Malala Yousafzai is a remarkable 16 y/o Pakastani teenager who first gain international attention as the focus of a fairly obscure online 2009 documentary by filmmaker Adam B. Ellick. This documentary and Malala’s fierce opposition to the Taliban’s method’s unimaginably made her a target. On October 9th 2012 she was specifically targeted by the Taliban and shot in the neck and head on a bus filled with school children. The damage was unbelievable, but somehow thanks in part I’m sure to Malala’s tenacity and the wonder’s of modern medicine (and Kismet?) she is as expressive and determined as ever.
If you missed her appearance on the Daily Show last week as I did, you should check it out. Here are a couple of quotes that give you a window into Malala’s heart.
Answering Jon Stewart’s question about why she is committed to education…
In Pakistan when we were stopped from going to school, at that time, I realized that education is very important. And education is the power for women and that why the terrorists are afraid of education. They do not want women to get education because then women would become more powerful.
On her motivation and courage to challenge the Taliban…
My father was a great encouragement for me because he spoke out for woman’s rights, he spoke out for girl’s education. And at that time I said why should I wait for someone else? Why shall I be looking at the government, to the army that they would help us? Why don’t I raise my voice? Why don’t we speak up for our rights? … I started writing diaries, I spoke on every media channel that I could and I raised my voice on every platform that I could. And I said, I need to tell the world what is happening in Swat and I need to tell the world that Swat is suffering from terrorism and we need to fight against terrorism.
Speaking about the Taliban’s threat against her…
I just could not believe it, I said “no, it’s not true”. And even after the threat, when we saw it I was not worried about myself that much, I was worried about my father, because we thought that the Taliban are not that much cruel that they would kill a child because I was 14 at that time. But later on I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come and he would just kill me. But then I thought “if he comes, what would you do Malala?” Then I would reply (to) myself, “Malala, just take a shoe and hit him”. But then I said “if you hit a Talib with a shoe then there would be no difference between you and the Talib.” You must not treat others with that much cruelty and that much harshly you must fight others but through peace and dialog and education”
Here is the original 30 minute documentary about the battle against the Taliban for the Swat valley that first brought the world’s (and sadly the Taliban’s) attention to Malala Yousafzai. If you have 30 minutes, it’s well worth a watch. But WARNING – the Taliban’s brutality is on full display – many short portions are extremely graphic. Here is Adam Ellick’s most recent review of his role as the main reporter behind this documentary.
I’m so grateful that Malala wasn’t taken from us before her time. Welcome back Malala, the world was lesser without your voice in it.
That quote in the title comes from Jon Stewart as he sums up the interview.