Malala Yousafzai is not only one of the most famous 15-year-olds who isn’t a pop star, she’s surely the bravest and most resilient. Shot in the head in October of 2012 by Taliban henchmen ordered to murder the teenager for her “pro-West” sentiments (most egregiously, pushing for the right of all girls to get an education), the Pakistani girl not only had the audacity to survive, she’s back to advocate another day.
Shortly after the shooting, however, the Taliban made clear they would not allow her to continue if they were not successful in killing her:
A spokesman for the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, which claimed credit for the attack, spoke to The Express Tribune, warning that they would target Malala again if she survived.
The spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said, “She was pro-West, she was speaking against Taliban and she was calling President Obama her idol.”
He added, “She was young but she was promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas,” and said the attack was a warning to all youngsters in the area that they would be targeted if they followed her example.” [Global Post]
Whatever the warning was meant to convey, Malala defied it, first by her astonishing survival; second, by proclaiming from her hospital bed that she had no intention of curtailing her efforts on behalf of young girls and their goals toward equal education.
The story of her shooting and the courageous actions that incited it went instantly viral, outraging those who could not fathom grown men boarding a bus to mow down a young girl on her way to school. Others were inspired by her courage in the face of death and her strength in fighting for her survival (which has been called “miraculous” by some). Still more insisted that her message, her mission statement, were emblematic of the higher ideals of those who transcend the norm to reach a level of influence that warrants our acknowledgement. Before long, articles were being written and petitions being circulated calling for her nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Back in November I wrote about the efforts of Tarek Fatah, a Canadian citizen, whose drive to get enough signatures and the very specific political support necessary to garner the coveted nomination for this remarkable girl was met with some success: (Malala Nomination For Nobel Prize Takes Big Step Forward).
Now, in February of 2013, it seems the efforts of Fatah and others have come to fruition: it was announced by Norwegian lawmakers on Tuesday, February 5th, that Malala Yousafzai, has, indeed, been officially nominated for the Prize. From World News NBC:
Her name was put forward by three members of the Norwegian parliament from the ruling Labor Party on their website Friday, which was the deadline for nominations.
Malala’s name was put forward because of “her courageous commitment to the right of girls to education. A commitment that seemed so threatening to the extremists that they chose to try and kill her,” said parliamentarian Freddy de Ruiter on the Labor party web site. […]
The Norwegian MPs said they believed that Malala was “a worthy winner for many reasons. She has become an important symbol in the fight against destructive forces that want to prevent democracy, equality and human rights.”
She was also reportedly nominated by members of parliament in France, Spain and Canada.
It was just days ago that Malala had to under-go yet another surgery to help strengthen her skull and improve the hearing in her left ear. Though she can speak easily, it is evident that the left side of her face has been affected by the damage to her brain. But regardless of her limitations, her recovery by all accounts has been remarkable:
“God gave me new life. Because of the prayers of people and the talent of doctors.” [Source]
[See video of her discussing her recent surgery and “what’s next?” with a doctor in Birmingham, England]:
The day after that most recent surgery, she was feeling good enough to also give an interview to BBC about her condition and her ongoing efforts, which remain a priority to her even as she continues to recover:
“My mission is the same… I want every girl, every child, to be educated,” she told the world in a video announcing the Malala fund, a new initiative that supports female education in Pakistan, launched this year with a $10 million donation from Islamabad, according to the New York Daily News.
[See video of Malala’s statement regarding her Fund]:
The Nobel Peace Prize winner is revealed in October, awarded in December. If Malala wins, she will be the youngest winner in history and just one of 15 female recipients. It would not be exaggeration to say that a great many people around the world are joined in their hope that this courageous and preternaturally mature and poised young activist will be the one walking to the podium that night to receive her Prize.