The standing ovation received by Malala Yousafzai at the United Nations last week was a tremendous moment for humanity.
Yousafzai is the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who was viciously shot in the head by Taliban thugs while she was sitting on a bus taking her to her school.
The Taliban, a radical Islamic sect, is not only against education for girls, but is also against any advance in civilization and culture made during the past 1,000 years. In other words, the Taliban is living in the Dark Ages. They are the ones who harbored al Qaeda as they trained for their terrorist attacks against the United States.
Fortunately, Yousafzai survived. She has become an unstoppable force for the rights of girls and women throughout the world.
At the United Nations, she said:”
“Dear friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends, too. They thought the bullets would silence us, but they failed . . . 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 were born.”
Yousafzai, in her speech, called for free, compulsory education for all children in all countries.
“The extremists were and they are afraid of books and pens; the power of education frightens them,” she said. “They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them, and that is why they killed 14 innocent students in the recent attack in Quetta, Pakistan.
“I speak not for myself but those without a voice . . . 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.”
She also said people are so weary of war. Any peace treaties, she said, must include guarantees to protect the rights of girls and women, too.
Yousafzai told the audience she believes completely in non-violence, having been inspired by great leaders like Mohammed, Jesus Christ, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. The Taliban, she said, are misusing the name of Islam for their own personal benefit.
Yousafzai, of course, is so right. Nothing scares tyrants and thugs more than the power of education and enlightenment, especially when it’s coming from girls and women who have been long suppressed and brutalized.
This remarkable young girl, a born leader, is going to be inspiring this world for a very long time. Wouldn’t it be great if someday she becomes the leader of Pakistan, a day when tyrants and thugs like the Taliban have withered on their own vines?