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Education Here's your chance to voice out any education related issues that are buggging you!

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  #1  
Old 15-07-2013, 08:56 PM
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Thumbs up Malala delivers defiant riposte to Taliban militants as UN hails ‘our hero’

Ed Pilkington in New York

The Guardian, Friday 12 July 2013

‘They thought that the bullet would silence us. But they failed,’ says Malala, 16, at UN to push campaign for girls’ education

When the Taliban sent a gunman to shoot Malala Yousafzai last October as she rode home on a bus after school, they made clear their intention: to silence the teenager and kill off her campaign for girls’ education.

Nine months and countless surgical interventions later, she stood up at the United Nations on her 16th birthday on Friday to deliver a defiant riposte.

“They thought that the bullet would silence us. But they failed,” she said.
As 16th birthdays go, it was among the more unusual. Instead of blowing out candles on a cake, Malala sat in one of the United Nation’s main council chambers in the central seat usually reserved for world leaders.

She listened quietly as Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, described her as “our hero, our champion”; and as the former British prime minister and now UN education envoy, Gordon Brown, uttered what he called “the words the Taliban never wanted her to hear: happy 16th birthday, Malala”.

The event, dubbed Malala Day, was the culmination of an extraordinary four years for the girl from Mingora, in the troubled Swat valley of Pakistan. She was thrust into the public glare after she wrote a pseudonymous but later celebrated blog for the BBC Urdu service describing her experiences struggling to get an education under the rising power of Taliban militants.

By 11 she was showing exceptional determination, calling personally on the US special representative to Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, to use his influence to combat the Taliban’s drive against education for girls. By 14, she was on the radar of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who put her forward for the international children’s peace prize, and by 15 she became the youngest Nobel peace prize nominee in history.

But such dizzying global attention came at a price. Death threats followed her growing recognition, and on 9 October 2012, following a meeting of Pakistani Taliban leaders, the gunman was dispatched to remove what they called the “symbol of infidels and obscenity”.

Multiple operations in Pakistan and the UK followed the attack on the bus, including the fitting of a titanium plate on her left forehead, and a cochlear implant to restore her hearing. She now lives with her family in Birmingham and does what the Taliban tried to stop her doing: goes to school every day. “I am not against anyone,” she said in the UN chamber, having taken this day out from the classroom. “Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group.”

Malala responded to the violence of the Taliban with her own countervailing force: words against bullets. “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.”

She spoke confidently, with only an injured eye and a slightly drooping left side of her face to hint at such fresh traumas. There was one other unstated allusion to the horror of her past: she wore a white shawl belonging to a woman who was also targeted by extremists but who, unlike Malala, did not survive to tell the tale: Benazir Bhutto.

“The extremists are afraid of books and pens,” the teenager continued. “The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them.”

She cited last month’s attack on a hospital in Quetta, capital of Baluchistan, and killings of female teachers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “That is why they are blasting schools every day – because they were and they are afraid of change, afraid of the equality that we will bring to our society.”
And she gave her own opposing interpretation of Islam to the Taliban’s.

“They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would send girls to the hell just because of going to school. The terrorists are misusing the name of Islam and Pashtun society for their own personal benefits. Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and brotherhood. Islam says that it is not only each child’s right to get education, rather it is their duty and responsibility.”

Such ability to articulate what normally remains unarticulated – to give voice to young people normally silenced – has generated its own response.

The “stand with Malala” petition, calling for education for the 57m children around the world who do not go to school, has attracted more than 4m signatures – more than a million having been added in the past few days.
At the start of her speech, Malala said: “I don’t know where to begin my speech. I don’t know what people would be expecting me to say.”

She need not have worried.
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Old 15-07-2013, 09:00 PM
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Malala delivered this address on education to the United Nations Youth Assembly on ‘Malala Day’, her 16th birthday

In the name of God, the most beneficent, the most merciful.

Honorable UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon, respected president of the General Assembly Vuk Jeremic, honorable UN envoy for global education Mr Gordon Brown, respected elders and my dear brothers and sisters: Assalamu alaikum.

