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Tags: malala | satyarthi | nobel | peace

Pakistan's Yousafzai, India's Satyarthi Share Nobel Peace Prize

Friday, 10 October 2014 06:16 AM EDT

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban, and India’s Kailash Satyarthi were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their advocacy of education rights for children.

“It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in awarding the 8 million-krona ($1.1 million) prize. “In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.”

Yousafzai, 17, became the first teenager to be awarded the prize, announced today by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo. Satyarthi, 60, is an Indian children’s rights activist.

While traveling to school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head in retaliation for her campaign for girls to be given equal rights to schooling, defying threats from militants in her hometown of Mingora. The bullet struck just above her left eye, grazing her brain.

She now attends school in Birmingham, U.K., where her father works at the consulate, after being flown to the U.K. for emergency treatment. She gained global recognition after pledging to continue her struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism.

The prize, along with literature, physics, medicine and chemistry honors, was created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel and first awarded in 1901. Winners include the European Union, as well as U.S. President Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa.

Women’s Voice

“The extremists were and they are afraid of books and pens,” Yousafzai said in a speech last year at a UN youth assembly. “The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them.”

Taliban guerrillas carry out attacks in Swat, an area they previously controlled before a 10-week army offensive starting in 2009 ending their rule. The Taliban had beheaded local officials and burned schools in a two-year fight to impose their strict interpretation of Islamic law that uprooted 2 million people from their homes in the forested, mile-high valley that lies 155 miles north of the capital Islamabad.

Yousafzai has risen to fame in a country where only 40 percent of adult women can read and write compared with 90 percent in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country.

The country’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed in an alleged Taliban attack in 2007. Pakistan has also had female governor of the central bank, Shamshad Akhtar, as well as woman speaker of parliament in Fahmida Mirza.

Basic Education

Yousafzai symbolizes millions of Pakistani women who are deprived of the basic education and equal work opportunities. Only 22 percent of those women above 15 go out and work in Pakistan, compared to 78 percent of males, according to a study by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

She started blogging under a pseudonym for the BBC when she was 11 years old, chronicling Taliban oppression and her love of learning. The following summer the New York Times filmed a documentary about her life. As she rose in prominence, the Taliban targeted her for maligning insurgents.

“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambition,” Yousafzai said last year. “But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.”

Yousafzai celebrated her 17th birthday by visiting Nigeria to campaign for the release of more than 200 school girls abducted by local militants. She met president Goodluck Jonathan and the families of the kidnapped children.

She has also won the Amnesty International Award, the International Children’s Peace Prize and the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize.

Yousafzai is the second Pakistani to win a Nobel Prize after Abdus Salam, whose works in the field of particle physics earned him an award in 1979, which he shared with two other scientists.

Last year, the prize was awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons following its work in Syria to eradicate their use after a deadly gas attack in the war-torn nation.

The award will be handed out at a ceremony in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Nobel.


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Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban, and India's Kailash Satyarthi were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their advocacy of education rights for children."It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and...
malala, satyarthi, nobel, peace
Friday, 10 October 2014 06:16 AM
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