New York, July 13: It’s 16th birthday for Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot by Taliban for promoting education for girls. Malala celebrated her 16th birthday by addressing the United Nations Youth Assembly at UN headquarters. She addressed 1000 youth leaders from 100 countries in the first public speech after the attack.
In her speech, Malala appealed for a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism. "They thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed," she said.
"Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution," said Malala.
She was wearing a traditional dress and started her speech with a prayer. Malala also invoked Mahatma Gandhi and other global leaders of non violence in her speech.
"I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I'm here to speak up for the right of education for every child," she said.
"I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists and extremists," she said. "I do not even hate the talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him." Malala said.
Malala also submitted a petition to Ban Ki Moon, UN General Secretary signed nearly by 4 million people supporting 57 million children who are not able to attend school and demanding world leaders provide free compulsory schooling for every child.
UN designated July 12th, her birthday as “Malala day”. But she said, "Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights."
British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that Malala had delivered a "powerful message". Malala Yousafzai was shot by Taliban gunmen in October as she left for school in Pakistan's Swat Valley, northwest of the country's capital Islamabad, after campaigning against the Islamist Taliban efforts to deny women education. It was mainly through her blogs she campaigned for girl’s education.
Posted by Robin