strong, it is simply through following ancient traditions and not entering the 21st century. It is when I think of this that I get angry at girls in this country who do nothing with their lives. I can tell you now there would be thousands of girls willing to trade for your position and pro creating because you were bored or drunk does not count as ‘doing something’. I am incredibly proud of my country for allowing Malala to live here and gain the education she deserves because to me she is a true hero.
Report by Chloe Metzger