NEW YORK CITY: Pakistan teenager Malala Yousafzai vowed Friday not to be silenced by terrorists in a powerful speech to the United Nations on her first public appearance since being shot by the Taliban.

“They thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed,” Malala said on her 16th birthday in a presentation in which she called for books and pens to be used as weapons.

“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born,” she said.

Her 20 minute speech was given several standing ovations and was quickly hailed for her message of peace.

"Today, we call upon the world leaders to change their strategic policies in favor of peace and prosperity. We call upon the world leaders that all of these peace deals must protect women and children's rights. A deal that goes against the rights of women is unacceptable," she said.

Malala, who wore a pink headscarf and a shawl that belonged to assassinated Pakistan leader Benazir Bhutto, insisted she did not want “personal revenge” against the Taliban gunman who shot her on a bus in Pakistan's Swat Valley on October 12 last year.

“I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists. I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me I would not shoot him.” But Malala said “the extremists were and they are afraid of books and pens, the power of education. The power of education silenced them. They are afraid of women.”

”Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution,” she said.

The passionate advocate for girls education was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she rode on a school bus near her home in Pakistan's Swat Valley in October.

She was given life-saving treatment in Britain where she now lives, but the attack has given new life to her campaign for greater educational opportunities for girls.

Malala is now considered a leading contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Taliban have made it clear however that she remains a target.

Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister and UN special envoy for education, hailed Malala as “the bravest girl in the world” as he presented her at the UN Youth Assembly.

Brown said it was “a miracle” that Malala had recovered to be present at the meeting. UN leader Ban Ki-moon and other top officials also hailed her achievements.

The speech in which Malala invoked the legacy of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and other legendary peace advocates brought quick praise.

Malala also thanked British doctors and nurses for the care they had given and the United Arab Emirates government for paying for her treatment.

“I cannot believe how much love people have shown me. I have received thousands of good wish cards and gifts from all over the world. Thank you to all of them. Thank you to the children whose innocent words encouraged me,” she said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on his twitter account that Malala had delivered a “powerful message.”

The United Nations estimates that 57 million children of primary school age do not get an education -- half of them in countries at conflict like Syria.

“Students and teachers across our globe are intimidated and harassed, injured, raped, and even killed. Schools are burned, bombed, and destroyed,” said Diya Nijhowne, director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.

Nijhowne highlighted a horrific attack in northern Nigeria last week.

Gunmen from the Boko Haram Islamist group -- whose name literally means “Western education is a sin” -- broke into a secondary boarding school and killed 41 students and one teacher before setting fire to the building.

According to Ban's annual report on children and conflict, 115 schools were attacked last year in Mali, 321 in the occupied Palestinian territory, 167 in Afghanistan and 165 in Yemen.

Pakistan has an estimated five million children out of school and Nigeria 10 million, according to UN estimates.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (67)

Ihtesham Kayani
July 12, 2013 8:06 pm

Malala's address to UN general assembly was impressive where she spoke about thousands of innocents killed by the terrorists. But she dared not mention thousands of innocents including children being killed by blind drone attacks in her homeland. But again Ban Ki-Moon and the "august gathering" did not come to hear the all out truth.

Pakistan Tribune
July 12, 2013 8:10 pm

hats off to her...She is a real brave girl

Azhar Hussain
July 12, 2013 8:35 pm

God Speed to you Malala, and may Allah protect you from the barbarians among us.

July 12, 2013 8:40 pm

You make us south Asians proud.. You are the face of new generations of girls God bless you

July 12, 2013 8:43 pm

Her courage is a death to extremism, violence, haters and above all conspiracy theorist of Pakistan. Happy birth day Malala

Girish Sehgal
July 12, 2013 8:44 pm


Girish Sehgal
July 12, 2013 8:45 pm


July 12, 2013 8:49 pm

Proud of you Malala!

Shakir Ally
July 12, 2013 8:59 pm

We salute you Malala. Proud of you

Naeem Qureshi
July 12, 2013 9:01 pm

What in inspiration. The thug that tried to kill her for speaking up for education have failed.

Let us all pledge to educate one other person especially girls to eradicate ignorance .

gajanan ukhalkar
July 12, 2013 9:05 pm

Malala, you are blessed by God. Your courageous reply to anti human forces has made a history of peace and justice loving people all over the world. Your philosophical words that weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, courage and fervor was born shall serve as light house for young generations. Thank you, Malala, Happy Birthday. The whole world is with you.

July 12, 2013 9:09 pm

Go girl!!!