Today is it an honor for me to be speaking again after a long time. Being here with such honorable people is a great moment in my life and it is an honor for me that today I am wearing a shawl of the late Benazir Bhutto. I don’t know where to begin my speech. I don’t know what people would be expecting me to say, but first of all thank you to God for whom we all are equal and thank you to every person who has prayed for my fast recovery and new life. I cannot believe how much love people have shown me. I have received thousands of good wish cards and gifts from all over the world. Thank you to all of them. Thank you to the children whose innocent words encouraged me. Thank you to my elders whose prayers strengthened me. I would like to thank my nurses, doctors and the staff of the hospitals in Pakistan and the UK and the UAE government who have helped me to get better and recover my strength.

I fully support UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his Global Education First Initiative and the work of UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown and the respectful president of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic. I thank them for the leadership they continue to give. They continue to inspire all of us to action. Dear brothers and sisters, do remember one thing: 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.

There are hundreds of human rights activists and social workers who are not only speaking for their rights, but who are struggling to achieve their goal of peace, education and equality. Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I am just one of them. So here I stand. So here I stand, one girl, among many. I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights. Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated.

Dear friends, on 9 October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends, too. They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed. And out of that silence came thousands of voices. The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.

I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. And my dreams are the same. Dear sisters and brothers, 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 am here to speak for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists. I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there was a gun in my hand and he was standing in front of me, I would not shoot him. This is the compassion I have learned from Mohammed, the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This the legacy of change I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

This is the philosophy of nonviolence that I have learned from Gandhi, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learned from my father and from my mother. This is what my soul is telling me: be peaceful and love everyone.

Dear sisters and brothers, we realize the importance of light when we see darkness. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way, when we were in Swat, the north of Pakistan, we realized the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns. The wise saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” It is true. The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them. This is why they killed 14 innocent students in the recent attack in Quetta. And that is why they kill female teachers. That is why they are blasting schools every day because they were and they are afraid of change and equality that we will bring to our society. And I remember that there was a boy in our school who was asked by a journalist why are the Taliban against education? He answered very simply by pointing to his book, he said, “a Talib doesn’t know what is written inside this book.”

They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would point guns at people’s heads just for going to school. These terrorists are misusing the name of Islam for their own personal benefit. Pakistan is a peace loving, democratic country. Pashtuns want education for their daughters and sons. Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and brotherhood. It is the duty and responsibility to get education for each child, that is what it says. Peace is a necessity for education. In many parts of the world, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorism, war and conflicts stop children from going to schools. We are really tired of these wars. Women and children are suffering in many ways in many parts of the world.

In India, innocent and poor children are victims of child labor. Many schools have been destroyed in Nigeria. People in Afghanistan have been affected by extremism. Young girls have to do domestic child labor and are forced to get married at an early age. Poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism and the deprivation of basic rights are the main problems, faced by both men and women.

Today I am focusing on women’s rights and girls’ education because they are suffering the most. There was a time when women activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But this time we will do it by ourselves. I am not telling men to step away from speaking for women’s rights, but I am focusing on women to be independent and fight for themselves. So dear sisters and brothers, now it’s time to speak up. So today, we call upon the world leaders to change their strategic policies in favor of peace and prosperity. We call upon the world leaders that all of these deals must protect women and children’s rights. A deal that goes against the rights of women is unacceptable.

We call upon all governments to ensure free, compulsory education all over the world for every child. We call upon all the governments to fight against terrorism and violence. To protect children from brutality and harm. We call upon the developed nations to support the expansion of education opportunities for girls in the developing world. We call upon all communities to be tolerant, to reject prejudice based on caste, creed, sect, color, religion or agenda to ensure freedom and equality for women so they can flourish. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave, to embrace the strength within themselves and realize their full potential.

Dear brothers and sisters, we want schools and education for every child’s bright future. We will continue our journey to our destination of peace and education. No one can stop us. We will speak up for our rights and we will bring change to our voice. We believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the whole world because we ware all together, united for the cause of education. And if we want to achieve our goal, then let us empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and let us shield ourselves with unity and togetherness.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty and injustice and ignorance. We must not forget that millions of children are out of their schools. We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright, peaceful future.

So let us wage, so let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first. Thank you.
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Old 16-07-2013, 07:21 PM
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Thumbs up BBC News - Malala Yousafzai speech in full


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Old 16-07-2013, 07:50 PM
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Lightbulb The Malala backlash - Bina Shah

Why has Malala Yousufzai’s speech at the UN on July 12, her 16th birthday, created such admiration all over the world, only to be met with a nasty backlash against the young education activist in Pakistan?

