UN, July 12: Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani girl who has already become a household name across the globe for putting up a brave fight against the dominating forces in her country, gave a memorable speech to the world during her speech here on Friday.
It also happened to be the 16th birthday of the girl who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan nine months ago for supporting girls' education. She survived the battle for life and has resumed with her mission.
The young girl, who was wearing a white head scarf which once belonged to Pakistan's late prime minister Benazir Bhutto, sat in the chair at the centre of the world body's General Assembly, which is generally occupied by the most powerful leaders of the world.
Malala told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and several other dignitaries, activists and youth leaders from various countries who had gathered on the occasion to lend her ears that education should be free for all for she felt it was the only weapon to fight against global problems like poverty, illiteracy and terrorism.
In an emphatic message, Malala said the Taliban had shot her and her friend on October 9 last year but they failed to make them silent. The girl, speaking fluent English, said she harboured no hatred for those who tried to kill her for she believed in non-violence.
Addressing the UN
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) applauds as Malala Yousafzai addresses the UN on Malala Day on Friday.
With UN Secy-Gen and former British PM
Malala Yousafzai with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the UN headquarters on Friday.
She said she would not have shot the criminal even if she had a gun in her hand and he was there in front. Malala received a standing ovation during making her speech.
The Secretary-General later said that the UN was proud to have a "brave, resilient young girl leading the charge" on girls' education.
Former British prime minister Brown also lauded Malala's heroic efforts and said she had emerged into a figurehead for the civil rights movement for the right of each boy and girl to receive education.
Malala is currently based in Birmingham with her family after she was flown to the UK for treatment for the grave injury she had suffered in the Taliban attack.