“They thought that the bullet would silence us,” Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for going to school, told an audience at the United Nations this morning. “But they failed.”
Yousafzai, wearing a white shawl worn by Pakistan’s slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was speaking at the U.N.’s first “Malala Day.” The day, which falls on her birthday, commemorates her bravery and triumph, as well as her leadership in fighting for women’s access to education.
“The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens,” she said. “The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women.”
In October 2012, Yousafzai was shot through her head by a Taliban gunman for defiantly going to school. While she was in a coma and receiving medical treatment in the United Kingdom, her story gained global attention from world leaders and media. Upon her recovery, Yousafzai enrolled in a Birmingham, England, school.
“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions . . . [but] strength, fervor, courage was born” instead, she said in her speech.