July 12, 2013 9:10 pm

This morning all major TV channels in North America were showing the excellent speech Malala gave in UN. The speech was so beautifully delivered highlighting beauty of real Islam and tributes to Quaid e Azam. If any one, she is the Daughter of the Nation and Daughter of the East. Not Afia the terrorist or Benazir the robber. She did not complain about life in Pakistan in fact she really made Pakistanis abroad proud. Keep it up girl.

July 12, 2013 9:19 pm

This young lady should definitely be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is someone who deserves it, without any hesitation.

I hope that people sign her online petition where she urges support for a cause which is very dear to her heart, and for which, she has gone through so much.

Brave lady indeed. Hope the Lord gives her strength to complete her mission

Khawaja S
July 12, 2013 9:20 pm

Kid, you are the greatest!!!

July 12, 2013 9:24 pm

My advice to Malala settle in U.K. don't bother to come back to Pakistan. Taliban masters sitting in Islamabad are more powerful, talibanization has infiltrated whole society and institutions .

July 12, 2013 9:27 pm

I saw her speech on television and it was wonderful...she received a standing ovation from the UN audience...she is a brave 16 yr old girl who is inspiring to many people of the world not only in Pakistan...God bless Malala and God help Pakistan...

July 12, 2013 9:27 pm

In any civilized and normal country Malala Yousafzai would be a role model for young women but not in Pakistan, thanks for fauji and mullah meddling that has defaced and deformed entire society.

Deepu Sunny
July 12, 2013 9:29 pm

A Big Salute From India - You are a brave Girl - Ray of Hope, Keep Going Malala , you are always in our prayers, all the best wishes..

July 12, 2013 9:30 pm

Good, inspiring! Wish everyone carries the hopes of Malala. We need preaching's like this to stand tall and move forward on the right path.

July 12, 2013 9:38 pm

The world can not help the likes of Malala. The Muslims have sort it out the status of women in their own society. All the western aid will not help,may be the Chinese brothers could help in aid for women in Pakistan.

July 12, 2013 10:04 pm

Wow!! This girl is such an inspiration. Just imagine a Pakistan full of Malala's--khahan sai khahan thak pounchthay!

Iftikhar Ahmad
July 12, 2013 10:05 pm

There are countless women who are promoting education in Pakistan, but they don't promote via BBC, or any other foreign channels---There has never been an incident of violence by any, leave alone the Taliban's, on any of these women from Pakistan---What is so special about this Malala, that she has been honoured with peace prize, and nominated for Noble?---Yes of course she needs to come back to Pakistan, or how else will she spread mischief about Taliban's sitting in Britain---

At age 11 Malala began writing, under a pseudonym, for the BBC. Did the BBC encourage Malala, knowing she was only 11? If that is the case, what an irresponsible, unethical act!! I am sure the BBC feels somewhat remorseful that this story ended the way it did, and they are the ones who are paying for Malala's treatment in England. I wonder if Malala's parents were aware of their daughter's blog. The Taliban extremists are against any Western ideas that encourage women to reach their potential. This attitude exists all over the world, not just in the Middle East. It's not an attitude readily palpable, but if you scratch the surface, the idea of women being subservient objects exists even in so-called "civilized" societies. Americans shoot little girls and boys and babies also and yes, the ones doing so are ALL evil whether they are Taliban or American.

Reading all the other Malala stories, there was a strong sense that people were stereotyping all Pakistanis, and all Pakistani men, by the Taliban. They conveniently forgot that millions of Pakistani girls are attending schools, and that’s because their parents, fathers included, want them to have an education. IA London School of Islamics Trust

July 12, 2013 10:07 pm

We are proud of you. This is a day of scorn and hate for Taliban apologists.

Mario Henrique S. Lins
July 12, 2013 10:17 pm

What will happen next? Nothing, in this failled state called Pakistan, the gun, the ignoramus, the fanatics will continue to rule everything.

July 12, 2013 10:19 pm

way to go! we are very, very proud of you!! God is always in favor of those that do not harm others and do good deeds.

Lakhkar Khan, Pekhawar de khkulo khar
July 12, 2013 10:19 pm


Congrats and Happy Birthday!! What a way to celebrate your 16th birthday.

Very thought provoking and fearless speech. May Allah give you the strength to keep it up.

July 12, 2013 10:22 pm

Way to go! You made Pakistan and its people very, very proud!! God indeed does justice! He is in favor of those who do not harm people and do good deeds.

