Drone attacks fuelling terrorism: Malala tells Obama
13 October, 2013
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama met Friday with 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the advocate for girls' education and the target of a Taliban assassination attempt who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Obama met Malala on the same day the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The Pakistani teen had been considered a front-runner for the prize and was in Washington to speak at two events.
"I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fuelling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact," she said.
She called for greater cooperation between the governments of the United States and Pakistan.
The White House said in a statement that Malala met with the president and first lady in the Oval Office where the president signed a proclamation to mark Friday as the International Day of the Girl. The proclamation says in part that "on every continent, there are girls who will go on to change the world in ways we can only imagine, if only we allow them the freedom to dream."
APP adds: The White House statement said that the President and First Lady Michelle Obama "welcomed" Malala and thanked her for her "inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan."
"The United States joins with the Pakistani people and so many around the world to celebrate Malala's courage and her determination to promote the right of all girls to attend school and realize their dreams," it said. As the First Lady has said, "Investing in girls' education is the very best thing we can do, not just for our daughters and granddaughters, but for their families, their communities, and their countries."
"We salute Malala's efforts to help make these dreams come true," the statement added.
AFP adds: Malala Yousafzai called on Friday for the World Bank to make education its top priority.
Seated on a stage with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim in a one-on-one presentation in Washington, the 16-year-old Malala delivered a poised, articulate and impassioned plea for children's education.
Asked by Kim for her advice to the World Bank, Malala noted that organizations spend much of their money on health, AIDS and other programmes. "But I think all those organizations must make education their top priority," she said.
Such a focus would fight child labour, child trafficking, poverty and AIDS, all at once, she argued.
Kim, who has called her "a powerful symbol of hope", announced the World Bank was donating $200,000 to the Malala Fund, a foundation she launched to help girls around the world go to school and promote universal access to education.
She recalled to a packed audience at the World Bank that her father campaigned for women's rights, in a Pakistani society that favours sons. She realized when she was about 13 and 14 that the Taliban might attack her father for his support of women, and she started to prepare for an attack against herself.
"If a Talib comes, he has a gun and he's going to shoot me, I will tell him, then shoot me, but listen to me first. Listen to my voice... And I will tell him that I want even education for their sons and daughters. I'm not speaking against them. I'm not against any person. I am against their ideology... why are they against education?"
Online adds: A little disappointed for not being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this year, Malala Yousafzai has said she needs to work a lot, the US media reported on Saturday.
"The decision they (the Nobel Peace Prize Committee) have taken is a right decision because I need to work a lot," Malala told the PBS news channel hours after it was announced that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been awarded this year's Nobel Peace prize.
"If we just forget about the decision that was taken about the Nobel Peace Prize, I think people gave me their prize. They nominated me. And that is the great prize for me," she said. "Then I have a prize in my mind that for which I'll struggle, for which I'll do the campaign, and it is the prize that is the award to see every child to go to school. I'll serve my whole life for that, for that is the prize that I want to get in my life," she said.
Malala said she wants to go back to her country and fight against terrorism. "Pakistan is the country where I was born, and I am a patriotic citizen of Pakistan, and I love my country. I want to be sincere to my country. I am truly hopeful that I will go back to Pakistan, because I want to fight against terrorism in Pakistan," she said.
"I want to fight for those girls who are deprived of education. And I have chosen politics, because through politics, I can serve the whole country. So I am hopeful, and I think if I empower myself with education, if I get knowledge, then it would be much easier for me to get success in my cause," she added.
Meanwhile, the United States, while congratulating OPCW for getting the Noble peace prize, praised the courage and efforts of Malala, terming it remarkable.