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The Bravest Girl in the World Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Aired October 10, 2014 - 14:00:00   ET



AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, I'm Christiane Amanpour, and welcome to the special weekend edition of our program.

Malala Yousafzai has won the Nobel Peace Prize for her tireless campaign for a girl's right to education. In 2012, she was shot by the

Taliban for daring to continue this very public activism.


MALALA YOUSAFZAI, EDUCATION ACTIVIST: I'm feeling honored that I'm being chosen as a Nobel laureate and I have been honored with this precious

award to the Nobel Peace Prize. And I'm proud that I'm the first Pakistani and the first young woman or the first young person who is getting this

award. It's a great honor for me.


AMANPOUR: Now Malala's sharing the prize with Kailash Satyarthi, who spent decades campaigning against child labor. Joint winners from rivals,

India and Pakistan, sending a strong message of peace.

Last year when Malala published her book, I sat down with her and her father for an extensive and extraordinary conversation before an audience

in New York. And you can really see why she's been awarded the Nobel Prize.


AMANPOUR: Let me take you back to that incredible day a year ago.

Do you remember, Malala, what happened to you on that bus when somebody asked your friends, who is Malala?

M. YOUSAFZAI: I don't remember what happened on that day when that man came, we may call him a boy, and he was just as near to me as maybe

you're quite far away. But he was very near to me.

And he asked, "Who is Malala?"

All the girls, they got furious. No one could understand what he was saying because we were thinking about our next day exam paper. And on that

day we were having a gossip, who would get the higher marks, who would get the lower marks

So he asked "Who is Malala?" He did not give me time to answer his question.

And my friend told me, my best friend, Waniba (ph), that at that time we just squeezed my hand. He just pushed it with force. And you do not

say anything. And then in the next few seconds, he fired two bullets. One bullet hit me, the left side of my forehead, just above here. And it ran

down to my neck and into my shoulder.

And I think I was hit by only one bullet. And it also affected my eardrum, so now I have problem in listening as well. It also cut down my

facial nerve.

But still, if I look at it, it's a miracle. My brain is spared. My spinal cord is saved. Everything is fine. I am alive and I still can

talk. I can smile. So I thank God for that.

AMANPOUR: It must be still so difficult for you to listen to the retelling of this story.

ZIAUDDIN YOUSAFZAI, MALALA'S FATHER: Yes, of course. You see that the hardest moment for me as a father, when I heard the news about the

attack on her and it was such a brutal attack that it has almost taken her life, and we had the worst trauma.

And you want to think of it, it is very difficult because, in this universe, she's the most precious person for me in my life. And we are not

only father and daughter, we are friends.

M. YOUSAFZAI: My father inspired me because he is like an inspiration. He's an example for me.

AMANPOUR: Cast your mind back to that hospital room now in Birmingham after having survived, having been rescued by the Pakistani doctors, an

English doctor, said that if you didn't get moved, you would die because the aftercare was not good and that you may even have been brain damaged.

And she convinced the authorities to fly you to her hospital in Birmingham.

But what was it like when you woke up?

M. YOUSAFZAI: When I opened my eyes, I was aware of two, three things. The first thing was that, yes, Malala, you were shot. The dreams

that you were having and the thoughts you had in your mind, they were true. Because in my dreams ,there were some pictures of being shot and then lying

in a stretcher and feeling apart from school, feeling apart from home.

And I tried to wake up. I tried to get up, but I couldn't. And I was also telling myself that, Malala, last night when you slept, you were still

in your dreams. You haven't woken up. But when I woke up, I realized that now I am not in Pakistan. The nurses and doctors, everyone was speaking in


Then, the first thing I did was that I thanked Allah. I thanked God that I was surviving. I was living.

And you know I cannot explain it how happy I was -- how much happy. I cannot explain it because I was very happy when I saw myself alive. And

when I saw that I am living and I am surviving. And then, I was thinking about my father and my mother as well. And I could not speak at that time

because there was a tube in my neck that was breathing for me.

So I asked for a pen and paper from the nurse. And I wrote to many doctors, I did it a lot of times. And I wrote to them, "Where is my father

and my mother." And so they told me that, "Your father is safe. And he will come soon as soon as possible."

And the second question that was really important for me, and about which I was thinking, that who will pay for me? Because I don't have

money. And I was -- I also knew that my father is running the school. But the buildings of the schools are on rent. The home is on rent. And he

cannot sell his school. So that's simple.

And then, I thought like, OK, so your father has land in village. He can sell it. But I said it is very few money, a few amount of money. Then

I was thinking he might asking people for loan.

So that's why I thought that --


M. YOUSAFZAI: I didn't know that that the whole world was praying for me and are still praying for me. They are supporting me. And now I

believe that when people pray, when people pray to God, for life, God gives. God is really honest. God listens to his peoples' voice.



M. YOUSAFZAI: Today I am focusing on women's rights and girls' education because they are suffering the most. There was a time when women

activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But this time we will do it by ourselves.



AMANPOUR: What do you think it is about you that caused the whole world to pray for you and the whole world to light candles when you were

wounded and the whole world to wish for you to be here today?