July 12, 2013 10:22 pm

She is one of the most globally recognised and much feted and positive face of Pakistan! But she cant go back home and live amongst her near, dear ones and her fellow Pakistanis.. But that's not her tragedy..that is Pakistan's tragedy.. It is a safe haven for killers not for peace loving people.

Gerry D'Cunha
July 12, 2013 10:26 pm

i have heard malala's excellent speech at un - a brilliant girl who has a great potentials for in future of becoming an MP in britain and serving her communities - pakistan has lost an golden asset

Hussain Wazir
July 12, 2013 10:38 pm

Shame on Her father who used her daughter for his vested intrests.Yet I don't understand that how a previous leftist sits in a capitalist country and promoting a cause...

July 12, 2013 10:57 pm

Bravo Girl! You just SLAPPED the ones who trained guns on you in front of the whole world.

July 12, 2013 11:03 pm

Bravo Malala..... She is one shining light amongst an abundance of darkness that is the news coming out of Pakistan and the Islamic world.

July 12, 2013 11:04 pm

Keep it up girl

Sanjit Chakrabortty
July 12, 2013 11:11 pm

Such a intelligent girl. Mother Teresa from Pakistan.

Love Malala
July 12, 2013 11:16 pm

Malala, You have given courage to thousands of girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hope you will not become a pawn of political powers but a universal citizen who advocates peace and equal rights for girls world-wide.

July 12, 2013 11:38 pm

Long live Malala. We are proud of you and your achievements.

S. Palijo
July 12, 2013 11:44 pm

"Never gonna give in - never gonna give up You can't take me I'm free I gotta fight another fight I gotta fight with all my might....." LONG LIVE MALALA OUR BRAVE PAKISTANI SISTER. S.Palijo, Thatta

July 13, 2013 12:09 am

Did she address UN in pashtoon?

M. Ismail
July 13, 2013 12:11 am

It is great honour for pakistan to havn such a daughter like MALALA .And for her such developmemt her parents deserve admiration.

July 13, 2013 12:33 am

Malala is a gem from Pakistan. Holy quran clearly says that seek knowledge irrespective of gender. All the ills, infighting, culture of intolerance among muslims are because they are far less educated than other communities and their ladies are even more behind than men. Whoever is against education for male or female has to face the punishment from allah for going against teachings of holy quran. In fact muslims are suffering for this in this world itself. Anybody who is not educated can be easily manipulated and even make them follow path opposite to real teachings of religion as they are totally dependent on whatever so called religious leaders.

Ms Nusrat Jahan,
July 13, 2013 12:36 am

Warm greetings and hearty congratulations to the teen-aged, God gifted daughter of Pakistani soil of Swat, Ms Malala Yousufzai on this august occasion of the declaration of her 16th birthday as The Malala United Nations Day for the noble cause of education for all children through out the world. All Pakistanis feel proud of your perfectly executed, confidence inspiring powerful, purposeful speech, through which, you Ms Malala, have really conquered the mind and heart of, not only those present in the UN headquarter gathering, but also those, all over the world who saw you speak live, on CNN, and were overwhelmed by your courageously, illustrious, history creating performance. May your message of hope for the bright future for all, through Education, reach all the four corners of the world to make our Global Village, a place to live in peace with prosperity and stability for all the time to come. Ameen.

Naeem Fakir
July 13, 2013 12:44 am

She looks, she sounds like a future Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Masood Hussain
July 13, 2013 1:03 am

One of the best speeches ever made on the floor of U.N It touched my heart.

July 13, 2013 1:08 am

If only her words actually manage to create some positive actions! Very impressive for a 16 year old.

July 13, 2013 1:10 am

the west and its mediocrity the UN.Malala forgot that her palestinian,iraqi,afgani,egyptian,libyan,pakistani and other muslim sisters suffer almost a similar fate(murder,rape and military occupation) in their own countries but not due to lack of education but due to the inability of the very UN she was standing at,is unable to bring peace and relieve these muslims of foreign occupation. UN is hypocrite

July 13, 2013 1:27 am

She also invoked the legacy of Gandhi but not Jinnah. Wonder why?

July 13, 2013 1:49 am

Malala Yousafzai is an icon of equal rights for Pakistani young men and women to achieve all levels of education without gender discrimination.

July 13, 2013 1:56 am

Malala -- the pride of Pakistan

July 13, 2013 2:10 am

If there is a future for Pakistan then that is this girl, Malala!