Perhaps the negative reaction of many Pakistanis to the young girl is the carping of jealous nobodies, but it bears examining because it says something profound about Pakistan.

The reaction to Malala’s words was swift in Pakistan; barely hours after she made her inspirational speech, people began complaining about its contents, the fact that the UN had dedicated an entire day to her, and the adulation she was receiving from world leaders by her side. Ignoring the text of her speech, which spoke out for the rights of girls and women and implored world leaders to choose peace instead of war, the naysayers tore down the young woman, her father, and Western nations for supporting her in her quest for education.

The insults flowed freely: Malala Dramazai was a popular epithet that popped up on Facebook pages and Twitter. The whole shooting was staged by “the West” and America, who control the Taliban. She was being used to make Pakistan feel guilty for actions that were the fault of the Western powers in the first place. Posters were circulated that showed Mukhtaran Mai and Malala with Xs through their faces, and berated the two women for speaking out about their experiences in order to receive money, popularity and asylum abroad.
Another popular refrain was “drone attacks”. Why had Malala not spoken out about drones at the UN? Why did everyone care so much about Malala and not the other girls murdered by drones? Why did America kill innocent children with drones and then lionise the young Malala to make themselves feel good that they actually cared about the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan?

It was a shameful display of how Pakistanis have a tendency to turn on the very people they should be proud of. Prof Abdus Salam fell victim to this peculiar Pakistani phenomenon, as well as the murdered child labour activist Iqbal Masih, Rimsha Masih, who recently received asylum for the threats to her life after the blasphemy case, and Kainat Soomro, the brave child who had been gang-raped and actually dared to take on her attackers. Pakistanis have very deliberately abandoned these brave champions of justice, and each time one more joins their ranks, the accusations of fame mongering, Western agendas, and money ring out louder and louder.

The insults to Malala had a decidedly sexist tone, the comparison to Mukhtaran Mai — another Pakistani hero — making it obvious that rather than embracing female survivors of hideous, politically motivated violence, Pakistanis prefer them to shut up and go away, not to use their ordeals as a platform to campaign for justice.

What does this say about Pakistani mentality? Firstly, it illustrates the fact that most Pakistanis are very confused. As British journalist Alex Hamilton said, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything”. Because we don’t know what to stand for, we fall victim to conspiracy theories, wild imaginings, and muddled thinking about what is so clearly right and wrong.
Secondly, people who deflect from Malala’s speech to the issue of drone attacks may believe they care about drone victims, but it is hard to find what if anything they have actually done for those drone victims besides register their displeasure on social media. Instead, it is a way of deflecting the guilt they feel about their own impotence, their own inability to make any substantial change or impact in this country.

In psychology this is called displacement: these people who feel anger and frustration about themselves channel it into feeling angry about drone victims, or angry against Malala Yousafzai, or anyone who challenges their firmly held belief that this world is controlled by forces greater than themselves. They dislike the challenge to the justification for their own inertia and inactivity, and so they strike out.

Critics are ignoring how Malala pointed out that terrorists are misusing Islam for their own selfish ends: power and control. She rightly stated that Pakhtun culture is not synonymous with Talibanism; a popular narrative used to justify the marginalisation of tribal peoples (and the use of drones and human rights excesses by the military in carrying out operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan).

These statements contradict the political arguments offered by Pakistan’s incompetent leadership in lieu of real solutions to the militancy, and the justification for acts of aggression perpetrated by Western and Nato forces on the Pakhtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A note of warning: Malala and her cause must not be hijacked by opportunists, money-makers, politicians, or those who wish to use this pure young woman for their own selfish ends. In celebrating Malala, the world should not forget about the thousands of girls who are still in danger from extremist violence in Pakistan. Nor should she be taken up as a cause célèbre by celebrities and other do-gooders to feel smug satisfaction that they are helping her cause by posing for a photograph or attending a dinner with her (Personally, I feel that a young girl who can survive being shot in the head by the Taliban is strong enough to withstand being exploited by anyone).

Malala’s beautiful words must be a source of inspiration for solid action on the ground in the areas most affected by the conflicts she describes. Whether you support her or not, nobody can deny the urgent need to bring education and peace to Pakistan. Don’t ignore this message, even if you feel like shooting the messenger all over again. - The Dawn, July 16, 2013.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Source: The Malaysian Insider
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