M. YOUSAFZAI: I think I must ask the whole world, why did they pray for me?


M. YOUSAFZAI: And the first thing is that it shows humanity. It shows love. It shows friendship. And it shows harmony because not only

the people of Pakistan, not only Muslims, not only Pashtuns, but everyone prayed for me. It did not matter what religion they had. They were

Christians. They were Jews. They did not even have religion. But they prayed for me and they prayed for my new life.

AMANPOUR: Do you think though that it was -- not just because you are a lovely girl, but because you had a fundamental mission and that you spoke

out about it in the most unusual way?

What was it that you were thinking before all of this?

What was your, you know, your life about in terms of education and in terms of being prepared to defy the very violent opposition that you were


M. YOUSAFZAI: At that time when we were facing terrorism in Swat and especially in 2009, the Radio Mullah, which we call him, he announced on

radio that, from the 15th of January 2009, no girl is allowed to go to school.

AMANPOUR: No girls to school?

M. YOUSAFZAI: No girl is allowed to go to school. And if she goes, then you know what we can do. That was his threat.

What they did, they used to flog girls. They used to flog women. They also slaughtered people in the squares of Mingora. They treated

people like animals.

And they bomb us in mosques. They did not even respect the mosques. At that time, that blasted more than 400 schools. And in the whole

province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, they have blasted 1,500 schools.

Now you can imagine how much education is affected in Pakistan and in Swat. At that time, I did not want to be silent because I had to live in

that situation forever. And it was a better idea because otherwise they were going to kill us. So it was a better idea to speak and then be


So I said I'll speak up for my rights. I learned from my father. I learned from some other people who were speaking at that time. And I said

that even though I'm a small child, my voice would not have that much power, it will not be that much strong, it will be immature kind of voice,

but I will speak.


AMANPOUR: Ziauddin, let me ask you a difficult question.

This was your teenage daughter, she was really a young girl.


AMANPOUR: And she has just described this enormous public profile that she had. That she spoke, it's so unusual for girls or anybody to defy

the Taliban, most particularly girls in that manner. And you encouraged her.

Z. YOUSAFZAI: Yes, of course.

AMANPOUR: Do you feel any remorse, any regret, any wish that you hadn't made her so public and such a big target?

Z. YOUSAFZAI: No, never. Remember, I am a Pashtun Pakistani. I can never compromise on freedom. My approach is I think that it's better to

live for one day to speak for your right than to live for hundred years in such a slavery. I will never put my neck into the yoke of slavery.


AMANPOUR: Did you ever in your wildest nightmares, you knew the threats. You heard about it. You just described what you'd seen them do

around your village.

Did you ever feel that you were in danger?

M. YOUSAFZAI: Actually, I was worried about my father because I was not expecting anyone to come for me. I thought that they might have a

little bit manners and the behavior would be --


M. YOUSAFZAI: -- how they would be like humans.


M. YOUSAFZAI: So that's why I was not expecting them to come for me. But then later on -- and I used to think, Malala, if the Talib comes, what

would you do? I usually prepared myself. I once said like I'm going to stop this campaign and no more speech. I said, OK. If he come, then what

are you going to do? Plan that.

Like I was thinking having a picture in my mind, I'm going back home and the Talib comes and he has a gun and he wants to shoot me.

First I thought that I would just take my shoes and hit him. And but then I said if I hit him with a shoe, and if I become cruel to him, it

means that there is no difference between me and the Talib.

Then I said, Malala, speak to him what you have in your heart. Speak to him that you even want education for their children, even want -- even

want to have piece for their family as well because we never thought about their families, how will their wives would be feeling ,how their daughters

would be feeling, how their mothers would be feeling, how hard it would be for them.

And that's why I want to tell Taliban that be peaceful and the real jihad is to fight through pens and to fight through your words. Do that

jihad and that's the jihad that I'm doing. I'm fighting for my rights, for the right of every girl. This jihad is through pens and through books.


M. YOUSAFZAI: They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would send girls to the hell just because of going to school.

These terrorists are misusing the name of Islam in Pashtun society for their own personal benefit.





AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about your own mother, your wife. Here you are, very forward leaning, very progressive. But your wife, you courted

her with love poems when she couldn't read. She had not had the benefit of education. She grew up illiterate.


Z. YOUSAFZAI: Yes, but she can read her mother tongue. She can, yes. She can't read English as you do --


AMANPOUR: OK. So she did know how to read --

Z. YOUSAFZAI: She can read her mother tongue. And I used to write poems.

AMANPOUR: Why are you laughing?

You don't want to share those poems?


M. YOUSAFZAI: My father must not share it in front of his daughter because the daughters learn from parents.


AMANPOUR: Well, that would be a good thing to learn, no?

But, Malala, your mother kept purdah. She was very modest. She wore the full burqa all the time. She was conservative. But she was a big

powerhouse, and remains in your family.

Did she also support this campaign, your talking about it, what you were doing?

M. YOUSAFZAI: She supported both me and my father in our campaign for education because she wanted to see peace in Swat. And she said that what

you are doing is right.

So she encourages us. And the other thing is that she supported us in everything, but she was just telling me that, "Cover your face, men are

looking at you."

