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Malala Yousafzai

by Anika Madan - 9th Grade - from San Diego, California

Malala Yousafzai at a UN Conference in 2013 once mentioned, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” This quote communicated to the world how Malala’s heroic actions were based upon her personal core values, and through sharing her own inspiring story, Malala Yousafzai proved to the world that just one voice can be strong enough to make a change. She provided the world with a reason for why you should always use your voice in times of crisis. Malala was once that voice who stood fearless and spoke of her beliefs against the Taliban, and now through recognition of many, Malala’s single voice is powerful enough to change the world for the better. Currently the twenty-year-old is studying at Oxford University while managing her passion and profession as the everyday hero and philanthropist. From her grueling fight against the Taliban to her optimistic personality and her role as an education rights activist, Malala Yousafzai changed the way countries were run with just her voice; through her story we see how even one voice can change the world. 

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997. Her parents are Ziauddin, an educator, and Toorpekai Yousafzai, a homemaker. Malala was born and raised in Mingora in the Swat Valley of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Yousafzi has two younger siblings, Atal Yousafzai and Khushal Yousafzai. In Malala’s valley, her family owned an all-girls institution called Khushal Public School, which was named after her younger brother. Throughout Malala’s childhood, she was educated in her father’s school. Most of Malala’s fond memories came from that school’s campus grounds. Malala grew up in a very traditional neighborhood, where each family valued religious beliefs to be a great aspect of their life. Growing up in Malala’s neighborhood, female empowerment was very uncommon, and a woman's role in society was to be the housekeeper. As women got older, they were given fewer rights. For example young girls who loved playing cricket were destined to stop and start taking care of the men in their homes. Nonetheless, the beliefs in Malala’s house varied. Malala was always given equal or more importance in her household, and she was never told to stop doing anything she loved. Over time these beliefs were what instilled such strong core values in Malala’s heart. Throughout her time in Pakistan, Malala was an active child. She used love to go out and play and be involved in her society. Malala was a child with many hobbies, and one her most important hobbies was writing for BBC Urdu. Malala’s great talent in writing got her a role as an anonymous writer in the BBC Urdu. This pastime was soon to be the stepping stone of Malala’s courageous story.

138456Malala at a Conference Speaking up for her BeliefsWikimedia CommonsSince day one, Malala has always had a continuous and ghastly fight against the Taliban and their horrifying beliefs. An example leading to Malala’s silent protest was when the “Taliban moved to close schools and prevent girls from attending classes” (Boekhoff), but Malala still continued going to school. The Taliban’s actions affected Malala in multiple ways, and obliging with theses rules would chop down any prosperous future in store for her. Therefore,  Yousafzai didn’t stay quiet; she continued going to school. She was aware that consequences for her actions could be as severe as death, but to Malala, she saw no reason to stop her education (Boekhoff). Malala’s silent actions were a nonviolent approach of fighting the Taliban. When Malala openly spoke about how it was unfair of the Taliban to stop her education, her opinions were recognized and the Taliban was faced with a larger audience. Malala used her one voice to create an echo. Furthermore, Malala was shot twice in the head and neck by a Taliban gunman for her peaceful resistance against the Taliban rules (Yousafzai), but like before, Malala used her voice to bring attention to her cause, and through strong willpower, Yousafzai was able to survive this fatal attack. Malala was courageous enough to speak up about the wrongs of the Taliban and how they had no right to physically harm her. Once again, Yousafzai used her attack to create volume for her nonviolent riot against the Taliban. Like before, she spoke out when everyone cowered in fear, and her notion of speaking out is what moved Pakistan one step closer to change. Moreover when all of Malala’s battles against the Taliban were observed, it was noticed that Malala only received recognition because she was never afraid to say what she thought was right. In addition to bloodshed from the Taliban and forbidding of female education, Malala’s father was forced to shut down his school. But similarly to Malala’s silent protest of continuing her education, her father continued keeping his school open with the help of his brave daughter. Malala fought against the Taliban by helping her father keep his school open even when such actions were banned by the Taliban rule. Nevertheless, like before, the Taliban’s rules could not stop Malala and her beliefs. Malala followed in the steps of great world heroes such as Nelson Mandela, and she voiced her beliefs, and in the repetition of events Malala once again brought further change to the stability of the Taliban rule. Malala has had numerous grueling and dangerous fights against the Taliban that could have cost her life. Yousafzai’s continuous fights against the Taliban proved that it is okay to be the only one to speak up because maybe we needed to hear just one voice to give us the courage to use our own.

