The 12th of July is the birthday of girl’s education activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and also Malala day. Malala Yousafzai was still sixteen years old in 2013 when she delivered an impassioned speech at the United Nations (UN) headquarters on the need for gender equality in education on her birthday.
That particular speech earned her several rounds of standing ovations and saw the UN later declaring her birthday as Malala Day in honor of her activism.
Malala Yousafzai has been advocating for women’s rights in education since 2008 and that advocacy which also included the Taliban menace in Pakistan saw her fighting for her life in October 2012 after she was attacked by Taliban gunmen.
On Malala Day her very impressive repertoire of achievements at such a young age are called to mind and this inspiring woman is celebrated. She has to date, founded the ‘Malala Fund’, a non-profit organization that helps young girls go to school, co-authored a book by the name, “I am Malala” that became an international bestseller and has been the recipient of a large number of awards and honors.
So on Malala Day, here are 20 quotes by Malala Yousafzai to celebrate her 20th year of life;
- I don’t want to be thought of as the “girl who was shot by the Taliban” but the “girl who fought for education.” This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.
- It seemed to me that everyone knows they will die one day. My feeling was nobody can stop death; it doesn’t matter if it comes from a Talib or cancer. So I should do whatever I want to do.
- With guns, you can kill terrorists, with education you can kill terrorism.
- You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.
- I raise my voice not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard
- We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.
- In Pakistan when women say they want independence, people think this means we don’t want to obey our fathers, brothers or husbands. But it does not mean that. It means we want to make decisions for ourselves. We want to be free to go to school or to go to work. Nowhere is it written in the Quran that a woman should be dependent on a man. The word has not come down from the heavens to tell us that every woman should listen to a man.
- We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.
- When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.
- Though we loved school, we hadn’t realized how important education was until the Taliban tried to stop us. Going to school, reading and doing our homework wasn’t just a way of passing time, it was our future.
- There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.
- I told myself, Malala, you have already faced death. This is your second life. Don’t be afraid — if you are afraid, you can’t move forward.
- Let us pick up our books and our pens,” I said. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.
- Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead, he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself.
- If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?
- I was a girl in a land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth to children.
- Is Islam such a weak religion that it cannot tolerate a book written against it? Not my Islam!
- Tell me how can one live without daughters.
- I love physics because it is about truth, a world determined by principles and laws—no messing around or twisting things like in politics, particularly those in my country.
- Education is our right, I said. Just as it is our right to sing. Islam has given us this right and says that every girl and boy should go to school. The Quran says we should seek knowledge, study hard and learn the mysteries of our world.