Last Friday, more than 90,000 Britons petitioned their government to nominate Malala Yousufzai, the 15 year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating for girls’ education, for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Yousufzai, who is currently receiving treatment in England, has obviously won the hearts of the people in her temporary home. Moved by her heroic fight for women’s rights as well as her courage while struggling to recuperate from a bullet wound to the head, she is now being hailed as a hero.
“Malala has become a symbol of Pakistan,” writes Imran Khan for The Telegraph. “She is a role model, someone who stood up for education at a time when schools were being blown up. The area in which she lived, the Swat Valley, had been taken over by the Taliban, who opposed Western education. They thought it was polluting the minds of girls, in particular, and banned them from going to school. Malala opposed this. And for doing so, she was singled out and shot.”
According to the Washington Post, Mullah Fazlullah, the mastermind of the attack, has thus far escaped justice by hiding in a part of eastern Afghanistan where U.S. forces are spread thin and focused on other targets.
But she is surviving, and is slowly learning to walk, talk, and read again.
Her spirit has inspired the international community and was behind a campaign led by a Pakistani-British woman to urge Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior government officials to nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Under the Nobel Committee’s rules, only prominent figures such as members of national assemblies and governments are able to make nominations.
“Malala doesn’t just represent one young woman, she speaks out for all those who are denied an education purely on the basis of their gender,” campaign leader Shahida Choudhary said in a statement issued by global petition platform Change.org.
Tens of thousands have already signed the petition in England and similar campaigns are springing up in Canada, France and Spain.
Should Malala become a Nobel laureate, she would be the youngest person ever to receive the prize. To date, the youngest was 25 year-old William Lawrence Bragg who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915.
Regardless of whether or not she wins a coveted Nobel, Malala’s fight will go on. As her father promised, she will “rise again” to pursue her dreams.
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