Swap guns for pens - Malala

Schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, has said conflict-ridden countries should fight only about educating their children and swap guns for pens.

The 16-year-old received a standing ovation after speaking at an event to launch her memoir I Am Malala in central London with her comments provoking regular outbreaks of applause at the Southbank Centre.

The teenager, who was shot in the head while travelling on a school bus in Pakistan last October, told the audience: "You are not powerful if you have a gun, because with a gun you can only kill.

"You are powerful when you have a book, when you have pen. Because through a pen you can save lives. And that's the change we want to bring in our society."

Malala, whose outspoken views on education and women's rights made her a target for the Taliban, spoke of how her beloved home in Pakistan's Swat Valley region was taken over by the "terrorists" who stopped her and her female friends going to school.

"When they came to Swat, and when they banned girls education, then I realised that these terrorists are afraid of the power of education," she said.

"They are not letting women to be empowered, that's why they are stopping us from going to school."

She said the "barbaric situation" was like going back to the Stone Age. We were told that the only job for women is to cook, is to serve her husband, is to serve her father, her brothers, is to clean the house, is to do work for children, is to feed them.

"It's her job, it's why she has been created, that's the mindset of these terrorists. But I think the terrorists haven't read the Koran," she said to laughs from the audience."

The young activist, who said she hoped to one day study at Oxford or Cambridge, said she understood it was human nature to fight.

But she added: "Competition must be on the basis of how many educated children do you have. What's the rate of literacy?

"We need to change the ideology, we need to tell people what the real power is."

And she said of countries such as Afghanistan and Syria: "Instead of sending guns, send pens. Instead of sending tanks, send books.

"Instead of sending soldiers to these suffering countries, send teachers."

Malala's appearance as part of the Literature Autumn Season 2013 was the latest in an eventful few days for the schoolgirl.

Yesterday she received another standing ovation from a 1,000-strong audience as she was presented with an honorary degree at Edinburgh University.

She was there to address the first public meeting of the Global Citizenship Commission, a body of leaders representing politics, religious institutions, law and philanthropy. And on Friday the teenager met the Queen at a Buckingham Palace reception and gave her a copy of her book.

After last year's attack Malala was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and she now lives in the city with her family and is studying for her GCSEs. Recently voted one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Malala began blogging for the BBC in 2009 about her life in Pakistan and her desire to attend school safely and freely.

Her increasing profile in the global media and her campaigns for universal education and women's rights brought her to the attention of the Taliban.

Following the attack she needed emergency treatment and surgeons who treated her said she came within inches of death when the bullet grazed her brain in the shooting. Since then she has also addressed the United Nations and was nominated for the Nobel peace prize.

< Back
Reddit Facebook Digg Del.icio.us Twitter Bebo

Latest News

Latest Sport

Today's Features