Malala to star in Nobels ceremony
Malala Yousafzai picks up her Nobel Peace Prize today, but the youngest ever laureate already has an even more startling memento from her young life: the blood-soaked school uniform she wore when shot by the Taliban. The 17-year-old Pakistani known everywhere as Malala shares the peace prize with the Indian campaigner Kailash Satyarthi, 60, who has fought for 35 years to free thousands of children from virtual slave labour. Their pairing has the extra symbolism of linking neighbouring countries that have been in conflict for decades. After being named, Malala said she hoped both states’ prime ministers would attend the prize-giving ceremony in Oslo. Malala will be the star of the annual Nobels extravaganza, also featuring Frenchman Patrick Modiano with the literature prize and his compatriot Jean Tirole with the economics award. But visitors to the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo can catch a reminder of the very different circumstances that led to Malala’s rise in the international spotlight.
The center has on loan the uniform the then 15-year-old Malala was wearing in 2012 when a Taliban gunman shot her on a school bus in response to her campaign for girls’ education. ‘My school uniform is very important to me…. The day I was attacked I was wearing this uniform. I was fighting for my right to go to school,’ she said in a statement as the uniform was handed over to the centre on Friday. ‘Wearing a uniform made me feel that yes, I am a student,’ she said about the uniform. ‘It is an important part of my life. Now I want to show it to children, to people all around the world. This is my right, it is the right of every child, to go to school.’ Although Malala’s head wound was almost fatal, she recovered after being flown for extensive surgery in Birmingham and she has remained in England with her family since – continuing both her education and activism. She is travelling to Norway with five other teenage activists from Pakistan, Syria and Nigeria, including Shazia Ramzan, 16, and Kainat Riaz, 17, also shot during the Taliban attack on Malala and 17-year-old Amina Yusuf, a girls’ education activist from northern Nigeria where the terror group Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls during a raid in April 2014.
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