alala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban, has told the UN that books and pens scare extremists, as she urged education for all. Speaking on her 16th birthday, Malala said efforts to silence her had failed. She was shot in the head on a school bus by Taliban gunmen because of her campaign for girls’ rights.
The speech at the UN headquarters in New York was her first public address since last October’s incident in Pakistan’s north-western Swat valley. Malala has been credited with bringing the issue of women’s education to global attention. A quarter of young women around the world have not completed primary school. After the shooting, Malala was flown from Pakistan to the UK for treatment, and now lives in Birmingham, England.
Amid several standing ovations, Malala told the UN on Friday that the Taliban’s attack had only made her more resolute. “The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions,” she said, “but nothing changed in my life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.” She continued: “I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists.”