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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Books our most powerful weapons, says brave Malala shot by Taliban

Philip Sherwell

Malala Yousafzai has said she will not be silenced by terrorist threats in an address to the UN on her 16th birthday.

It was her first public speech since being shot by the Taliban.

"Let us pick up our books and pens," said the Pakistani teenager, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she left school last October.

"They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution."

Malala, who has been recovering in Britain, delivered her address in New York in front of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in an auditorium packed with 1,000 students from around the world.

Her parents watched proudly as she assured her audience that she was "the same Malala".

She wore a loose-fitting pink shawl that had belonged to assassinated former Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto.

It was a typically impressive performance by a teen who earned the enmity of the Taliban in her home country for campaigning for girls' rights to go to school.

She called on governments to fight for the rights of women and children deprived of an education by child labour and forced marriages at early ages.

"The extremists were afraid of education," she said. "That is why they're blasting schools every day. Because they're afraid of progress, afraid of change.

During a series of standing ovations, she said that the attempt on her life had only made her more resolute.

The event, designated by the world body as Malala Day, was organised by Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister who is now the UN special envoy for global education. (© Daily Telegraph, London

Irish Independent

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