On October 19th, 2012, in Mingora, Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban for simply advocating women’s education. When the Taliban first came to her town in 2009, Malala was only eleven years old. Even so, she spoke out against them at her school, proclaiming that she wished to be a doctor when she grew up.
The Taliban retaliated by shooting her in the head and neck on a schoolbus full of frightened children. Fearing that the bullet was lodged near her brain, doctors labeled her as being in critical condition.
Miraculously, Malala survived without any brain damage, and is now a symbol of female empowerment worldwide.
Before the attack, Malala wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC, and was featured in several documentaries. Her father ran one of the last schools to offer women’s education against the Taliban’s wishes, which eventually had to close down. Now, she is a constant advocate for women’s rights, was nominated this year for the Nobel Peace Prize, and at 16, is the youngest woman ever to be nominated.
In an October 10th interview with Jon Stewart for new memoir I Am Malala, she was asked what she would say if she was attacked by a Taliban gunman a second time. She replied
“I would tell him how important education is and that I would even want education for your children as well. That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.”
The entire crowd cheered wildly, and Jon Stewart was left speechless. Due to her strong perseverance, Malala Yousafzai has become a universal beacon of hope and strength for women’s rights around the world. Malala’s new book is out now. Watch the full Jon Stewart interview here: