Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Malala's Very Happy Birthday

Malala Yousafzai invokes Mahatma Gandhi in her UN speechMalala Yousafzai's 16th birthday was on July 12 and it was one the Taliban tried to prevent her from seeing.

Thankfully for her family and the world they failed.

They attempted to assassinate the award winning Pakistani teen activist who advocates for children's education and women's rights on October 9, 2012.  

But she survived it, is now living in the UK with her family and has become an even bigger and well respected voice for those issues and women's rights and is now the youngest person to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

In honor of Malala, her 16th birthday was designated by the United Nations and UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon as Malala Day. as she celebrated it with her first public speech since the cowardly Taliban terrorist tried to kill her on her way to school in Pakistan's troubled Swat valley.

She spoke in front of a UN Youth Assembly in New York in an impassioned speech in which she invoked the names of non-violence advocates Mahatma Gandhi, the Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. and the late Benazir Bhutto and called on the world's government to provide free education to every child among other issues.

"Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world," Malala said to the nearly 1000 young leaders from around the world..

"The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born. I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. My dreams are the same," the rights activist said.

Telling the UN Youth Assembly that she was focusing on women's rights and girls' education because they were suffering the most, she called upon world leaders to change their strategic policies in favor of peace and prosperity.

"We call upon all governments to ensure free compulsory education for every child all over the world," she said, also calling on governments to fight against terrorism and violence, to protect children from brutality and harm.

Happy birthday Malala.  May you have many more.

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