With today’s vocabulary there are many ways to describe Malala Yousafzai, but if you were to fit it all into one word it would be: perfect. Though the word perfect is a relative term, in Malala’s case perfect can be defined as someone of great qualities, optimism, peacefulness, and high intellectual talent. Throughout out the ups and downs of her life, Malala’s ‘perfect’ personality has always been a constant. She has often described as the perfect person, and her father Zia once said, “I have the greatest daughter ever born in the world” (The Making of Malala). This quote by Zia gives us a second-hand perspective of the character Malala possesses. Through this description we see that Malala is classified as the perfect child and there is nothing more you could ask of her. On the same line, Malala is described as a peaceful person who believes that there is always a nonviolent approach to situations. Malala observed, “Even if there is a gun in my hand, and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him” (Girl Shot by Taliban Addresses the U.N.). When this quote is broken down, we see the true tranquil colors of Yousafzai. We see how even with a weapon and faced in front of her enemy, Yousafzai would not inflict pain upon her enemy, just for the simple reason that inflicting pain is a form of revenge and would put you on the same moral/humane level as your enemy. Malala always makes it clear that there is no reason that the peaceful approach is not the best approach. Malala’s beliefs are what make up her personality, and since she believes in peace she tends to be a peaceful person. As seen in Malala’s continuous fights, her education has always been a priority, which is why her intellectual ability was always maintained at high standards. Malala’s “intellectual ability” was always described as “exceptional” (Malala Yousafzai). Her constant interest in her education helps describe her as an intelligent student, and Malala’s passion for education is what resulted in her role as an education rights activist. In addition to Malala’s lengthy list of characteristics, Yousafzai can be easily pinpointed as one of the most courageous women in the world. Malala never stopped voicing her opinions no matter the thousands of threats (Malala Yousafzai); such strong actions require someone to have great courage. Malala Yousafzai is a brave soul who doesn’t fear threats. Malala’s possession of such strong characteristics gives us a real-life example of the characters anyone should strive to have to be a hero. If she was to be described in one word it would be flawless, with her never ending cheer, her peaceful aura, her intelligent brain, and her courageous personality. Yousafzai can be described as the superhero of our reality. Youzafzai showed us that no matter how hard the times are, your personality must always remain constant because of people who depend on your cheer, or the respect you’re given. Malala shows us how personality is a big trait when claiming the importance of a story. She made her story matter not only through her actions and accomplishments but by her loveable character; she uses her character and personality as a tool to help her spread awareness for her righteous causes. 

138459Malala Receiving and Award for her Hard WorkWikimedia CommonsNot only did Malala always keep her smiling face while fighting against the Taliban, but she also won many accomplishments, such as becoming a hardworking education rights advisor. An example of Malala’s great accomplishments is that on the day November 10th, she was one of the youngest people ever to have a day of action named after her (“Malala Yousafzai”). This day of action put Malala up next to the greatest heroes of the world, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, who devoted their existence to changing the lives of millions of people. Malala receiving this recognition showed the world that there is always a good enough reward for being brave and speaking your voice. By the same token, Malala also won the Nobel Peace Prize along with Kailash Satyarthi in 2014 for her unwavering support as an education rights activist (“Malala Yousafzai”). Malala receiving this award proved to the world that she really is a hero. It is in fact nearly impossible win an award as prestigious as the Nobel Peace Prize, and Yousafzai won this award with just her voice and courage. Malala winning this award proved the same message as all her other accomplishments. She proved that the reward and recognition of speaking your opinion is always greater than the risk. Malala proved herself to be the everyday human hero with her nearly impossible accomplishments.

All in all, Malala Yousafzai is the everyday hero in today’s technological era. With her unwavering battles against the Taliban; to her ideal, faultless personality; and her extraordinary accomplishments as an education rights activist, Malala proved all the good points of sharing your voice to the world. Likewise to the quotation said bt Dr. Steve Maraboli, “The universe doesn’t give you what you ask for with your thoughts; it gives you what you demand with your actions.” Malala Yousafzai used her actions to “demand” change for the country she called home. She was the young teenage girl who courageously fought for what she believed in, while enlightening countries with realizations about the truths we were afraid to face, and correspondingly she brought us cognizance as to why we should use our voice. Till this day, Malala Yousafzai still continues to awe us with her incredible motives to support education rights, while she continues her own education. Malala showed us how to really bring change, and she taught us that every voice matters.





Works Cited

Boekhoff, Iain. "MALALA YOUSAFZAI SHOT BY TALIBAN AT 15; MOMENT IN TIME." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada], 9 Oct. 2019, p. A2. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A602103500/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=300c0b7b. Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.

"The Making of Malala." NYTimes.com Video Collection, 7 Oct. 2013. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CT345806938/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=f0926494. Accessed 3 Dec. 2019.

"Malala Yousafzai." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2015. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/H1000313123/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=8f4250ef. Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.

"Malala Yousafzai." Gale Biography Online Collection, Gale, 2012. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/K1650008545/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=e37a7b62. Accessed 3 Dec. 2019.

Yousafzai, Malala. "Malala Yousafzai: standing up for girls." Washington Post, 14 July 2014. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A374763434/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=ec8afd29. Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.

Works Consulted

"Malala Yousafzai." Gale Biography Online Collection, Gale, 2012. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/K1650008545/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=e37a7b62. Accessed 3 Dec. 2019.

 

"The Making of Malala." NYTimes.com Video Collection, 7 Oct. 2013. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CT345806938/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=f0926494. Accessed 3 Dec. 2019.

 

"Malala Yousafzai." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2015. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/H1000313123/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=8f4250ef. Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.

 

"Girl Shot by Taliban Addresses the U.N." NYTimes.com Video Collection, 12 July 2013. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CT337124902/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=13be13bc. Accessed 3 Dec. 2019.

 

"Malala Yousafzai." Newsmakers, vol. 3, Gale, 2013. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/K1618005950/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=3a38c549. Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.

 

Yousafzai, Malala. "Malala Yousafzai: standing up for girls." Washington Post, 14 July 2014. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A374763434/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=ec8afd29. Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.

 

"Malala Yousafzai the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner." UPI NewsTrack, 10 Oct. 2014. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A385205375/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=741add5c. Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.

 

Boekhoff, Iain. "MALALA YOUSAFZAI SHOT BY TALIBAN AT 15; MOMENT IN TIME." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada], 9 Oct. 2019, p. A2. Gale In Context: Biography, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A602103500/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=300c0b7b. Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.

Yousafzai, Malala, and Christina Lamb. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and  Was Shot by the Taliban. Back Bay Books, 2015.

 

Page created on 2/11/2020 6:12:17 AM

Last edited 7/1/2020 4:46:09 AM

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