Malala Yousafzai Speaks Out For Love and Education
Malala Yosafzai, the youngest to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize, has a message for everyone, a message everyone can apply to their lives. “A lot of bad things are happening, but make your heart beautiful by taking out hatred and bringing in love, and you will see this world from a completely different eye, and you will start loving the people around you, and you will start loving this world,” she said on Aug. 30.
As part of a national tour, Yosafzai gave a lecture at the MODA Center in Portland, Oregon. The purpose of her talk was to raise awareness of her campaign for education and to raise funds to support her foundation, the Malala Fund.
With her wry humor and oratory skills well beyond her age, she talked about her life in Pakistan growing up, and the influence of her parents and their encouragement. After the Taliban came to power in Pakistan, she said, it became her mission to bring the gift of education to the world and encourage and strengthen others in their efforts to become educated.
The Malala Fund aims to build schools, promote activism and awareness of educational issues for girls, amplify their voices, and encourage other girls to speak out.
Because Yousafzai spoke out against the harsh rule of the Taliban, she is now a refugee from her own country. The glimmering landscape of her home, which she called the most beautiful place on earth with its snowcapped peaks and tree-lined valleys, was formerly a popular tourist destination. It is now a haven for terrorism.
The Taliban sent death threats and destroyed over 400 schools in their attempts to ban girls from getting an education. Yousafzai and two of her classmates were shot on their way to school by a Taliban member in an effort to silence them. All three girls survived.
In this act of terrorism, however, the terrorists made a grave mistake. The attack changed Yousafzai: “I had a little bit of fear of death, and [wondered] how it would feel, how would I feel if someone attacked me?”
Yousafzai forgave the man who nearly ended her life.
Now Yousafzai believes her campaign is more than just a fight for education, but for the Truth. “God was supporting me and even death did not want me to die so early, and it let me survive,” she said.
Using her second life to travel the world and campaign for her cause, Yousafzai has met world leaders, making her case to end violence using peaceful means by supporting people through kindness and explaining the value of education.
Yousafzai talked about compassion. She forgave the man who nearly ended her life.
The majority of Muslims are against terrorism, she explained. “The word ‘Islam’ literally means ‘peace’. It is a religion of tolerance and love for each other.”
According to Yousafzai, some interpret the Koran too negatively. As in many religions, you can interpret the Koran however you like. She urged those in power not to isolate the majority of the Muslim population who are actively trying to find a solution and want to see the violence end.
“Sometimes when we look at the media, we see all the negative things being highlighted. It is important to remember that there are billions of people who want peace, who want happiness in life,” she said.
“If governments around the world worked with Muslims who want peace, real change would happen,” Yousafzai said
Yousafzai’s newest project is the Gul Makai Network, named for the pen-name she used when writing her diary for the BBC. The network helps support local leaders who promote education in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Much of Yousafzai’s focus is on Syria, though. Children in Syria have borne the worst brunt of the civil war so that many have called them the lost generation, growing up as they have been in refugee camps.
“If you ask them what they want to become, they say a teacher, or a doctor,” hoping to rebuild their country. The future of Syria, she believes, can only be bright if the children get an education and see hope for themselves and their country.
Children or adults, Yousafzai believes everyone’s voice is important. Each of our voices is important and can help change the world for the better. We can get involved to work to make the world what we want it to become.
And that starts with loving the world. “You take out hatred and anger, and all those ugly feelings from your heart, [then] the world becomes beautiful,” she said.
For more information on the Malala Fund, go to malala.org