Whenever I used to -- I used to go to the market with her, she used to tell me, "Cover your face. See, that man is looking at you, that man is

looking at you." I said, "Mom, I'm also looking at them. It doesn't matter."


M. YOUSAFZAI: So she also takes care of days part-time (ph), the Pashtun cultural norms and traditions.

Z. YOUSAFZAI: We allowed for that, but face your identity should be the end that you are someone, somebody.

AMANPOUR: So you don't believe in the covering?

Z. YOUSAFZAI: No, she always held her scarf. And this is not something imposed. This is cultural. We -- for me, all cultural and

traditional things, they are very lovely when they don't go against human rights.

So it's very simple. If we make the whole world like one similar, there will be no diversity, no beauty.

AMANPOUR: You know, the Queen of England has invited you to the palace.

You're going, right?

M. YOUSAFZAI: Yes, I'm going because it is the order of the Queen.


AMANPOUR: And Madonna mentions you in her concert. And Angelina Jolie speaks about you and to you.

And you've become so well-known.

What does all that mean to you?

How do you process all that?

M. YOUSAFZAI: When people write on Twitter we support Malala, it does not only mean that great stars are supporting me. It does not mean that

they have tweeted on me, oh, it's a great thing.

Other than that, they're also supporting my cause. It means that the whole world is taking an action for girls' education, for the education of

every child. We must not forget that even boys are suffering from child labor. And we women speak about equality and we are not as harsh as men

because we want equality. We are very kind to men. So that's why we're also speaking about boys' rights as well.

So when I look at the response of people, when I look at their support, then I think that, Malala, the day for which you were waiting for

your whole life -- is only 16 but --


M. YOUSAFZAI: -- because I had a target, that this is my target. I want to see every child. I want to see those 57 million children who are

out of school, I want them to be in school. I want them to study. I want them to get quality education. I want them to learn.

So when I look at the support of people, I think that it's just tomorrow. And we are going to achieve that goal as soon as possible.

AMANPOUR: You're 16, really wise, what do you do that's girly?

What do you like in movies, music, books?

M. YOUSAFZAI: The first and the important thing in my life is that I raise my voice against my brothers.


M. YOUSAFZAI: And because they are still brothers and I'm like the only daughter. So it is very necessity to fight against them and to raise

our voice against them.


M. YOUSAFZAI: And other than that, when I was in Pakistan, I liked Western music like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez. But when I came here --

when I came to U.K., then I was missing my own Pashtun music and Urdu music; that's why now I listen to Pashtun songs a lot.

AMANPOUR: When you were a young girl, younger than you are now, in the Swat valley, did you ever even hear of the Nobel Peace Prize?

M. YOUSAFZAI: We did, about Nobel Peace Prize because we have a great -- the scientists, a physicist, he was --


M. YOUSAFZAI: -- his name is Abdus Salam. And he won the Nobel Prize in physics.

So that was a really -- like a great honor for Pakistan that he won the Nobel Prize and we were really feeling proud of him when we used read

about him in the book.

So I only read about Nobel Prize in the book.

AMANPOUR: And did you read about -- do you know some of the great people who've won the Nobel Peace Prize?

M. YOUSAFZAI: Yes, like great people like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, whom I met. He's a really a great personality. And so there are

great people who are winning Nobel Peace Prize. And I think they deserve it.

And last year who won the prize, one of them was Tawakkol Karman and she was the one who awarded me with excellent Peace Prize. So when I met

her, I think she deserved that. And everyone who has got a Nobel Peace Prize, they deserve it.

But when I think of myself, I have a lot to do. So I think that it's really an early age. And I will feel proud when I would work for

education, when I would have done something, when I will be feeling confident with other people, yes, I have the best school, I have done that

teacher's training, I have sent that many children to school. When I will be feeling proud, then if I get the Nobel Peace Prize, I will be saying,

yes, I deserve it somehow.


M. YOUSAFZAI: Still, I need to work a lot.

I need to work a lot.

AMANPOUR: You still have huge dreams. They didn't take that away from you.

M. YOUSAFZAI: They only can shoot a body. They cannot shoot my dreams. And I think my dreams are living.


M. YOUSAFZAI: The important thing -- the important thing is that they shot me because they wanted to tell me that we want to kill you and stop

your campaign. They did a mistake -- the biggest mistake. They ensured me and they told me to hesitate, that even death is supporting me, that even

death does not want to kill me.

And now I'm not afraid of death. First, I might have been. But now I'm totally not afraid of death. And when I look at the support of people

then I'm sure that this cause is never going to die. And we will see that a day will come, every child -- whether girl or boy, whether black or

white, whether Christian or Muslim -- he or she will be going to school, Inshallah.


M. YOUSAFZAI: I would like tell every girl in U.K., in America, in the countries, in the developed countries where education is available to

them, go to schools and realize it's important before it is snatched from you as we have been suffered from the situation. So going to school, doing

homework on time, being good to teachers and being good to each other, it's a very important part of life. So go to school.

AMANPOUR: I need to introduce you to my son.


AMANPOUR: Thank you, Ziauddin, and thank you, Malala.