Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived a vicious attack by Taliban gunmen as she and her friends attempted to exercise their right to go to school, was given the opportunity of a lifetime yesterday as she addressed a youth delegation at the United Nations’ general assembly room on her 16th birthday. Her address to the UN, which can be seen below in its entirety, will go down as one of the greatest in recent memory.
Many in the West will no doubt be stricken by the fact that there are places in the world where girls are not allowed to attend school even when the facilities exist. We were stricken for a different reason: Malala is not only one who has stood up for educational rights, she is a 16 year old peacemaker.
In the speech she cites Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and others as her inspiration to pursue peaceful methods of protest. In doing so, she has become a living example of two truths:
That violence is a symptom of cowardice, and that the peacemakers shall be called the children of God.