Friday, October 11, 2013

Malala: I want to be Pakistan’s PM


  • Malala Yousafzai would be the youngest recipient of any Nobel Prize

  • She is modest; getting it now may be a bit early, as she wants to work for it first

  • Malala would like to become Pakistan’s prime minister, so she can spend more on education for all

  • After the Taliban shot her, the world and powerful leaders rallied around her cause

(CNN) — At 16, Malala Yousafzai would be the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, if she is awarded it Friday. In addition, she would be the youngest winner ever of a Nobel Prize in any category.

The activist from Pakistan, who has stood defiant against the Taliban in the face of death since age 11, has become a global figurehead for a girl’s right to get an education.

A year ago an Islamist militant shot her in the head. It looked like she would die. Now, headlines are cheering for her to win the peace prize.

If she does, she will feel extremely honored, she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in a taped interview that will air Sunday at 7 p.m.

The prize would give momentum to Malala’s lifetime task she has laid out for herself — to make education available to every child around the world.

But she is modest about her prospects. She feels that giving her the prize at this point might be a little premature and more appropriate further down her life’s path. She wants to work for it first.

“I think that it’s really an early age. And I would feel proud, when I would work for education, when I would have done something, when I would be feeling confident to tell people, ‘Yes! I have built that school; I have done that teachers’ training, I have sent that (many) children to school,’” she said.

He fired three bullets. One bullet hit me in the left side of my forehead, just above here, and it went down through my neck and into my shoulder.

Malala Yousafzai

“Then if I get the Nobel Peace Prize, I will be saying, Yeah, I deserve it, somehow.”

The comment drew warm laughter from the audience.

Malala for prime minister

Despite her diffidence with regards to the peace prize, she is very ambitious.

“I want to become a Prime Minister of Pakistan, and I think it’s really good. Because through politics I can serve my whole county. I can be the doctor of the whole country,” she said.

But greedier politicians be forewarned. If Malala held the highest office in the land, the money would probably not flow into the pockets of cronies or pork barrel projects. Her political ambitions seem to stop short of personal gain.

“I can spend much of the money from the budget on education,” she told Amanpour. It appears that becoming prime minister is a means to the end she has dedicated her life to.

Malala has accomplished much for education in her short life, which she has imperiled to do so.

The Taliban didn’t want girls to go to school. They banned it in 2009 in her native Swat Valley, which is when Malala’s plight and her activism began.

Her father, a teacher who ran schools for girls, taught her that she was stronger than what or whom she feared.

She kept going to school and to speak out for education, she wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC about her harrowing experiences. The Taliban came by on house raids, and she had to hide her books.

Her country honored her with the National Peace Prize in 2011 for standing up to them.

Her defiance enraged the militants.

The assassin

A year ago, on October 9, 2012, they sent a gunman after her, while she was riding home from school. He stopped the improvised school bus and stepped inside.

A Nobel Peace Prize would help me to begin this campaign for girls’ education

Malala Yousafzai

Malala recalled the moment of terror to Amanpour.

“He asked, ‘Who is Malala? He did not give me time to answer his question.” What happened next may have been a bit blurry for her, but her best friend Moniba later told her.

Malala grasped Moniba’s hand tightly and pushed hard against it. She was silent, Moniba told her, as the gunman opened fire at near point blank range.

“He fired three bullets,” Malala recalled. “One bullet hit me in the left side of my forehead, just above here, and it went down through my neck and into my shoulder.”

It left behind lasting damage to her ear drum and facial nerve.

“But still if I look at (it), it’s a miracle,” Malala said.

She is alive and smiling with no major brain or spinal damage.

Emergency surgery in Pakistan saved her life. She was flown to the UK for further treatment.

World cause

While she recovered, the world rallied around her and powerful leaders from Ban Ki-moon to former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown rallied to her cause.

She has already partnered with the United Nations on a program to promote global education with the motto, “I am Malala.”

This week, marking the anniversary of her shooting, she published her memoir under the same title. And she received the Andrei Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament.

If Malala receives the prize, she knows what she will use the prize money for, which could amount to as much as $1.2 million, if she does not end up splitting it with other deserving winners.

“A Nobel peace prize would help me to begin this campaign for girls’ education,” she told Amanpour.

In the long run, Malala plans to hold out for an even bigger award.

“But the real call, the most precious call, that I want to get and for which I’m thirsting and for which I want to struggle hard, that is the award to see every child to go to school, that is the award of peace and education for every child. And for that, I will struggle and I will work hard.”

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Malala: I want to be Pakistan’s PM

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