July 13, 2013 2:14 am

Brave Pakistani, I wish she had mentioned Qaid-e-Azam as a advocate of piece and an ardent supporter of women's education, and their role in society. Mandela was a great admirer of Qaid-e-Azam

July 13, 2013 2:19 am

May God continue to bless this most amazing young lady - who has continued to make her country so proud. She is mature beyond her age and is a major inspiration - not only to girls her age, but to all of us. As much as I deplore the despicable act of the Talibans, I think it brought out more into the open, the cause that she stood for. As she said in the speech, instead of silencing her, the Talibans enabled her voice to be heard even louder. I can't wait to read her book, which i hope will become a "must read" in every school, so that children in other parts of the world get better appreciation of what children have to endeavor in some third world countries. Malala mentioned a few names that have inspired her - i just want to add that her name will be added to the list, who will inspire future generations.

July 13, 2013 2:50 am

I know there are few people consider her as a conspiracy and goverment agent .But , please read the speech and than they find anything wrong do critism, otherwise at least appreciate the speech only.

Nauman khan
July 13, 2013 3:56 am

Yes no doubt the courage of Mallala is the example of inspiration for those girls who are becoming the victim of this un educational society where to acquire knowledge for girls is considered as a black sin.

July 13, 2013 4:38 am

I have 1 question. Why malala hundereds of innocent grils and boys dying every day. Why not them ?

Javaid Bashir
July 13, 2013 5:34 am

It was an excellent speech. She spoke from her heart , and delivered her message of peace and education for all. She even included the Talibans children in the universal education program.No child be left put.

She also spoke about women\s rights. She talked about her ordeal and said I have the same dreams, ideals and strength to work for the rights of the people.

She was focused on her struggle for human rights of women and children. She calmly delivered the message of peace and urged the world leaders to give more attention to children's education.

She was applauded and appreciated through out her address.

July 13, 2013 7:31 am

Rock on Sweetheart. You are the voice, may Allah bless you & the million other females fighting for the right of being educated.

Talat Hamdany
July 13, 2013 9:51 am

It is a shame that whereas CNN and BBC gave full live coverage to Malala's UN speech, the only coverage in Pakistan was from PTV. We have so many channels who say they are champions of women's rights but they failed miserably when it came to the the real coverage. We as a nation do not walk our talk we are hypocrites and bigots. Malala is indeed a brave girl but she should not have politicized her speech to mention Benazir. Otherwise it was a good projection of Pakistan.

July 13, 2013 9:58 am

Along with Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, she also mentioned Mahatma Gandhi and Bacha Khan as her source of inspiration.

July 13, 2013 10:11 am

Well said Malala, Education is the only "Solution". Taliban hates "book" because they dont know what is inside the "book"

July 13, 2013 11:24 am

Why all of this only happening in Islamic countries..............?

Nusrat Jahan,
July 13, 2013 12:01 pm

Malala UN day. A great occasion and honour of which all Pakistanis feel proud of her perfect performance and the noble ideals of her lifelong passion for creating a new, bright, shining future through Education for the youth, all over the world.

Ravi Ingale from University of Pune
July 13, 2013 12:47 pm

The Future Prime Minister of Pakistan. For that Pakistan have to wait for more 20 years.

K G Surendran
July 13, 2013 12:47 pm

WOW the kid has such poise and what a strong message of NON-VIOLENCE. She is not only a daughter of Pakistan but is a daughter of the world and hope for millions of girls and boys across the globe. Let us hope as citizens of this beautiful world that all humans are educated and poverty totally eradicated. Pakistan cannot have a better Ambassador on the world stage.

Cool Monk
July 13, 2013 4:52 pm

@Cynical: Yes, absolutely. But this is a pakistani newspaper - they had to censor anything Indian.

July 14, 2013 1:24 pm

Nothing but praise for this young lady.

But I'd like to point out the irony of the symbolism of her wearing a shawl that belonged to Benazir Bhutto for this speech. It was during Benazir's term as PM that the Pakistan's material and political support to the Taliban reached its peak. She personally backed the Taliban to gain control of Afghanistan, and appointed prominent Pakistani military personnel to provide strategic support to the Taliban. It was under her government that Pakistan recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, and the Taliban opened an embassy in Pakistan. She was, effectively, the primary figure in the late 90s, without whose support the Taliban could never have become the monster that they did later on. Perhaps, Malala should reconsider her choice of inspirational figures from Pakistan.

Ajit Kumar Das
July 14, 2013 5:55 pm

A diminutive teenager, Malala stood tall at the UN Youth Assembly, rising magnificently to the stature of a global icon. She is a perfect embodiment of strength, courage and power, mellowed by compassion for her brutal attacker. We in India join our Pakistani friends to hail her as the bravest girl of the world. A.K. Das, India.

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