An Attempt to Silence Malala

The Taliban were furious at Malala’s candid criticism of them. Soon, they began to give her death threats. They published warnings against in the newspapers and slipped threatening notes under the door of her home. Her parents got scared and asked Malala to back down to avoid any mishap, but the Braveheart girl refused. Her courage was stronger than their fear of the Taliban. In spite of all the threats, Malala continued to raise her voice in support of every girls’ right to education.

On October 9, 2012, Malala was returning home from school on a bus with her friends when a masked gunman entered the bus. He pointed a gun at the girls and demanded to know who was Malala. As her friends turned to look at Malala, he fired three shots. One bullet hit Malala on the left side of her head, going down her neck and settling in her shoulder. Everyone got terribly scared as she collapsed and the gunman escaped.

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In an ambulance 15-year-old, Malala was airlifted to a military hospital in quite a critical condition. After a 5-hour long operation, the bullet was removed, but her condition wasn’t stable. Her organs started to fail, an infection developed, and she was kept in an induced coma. Many countries offered to treat Malala and she was transferred first to Germany and then the United Kingdom for her treatment.

Malala Yousafzai was finally released from the hospital in January 2013 after having her skull reconstructed and receiving a cochlear implant to restore her hearing. Her life changed drastically after this event. Now she had two choices: go back to safety, or continue her fight for human rights. She said to herself, “Malala, you have already faced death. This is your second life. Don’t be afraid — if you are afraid, you can’t move forward.”

Renewed Activism

Malala’s murder attempt met with worldwide outrage and protests across her country. A right-to-education bill was passed in Pakistan for the first time, and she now receives international support for promoting her cause.

On her 16th birthday on July 12, 2013, Malala went to New York to give a passionate speech at the United Nations, in which she urged the world to challenge extremism with education. In the same year, she published her first book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.

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Malala continued her political activism with renewed courage. She spoke at Harvard University and met with world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth and Barack Obama. Malala became the youngest person and only Pakistani to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in October 2014, at the age of 17. She dedicated the award to “all the voiceless children who want change.” On her 18th birthday, she opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. At the opening ceremony of the school, her first words as an adult were a call-to-action for the world leaders to invest in “books, not bullets.”

Malala Yousafzai has become a peace icon and a leading spokesperson for girls’ right to education winning over 40 honorary awards. The young activist has funded education projects in six countries and keeps raising her voice to empower girls to become agents of change in their communities through her own non-profit Malala Fund.

Currently, Malala lives in Birmingham, UK, where she has been proudly accepted to Oxford University. At Oxford,  she will study Philosophy, Politics, and Economics to broaden her perspective and continue her advocacy for education.

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Malala has always shown exceptional strength and courage in the face of terrorism. The attempt to end her life only emboldened her belief in a more equal world. Her voice has helped in the education of thousands of children and inspired many more. Malala Yousafzai is proof that age has nothing to do with the fight for the right cause and anyone can raise their voice to improve the world around them.

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