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Tag Archives: #laureates

#Laureates: Meet the winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

As the sound of gunfire erupted along the international border between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that this year's Nobel Peace Prize will be shared between a teenage Pakistani education activist and an Indian children's rights campaigner.

People in Malala's hometown of Mingora in Pakistan's beautiful and restive Swat valley, celebrated the fact that a young woman from their conservative society had won such a prestigious honour.

"This is a moment of great honour for us, and the people of Swat and the people of Pakistan," said Tariq Khan, a medical official, told Reuters.

Malala's success could bring real change to a region where women are expected to keep silent and stay behind closed doors. 

Change may be slow, but Malala's win is bound to inspire girls in the region to pursue education and become independent.

Just a few years ago, the region was overrun by Taliban insurgents who tried to impose strict Islamic rule and ban women from seeking education.  Eventually, the Pakistani army drove them away, but tensions are still high in the strategic region.

Under the Taliban, teenaged Malala kept an anonymous blog describing her experiences under the austere Islamist regime, calling on other girls to study and develop their own opinions.

"The Taliban want to imprison women in homes. They don't want their faces to be seen, they don't want women to make their mark," said Aziz Ullah, a store owner in Mingora.

"Malala said, 'No. women will not sit at home. They will go out, they will study, they will do something big.' So they shot her. And I know they will try to do it again, now that she has won this big award."

Malala shot to global prominence when she was shot by Taliban gunmen as she made her way to school.

She was later flown for specialist treatment to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where she now resides, unable to return to Mingora because of threats by the Taliban to kill her and her family. 

The current chief of the Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, was the one who ordered the 2012 attack against her.

Despite its conservative reputation, most people in the region want their daughters to go to school.

"I have sent all my daughters and grand-daughters to school.  Why would I be against Malala?  Swatis are a very proud people who have always believed in education", said Akal Zada, a restaurant owner.

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