File photo shows Malala Yousafzai recovering after her shooting (picture: AFP/HO/University Hospitals Birmingham)
- Malala Yousafzai, a young girl shot by the Taliban, has recently written a book called "I am Malala". She was interviewed by Jon Stewart which brought her great publicity. A Taliban gunman put a bullet in her head believing he was ending the Pakistani teenager's campaign for girls' education. She mentions in the interview with Jon Stewart:
I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, '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 your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.' Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that 'I even want education for your children as well.' And I will tell him, 'That's what I want to tell you, now do what you want.'
Doctors had to place a titanium plate over the hole in her skull and her hearing has been badly affected.
She has already been named as one of Time magazine's most influential people in 2013 and has reportedly secured a $3 million contract for a book on her life story.
"This frail young girl who was seriously injured has become such a powerful symbol not just for the girls' right to education, but for the demand that we do something about it immediately," said former British prime minister Gordon Brown, UN envoy on education who organized World Malala Day.
"From the day that terrible shooting -- assassination attempt -- took place, Malala Yousafzai is a symbol for the rights of girls, and indeed the rights of all young people, to an education," said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.
The Taliban made it clear that the aim of the shooting was to let the world know that girls have no right to equality at school.
Now, more girls than ever before are attending schools in the Swat Valley.
But the United Nations estimates that 57 million children of primary school age do not get an education -- half of them in countries at conflict like Syria.
"Students and teachers across our globe are intimidated and harassed, injured, raped, and even killed. Schools are burned, bombed, and destroyed," said Diya Nijhowne, director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.
Gunmen from the Boko Haram Islamist group -- whose name literally means "Western education is a sin" -- broke into a secondary boarding school and killed 41 students and one teacher before setting fire to the building.
According to Ban's annual report on children and conflict, 115 schools were attacked last year in Mali, 321 in the occupied Palestinian territory, 167 in Afghanistan and 165 in Yemen.
Schools were also a regular target in Pakistan when Malala started a diary at the age of 11, written under the pseudonym of Gul Makai, the name of a Pashtun heroine, that was published on BBC Urdu.
The young girl built up a worldwide following of supporters as she told of the anxiety she and friends felt as they saw students dropping out for fear of being targeted by militants. Girls also refused to wear uniforms to school in case militants saw them.
Malala and her family briefly left Swat during a government offensive on the Taliban controlled territory.
On their return, they were the subject of threats by militants before the attack on October 9 last year.
The family now live in Birmingham, England where the girl has undergone surgery and rehabilitation. The Taliban said it shot Malala because of her efforts to promote "secular education" and have made it clear she remains a target. AFP
Edited FROM UCAN/ UN/Interview with Jon Stewart