So today is a particularly special one because the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to two people, one of whom is its youngest ever winner, Malala Yousafzai.
Like other parts of north-west Pakistan, Swat had always been a devout and conservative region, but what was happening by 2007 was very different – radio broadcasts threatening Sharia-style punishments for those who departed from local Muslim traditions, and most ominously, edicts against education. The local Taliban leader, Mullah Fazlullah, issued a dire warning – all female education had to cease within a month, or schools would suffer consequences.
It was then that Malala decided to write an anonymous blog, called Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl, which chronicled her hope to keep going to school and her fears for the future of Swat. However, when a television reporter came to Swat in 2009, Malala made sure that she spoke her mind on the right to education publicly. She was very brave and very articulate but in doing so made herself a prime target for the Taliban.
“Malala’s voice was the most powerful voice in Swat because the biggest victim of the Taliban was girls’ schools and girls’ education and few people talked about it,” he says. “When she used to speak about education, everybody gave it importance.”
As a result of her stance and defiance of the Taliban on the 9th October, she was targeted and shot in the head in front of her school friends, whilst sat on the school bus. TV presenter Hamid Mir looks back on the attack and the country’s realisation that the Taliban were capable of shooting a young girl as a defining moment. “It gave me a lot of courage and strength [a sense] that enough is enough, now is the time to speak against the enemies of education,” he says. “If they can target a little girl like Malala, they can target anyone.”
She was critically injured, with a bullet hitting her in the head and then passing through her neck and into her back. A part of her skull had to be removed and she was induced into a medical coma. Whether she would live depended on her treatment and her own power and determination. She was flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK, where stayed for 3 months. Once she was out of intensive care, doctors began to consider what could be done about the paralysis of the left side of her face, which had caused great distress to her parents when they were reunited with her in Birmingham. Malala’s father felt she had lost her smile. She had two more operations to re-attach her facial nerve which had been completely severed and replace the part of her missing skull with a titanium plate.
On 12 July, nine months after the shooting, came a major milestone – Malala stood up at the UN headquarters in New York and addressed a specially convened youth assembly. It was her 16th birthday and her speech was broadcast around the world.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world,” she said.
The voice of the girl whom the Taliban tried to silence a year ago has been amplified beyond what anyone could have thought possible.
Malala has spoken out and has stood up for the right for women all over the world to receive an education. Having enjoyed school and gone on to study law at university and at masters level myself, not being allowed to study because of your sex is just for me unimaginable. She wore her heart on her sleeve and was not afraid to speak her mind despite the danger that this would put her in. This outfit is dedicate to Malala, such a powerful beacon of hope in the world, a brave little heart, an inspiration to us all.
“I think they may be regretting that they shot Malala,” she says. “Now she is heard in every corner of the world.”
Heart Dress – CHARITY SHOP
Crimson Heels – TOP SHOP
Gold Arrow Necklace – ACCESORIZE
Alfex Watch – DELUXE STORE BAHRAIN
Gold Earrings – ACCESORIZE