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  • In many patriarchal societies and tribal societies,

  • fathers are usually known by their sons,

  • but I'm one of the few fathers

  • who is known by his daughter,

  • and I am proud of it.

  • (Applause)

  • Malala started her campaign for education

  • and stood for her rights in 2007,

  • and when her efforts were honored in 2011,

  • and she was given the national youth peace prize,

  • and she became a very famous,

  • very popular young girl of her country.

  • Before that, she was my daughter,

  • but now I am her father.

  • Ladies and gentlemen,

  • if we glance to human history,

  • the story of women

  • is the story of injustice,

  • inequality,

  • violence and exploitation.

  • You see,

  • in patriarchal societies,

  • right from the very beginning,

  • when a girl is born,

  • her birth is not celebrated.

  • She is not welcomed,

  • neither by father nor by mother.

  • The neighborhood comes

  • and commiserates with the mother,

  • and nobody congratulates the father.

  • And a mother is very uncomfortable

  • for having a girl child.

  • When she gives birth to the first girl child,

  • first daughter, she is sad.

  • When she gives birth to the second daughter,

  • she is shocked,

  • and in the expectation of a son,

  • when she gives birth to a third daughter,

  • she feels guilty like a criminal.

  • Not only the mother suffers,

  • but the daughter, the newly born daughter,

  • when she grows old,

  • she suffers too.

  • At the age of five,

  • while she should be going to school,

  • she stays at home

  • and her brothers are admitted in a school.

  • Until the age of 12, somehow,

  • she has a good life.

  • She can have fun.

  • She can play with her friends in the streets,

  • and she can move around in the streets

  • like a butterfly.

  • But when she enters her teens,

  • when she becomes 13 years old,

  • she is forbidden to go out of her home

  • without a male escort.

  • She is confined under the four walls of her home.

  • She is no more a free individual.

  • She becomes the so-called honor

  • of her father and of her brothers

  • and of her family,

  • and if she transgresses

  • the code of that so-called honor,

  • she could even be killed.

  • And it is also interesting that this so-called

  • code of honor,

  • it does not only affect the life of a girl,

  • it also affects the life

  • of the male members of the family.

  • I know a family of seven sisters and one brother,

  • and that one brother,

  • he has migrated to the Gulf countries,

  • to earn a living for his seven sisters

  • and parents,

  • because he thinks that it will be humiliating

  • if his seven sisters learn a skill

  • and they go out of the home

  • and earn some livelihood.

  • So this brother,

  • he sacrifices the joys of his life

  • and the happiness of his sisters

  • at the altar of so-called honor.

  • And there is one more norm

  • of the patriarchal societies

  • that is called obedience.

  • A good girl is supposed to be

  • very quiet, very humble

  • and very submissive.

  • It is the criteria.

  • The role model good girl should be very quiet.

  • She is supposed to be silent

  • and she is supposed to accept the decisions

  • of her father and mother

  • and the decisions of elders,

  • even if she does not like them.

  • If she is married to a man she doesn't like

  • or if she is married to an old man,

  • she has to accept,

  • because she does not want to be dubbed

  • as disobedient.

  • If she is married very early,

  • she has to accept.

  • Otherwise, she will be called disobedient.

  • And what happens at the end?

  • In the words of a poetess,

  • she is wedded, bedded,

  • and then she gives birth to more sons and daughters.

  • And it is the irony of the situation

  • that this mother,

  • she teaches the same lesson of obedience

  • to her daughter

  • and the same lesson of honor to her sons.

  • And this vicious cycle goes on, goes on.

  • Ladies and gentlemen,

  • this plight of millions of women

  • could be changed

  • if we think differently,

  • if women and men think differently,

  • if men and women in the tribal and patriarchal societies

  • in the developing countries,

  • if they can break a few norms

  • of family and society,

  • if they can abolish the discriminatory laws

  • of the systems in their states,

  • which go against the basic human rights

  • of the women.

  • Dear brothers and sisters, when Malala was born,

  • and for the first time,

  • believe me,

  • I don't like newborn children, to be honest,

  • but when I went and I looked into her eyes,

  • believe me,

  • I got extremely honored.

