Malala Yousafzai, a 20-year-old female human rights activist, has returned to Pakistan for the first time since being shot by Taliban extremists. She was attacked and shot in the head on a school bus in 2012 because she had been demonstrating for western values and more education for girls. Malala kept a diary about girls’ life under Taliban rule. It was turned over to the BBC and made public.
Yousafzai’s arrival in Pakistan and her itinerary of the four-day visit was kept secret by Pakistani police. Ms Yousafzai said that it had been her wish to come back to Pakistan and speak with ordinary citizens there.
After the attack six years ago Malala Yousafzai was transported to the UK where a bullet was removed from her head. She recovered fully and is now studying at Oxford University.
In 2013 Yousafzai appeared before the United Nations, where she received standing ovations for her courageous action. In 2014 she became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Since then the young activist has been the figurehead of the Malala Fund, an organisation which raises money to help girls and young women in need of education.
Yousafzai’s return to Pakistan has not been welcomed by everyone. Although she has many supporters in her home country Pakistan, the country’s male-dominated society has criticized her for actively fighting for female rights.
Especially fundamentalists and conservative men are against her and have organised hate campaigns on the internet. Many say that women do not need education and should maintain their traditional role in the household.
- actively = here: not just talking but doing something or taking action
- although = while
- appear = here: to hold a speech
- arrival = when you come to a place
- attack = to hurt someone with a weapon
- bullet = small piece of metal that comes out of a gun when you shoot
- citizen = person who lives in a country and has rights there
- courageous = brave
- demonstrate = to protest for or against something in front of many people
- especially = above all
- figurehead = someone who is the leader of a movement or organisation
- fully = completely
- fundamentalist = someone who follows religious laws very strictly
- extremist = someone who has very radical opinions about politics and society
- hate campaign = things that a person does in order to harm someone they don’t like
- human rights activist = a person who fights for basic rights that everyone should have
- in need of = who need
- itinerary = a list of things you want to do or places you want to visit
- maintain = keep up
- make public = publish; show to everybody
- male-dominated society = country where men are more important than women and have more power
- Nobel Peace Prize = prize that is given each year to a person who has done important work to make the world a safer and more peaceful place
- ordinary = normal
- raise = collect
- receive = get
- recover = to get well again
- remove= take out of …
- rule = government
- secret = here: known only to a few people
- standing ovations = people get up and clap their hands loudly to show that they like what you have said or done
- supporter = person who wants to help you and shares your opinions
- Taliban = group that took control of most of Afghanistan in 1997. They are known for following Islam very strictly.
- traditional role = here: what they have always done
- welcome = to be glad about something
- western values = the way people in western countries live and what they think is good or bad