When word got out in October of 2012 that then 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai had been shot by the Taliban, it was the first time most of the world had ever heard of her. It seemed strange. What about this girl had so outraged the Taliban that they wanted her dead? We chalked it up to the ongoing senseless brutality of a cruel terrorist organization and wished Malala the best. That was that.
Since then, Malala has been making it clear just what it was about her that frightened the Taliban: she’s fearless. Since making a full recovery, she has become the story and the face of the push for women’s rights in the Middle East.
She’s done it all without becoming an empty figurehead or poster child. Whether she’s dropping Jon Stewart’s jaw or politely chastising President Obama for America’s reliance on drone strikes, she’s done it with great eloquence and grace.
She was the people’s favorite to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Instead, it went to The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a group attempting to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapon stockpile. She remained undeterred, however, telling the U.N.,“I’m here to speak up for the right of education for every child.
“They thought the bullet would silence us, but they failed,” she said. “Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, fervor and courage was born.”