It's been nearly a year since Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban in retaliation to her work demanding education for girls in Pakistan. After a harrowing struggle, she's now living with her family in Birmingham, UK. To mark the anniversary of her assassination attempt (and a likely Nobel Peace Prize nomination!) the 16-year-old sat down with BBC to talk about her new life. As it turns out, she's most surprised by the new level of freedom she's been exposed to.
"It was difficult to adjust to this new culture and this new society," she told the network. "Because we have never seen that women would be that much free, that they would go to any market, they will be going alone with no men and with no brothers and fathers, because, in our country, if you want to go outside, you must go with a man — if even your five-year-old brother goes with you it's fine, but you must have someone else, a girl cannot go outside all alone."
Despite her new exposure to the Western world, Malala is keeping true to the way she was raised, assuring reporters that she's still following the Pashtun culture. In fact, she's speaking out to let us all know that she sees no reason for there to be such a divide between East and West. "I don't know why people have divided the whole world into two groups: West and East," she said. "The only thing they [the terrorists] see in the west is women wearing short dresses and skirts; that does not mean they have different ideology."
While she has been warned not to return to Pakistan for fear of retaliation, she assures viewers that the attack won't keep her from fighting for Pakistani women and girls. She hopes to continue her mission to help, and wants to spread the world to people in developed countries that they shouldn't take their education for granted — that the freedom to learn is valuable. In the meantime, she's attending a prestigious British school, and plans on attending a reception on youth and education, hosted by none other than the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.
Oh, and there's that small matter of the Nobel Peace Prize. Not surprisingly, the tough teen is taking it all in stride. "If I win Nobel peace prize, it would be a great opportunity for me," she said. "But if I don't get it, it's not important because my goal is not to get Nobel peace prize, my goal is to get peace and my goal is to see education of every child." (The Guardian)
Photo: Via The Guardian