“If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?” – Malala Yousafzai.
When she was 15 years-old, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban.
She was an activist for the education of females and girls from a young age, rising to prominence in Pakistan after writing a blog post detailing her life under Taliban occupation, where girls had been banned from attending school. Written under a pseudonym, her identity was eventually discovered and she became a champion for the right to education for girls in the country and was even nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize.
But in 2012, a gunman boarded the bus Malala was riding and shot her and two other girls in an assassination attempt retaliating her activism. Although she’d been shot in the head and remained in a critical condition for some time, she survived and has since dedicated her life to fighting for the cause she was almost killed for. At 17, she became the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and she was named one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people for three years in a row.
She’s one of the most inspiring women – and human beings – on the planet, and one of the worlds greatest champions for women’s right to education.
July 12 is #MalalaDay, and so here are 16 quotes from the fearless and resilient Malala Yousafzai…
1. “Education is neither eastern nor western. Education is education and it’s the right of every human being.”
2. “The Taliban could take our pens and books, but they couldn’t stop our minds from thinking.”
3. “In Pakistan when women say they want independence, people think this means we don’t want to obey our fathers, brothers or husbands. But it does not mean that. It means we want to make decisions for ourselves. We want to be free to go to school or to go to work. Nowhere is it written in the Quran that a woman should be dependent on a man. The word has not come down from the heavens to tell us that every woman should listen to a man.”
4. “Education is our basic right. Not just in the West; Islam too has given us this right. Islam says every girl and every boy should go to school. In the Quran it is written, God wants us to have knowledge. He wants us to know why the sky is blue and about oceans and stars. I know it’s a big struggle; around the world, there are fifty-seven million children who are not in primary school. Thirty-two million of them girls.”
On using her voice:
5. “We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”
6. “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
7. “I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard… We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”
8. “I don’t want to be thought of as the “girl who was shot by the Taliban” but the “girl who fought for education.” This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.”
9. “If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?”
10. “Our men think earning money and ordering around others is where power lies. They don’t think power is in the hands of the woman who takes care of everyone all day long, and gives birth to their children.”
11. “There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.”
12. “The extremists are afraid of books and pens, the power of education frightens them. they are afraid of women.”
13. “I don’t want revenge on the Taliban, I want education for sons and daughters of the Taliban.”
14. “Extremists have shown what frightens them most: a girl with a book.”
15. “I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’
But then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’
Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well.’ And I will tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.”
16. “With guns, you can kill terrorists. With education, you can kill terrorism.”