  • And long before she was born,

  • I thought about her name,

  • and I was fascinated with a heroic

  • legendary freedom fighter in Afghanistan.

  • Her name was Malalai of Maiwand,

  • and I named my daughter after her.

  • A few days after Malala was born,

  • my daughter was born,

  • my cousin came --

  • and it was a coincidence --

  • he came to my home

  • and he brought a family tree,

  • a family tree of the Yousafzai family,

  • and when I looked at the family tree,

  • it traced back to 300 years of our ancestors.

  • But when I looked, all were men,

  • and I picked my pen,

  • drew a line from my name,

  • and wrote, "Malala."

  • And when she grow old,

  • when she was four and a half years old,

  • I admitted her in my school.

  • You will be asking, then, why should I mention about

  • the admission of a girl in a school?

  • Yes, I must mention it.

  • It may be taken for granted in Canada,

  • in America, in many developed countries,

  • but in poor countries,

  • in patriarchal societies, in tribal societies,

  • it's a big event for the life of girl.

  • Enrollment in a school means

  • recognition of her identity and her name.

  • Admission in a school means

  • that she has entered the world of dreams

  • and aspirations

  • where she can explore her potentials

  • for her future life.

  • I have five sisters,

  • and none of them could go to school,

  • and you will be astonished,

  • two weeks before,

  • when I was filling out the Canadian visa form,

  • and I was filling out the family part of the form,

  • I could not recall

  • the surnames of some of my sisters.

  • And the reason was

  • that I have never, never seen the names

  • of my sisters written on any document.

  • That was the reason that

  • I valued my daughter.

  • What my father could not give to my sisters

  • and to his daughters,

  • I thought I must change it.

  • I used to appreciate the intelligence

  • and the brilliance of my daughter.

  • I encouraged her to sit with me

  • when my friends used to come.

  • I encouraged her to go with me to different meetings.

  • And all these good values,

  • I tried to inculcate in her personality.

  • And this was not only she, only Malala.

  • I imparted all these good values

  • to my school, girl students and boy students as well.

  • I used education for emancipation.

  • I taught my girls,

  • I taught my girl students,

  • to unlearn the lesson of obedience.

  • I taught my boy students

  • to unlearn the lesson of so-called pseudo-honor.

  • Dear brothers and sisters,

  • we were striving for more rights for women,

  • and we were struggling to have more,

  • more and more space for the women in society.

  • But we came across a new phenomenon.

  • It was lethal to human rights

  • and particularly to women's rights.

  • It was called Talibanization.

  • It means a complete negation

  • of women's participation

  • in all political, economical and social activities.

  • Hundreds of schools were lost.

  • Girls were prohibited from going to school.

  • Women were forced to wear veils

  • and they were stopped from going to the markets.

  • Musicians were silenced,

  • girls were flogged

  • and singers were killed.

  • Millions were suffering,

  • but few spoke,

  • and it was the most scary thing

  • when you have all around such people

  • who kill and who flog,

  • and you speak for your rights.

  • It's really the most scary thing.

  • At the age of 10,

  • Malala stood, and she stood for the right

  • of education.

  • She wrote a diary for the BBC blog,

  • she volunteered herself

  • for the New York Times documentaries,

  • and she spoke from every platform she could.

  • And her voice was the most powerful voice.

  • It spread like a crescendo all around the world.

  • And that was the reason the Taliban

  • could not tolerate her campaign,

  • and on October 9 2012,

  • she was shot in the head at point blank range.

  • It was a doomsday for my family and for me.

  • The world turned into a big black hole.

  • While my daughter was

  • on the verge of life and death,

  • I whispered into the ears of my wife,

  • "Should I be blamed for what happened

  • to my daughter and your daughter?"

  • And she abruptly told me,

  • "Please don't blame yourself.

  • You stood for the right cause.

  • You put your life at stake

  • for the cause of truth,

  • for the cause of peace,

  • and for the cause of education,

  • and your daughter in inspired from you

  • and she joined you.

  • You both were on the right path

  • and God will protect her."

  • These few words meant a lot to me,

  • and I didn't ask this question again.

  • When Malala was in the hospital,

  • and she was going through the severe pains

  • and she had had severe headaches

  • because her facial nerve was cut down,

  • I used to see a dark shadow