Transcript for Malala Yousafzai on how the Taliban made her stronger
life on the line as an activist at just 11 years old and became the youngest Nobel peace prize winner in history. Now she's sharing the journeys of refugees fleeing for their lives in a new book I'm sending to the white house called "We are displaced." We are honored to have and welcome Malala Yousafzai. ??? Not everybody gets that. Thank you. The chair is very high. I'm quite short. Finally here. Thank you. Nice to have you with us. Now, we want to really sort of remind people of your extraordinary story. You grew up in swat valley, Pakistan, had a peaceful life until 2008 when the Taliban took over and announced that no girl would be allowed to attend school anymore. You were 11 years old, and you started to speak out against this. Now, what gave you the courage to do it? Yes, that was exactly ten years ago when the Taliban announced a ban on girls' education. I still remember waking up that morning and thinking that my future was taken away from me. My dreams were taken away from me. It was not just not having access to books in classrooms but just that Independence that you want in your life as a woman, that is taken away from you. So, for me, if I wanted to have a future, I had to speak out and that's why I decided that I would raise my voice. And now, ten years have passed since then, but I've met many girls around the world and I wanted to share their stories who have also been through the same situations around the world. So this is like a global issue. Let me ask you something, why do you think that the Taliban in this case but it happens in other places in the world, why men don't want women to be independent, to be -- to get ahead in the world? Why do you think that's true? Well, I'm struggling to understand it. I think firstly, they just don't want women to be powerful. They don't want women to be in the same positions as themselves. They don't want women next to them. We already see it in the like the western countries as well women not being accepted as political leaders, as presidents, as prime ministers, and just people find excuses to justify their opinions, but within their minds, within their heart, it's actually just that misogyny, that sexism that they do not believe that women can be leaders. And for the Taliban it was clear. It was that if girls get empowered through education, then they become leaders and they have a voice and they're against sexual violence and they'll talk about early child marriages and they will talk about their rights and their property rights and their jobs. It would expose them. Yes. And they lose their power. Yes. That's something that when I met these girls in the refugee camps, that's what they want. All of these girls globally, they have an exploration for learning. Girls are aware that that is the only way forward for them. In 2012, you were on your school bus and a gunman came on and shot you, and you survived. And you said it made you stronger. How? I think -- well, they wanted to silence me. That was their goal. And they wanted our family to be silent as well. They wanted other activists as well in our region to be quiet, not to speak the truth. I survived and my voice went even louder. Not just thousands of people were listening to me but millions of people were listening to me. I realized they just made a huge mistake. Yes, they did. They sure did. And you also mention in your book that your father always taught you to have a voice, and that's unusual, isn't it? Why do you think your father is a man in that part of the world that is so different? You know, I have met many fathers in the refugee camps as well and I'm mentioning this because often we talk about fathers in these developing countries or the so-called poor countries or refugee countries, we think of them as misogynistic people, not believing in their daughters but there are many who are challenging the status quo, who are challenging the current mind-set in society. You know, my father, he has also written a book about his story called "Let her fly." He talks about his own journey and his own struggle and he said that the first person he came across and the first person he had to fight was himself, his own mind-set. I think that's what we need to teach men, to fight themselves and the thoughts that are in their head. My father believed in me because he saw that his own five sisters could not get an education and they lost their future, so my father said, you know, when he would have his own daughter he would allow her to read and write and to be who she wants to be, and he allowed me to speak. He was a feminist before he knew the word feminism. Can you tell us about one of these girls that you write about in your book? So, I mention many girls' stories from Syria to Iraq and Yemen. One girl that has just inspired me. I met her in 2015. She is a refugee from Yemen. Just listening to her story of how she overcame that whole struggle from -- her journey from Yemen to then -- I'm going to look for her name because I forgot her name. Zanub and her sister, they have gone from one country into another for safety. Her sister is no longer with her. They got separated, and just the difficulty when you come to a new country and you want to achieve your dreams, achieve your goals in your life. She got 4.0, the American scoring system, and she's doing amazing in her academics. She's also leading a soccer team and she wants to dream big. Her resilience is inspiring and I have mentioned these girls' stories not in a way to show them as victims, to show them as people are suffering, but also they're courageous, they're brave. They're overcoming these difficulties. So we have a lot to learn from these young girls. Isn't it true her sister isn't come because of the travel ban? Her sister, she cannot come. She's in Italy right now, and she is -- they're both, you know, they can't go back to see her sister because it would be hard for her as well when she leaves the country to come back. You see the human side of these stories. So, we want you to come back any time because it's not enough time, but we thank Malala Yousafzai. Her book, "We are displaced," is out tomorrow, and members of our audience, you're actually
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