Bearing Witness: 2014 — The Globe and Mail looks back on the cataclysmic news events of 2014 through the eyes of the people who were there – be they bystanders, participants or journalists. Their accounts shaped our perceptions, while their witnessing the events changed their lives.
Javeria Gulzada Khan, 15, is a student in Grade 10 at a school in Mingora, Pakistan, the hometown of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by a Taliban gunman in 2012, targeted because she was an advocate for education for girls. In December, Ms. Yousafzai became the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
We are very happy about the [Nobel Peace] Prize being given to Malala [Yousafzai]. For us Pashtun girls, we hold our heads up with pride because of Malala! We have this desire to succeed like Malala too.
Malala, as a Pashtun girl and at such a young age, she has achieved so much in life and we want the same. Our hopes have been raised by this. Malala is a very nice girl – she is very intelligent and very talented. It is because of Malala that our parents realize that they want their daughters to get an education and succeed. Girls who were not allowed to study before have now gotten permission to study because of Malala. This is all because of her. People now realize that Pashtun girls have enough strength to achieve something in life.
I was in the eighth grade when I heard about Malala, after she had been shot and when she wrote her book. I really like everything about Malala, but I like her traditional style very much. She still looks the same as Pashtun girls here do.
I am really well-prepared for my [upcoming Grade 10] exams, and I hope that I will succeed and pass my exams. Our teachers are very hard-working and they spend a lot of time working with us. What is in my heart and in my mind is to be a scientist. I really like science and I think it is a very interesting subject. If I get permission from my family, then I hopefully will pursue this further.
All of her speeches are good. But that [Nobel Prize] speech had a lot of emotions, a lot of feeling. That speech has inspired the same desire in us – that we can also accomplish something. Her speech was so emotional, with such good feeling, that we now have the same spirit: to also succeed like Malala.
Saba Imtiaz is a freelance journalist based in Karachi, Pakistan, who covers human rights, religious movements, politics and culture. She is the author of the novel Karachi, You're Killing Me!