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Wednesday, December 10, 2014, Agrahayan 26, 1421, Safar 16, 1436 Hijr

Malala, Satyarthi accept Nobel peace prize
Observer Online Desk
Published : Wednesday, 10 December, 2014,  Time : 8:55 PM,  View Count : 9
Oslo: Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel laureate, received the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 on Wednesday, sharing it with India's Kailash Satyarthi for their work on promoting child rights in the troubled sub-continent, where millions are deprived of their childhood and education.

"Yousafzai and Satyarthi are precisely the people whom Alfred Nobel in his will calls 'champions of peace'," Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjorn Jagland said in his speech before awarding them the prize.

"A young girl and a somewhat older man, one from Pakistan and one from India, one Muslim, the other Hindu; both symbols of what the world needs: more unity. Fraternity between the nations," he added.

They received the Nobel medal which is 18 carat green gold plated with 24 carat gold and weighs around 175 grams. They will share US$1.1 million prize money.

Noting that violence and repression cannot be justified in any religion, Jagland said Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism protect life and cannot be used to take lives.

Speaking at the Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo Malala said: "Why is it that countries which we call strong are so powerful in creating wars but are so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy, but giving books is so hard?"

Raising her voice in the silent room, where she was given a rousing standing ovation at both the beginning and end of her speech, she added: "We are living in the modern age and we believe that nothing is impossible. We have reached the moon 45 years ago, and maybe we will soon land on Mars. Then, in this 21st century we must be able to give every child a quality education."

At the glittering ceremony, attended by dignitaries from around the world including the Norwegian royal family but not the prime ministers of India or Pakistan, Malala was joined by young female activists from around the world.

"I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls," she said, pointing to her "sisters" in the crowd.

She joked that although she was only 5ft 2in tall--in heels--she was not a lone voice. "I am many [...] I am those 66 million girls who are deprived of education – and today I am not raising my voice, it is the voice of those 66 million girls," she said.

"Sometimes people like to ask me, why should girls go to school? Why is it important for them? But I think the more important question is: why shouldn't they? Why shouldn’t they have this right?"

Malala, now 17, became the youngest winner of the prize after the Nobel committee acknowledged her "heroic struggle" for girls' right to an education. She was shot by a Taliban gunman in 2012 after drawing attention to her own plight and the plight of girls like her, to get an education.

Satyarthi's NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement) prides itself on liberating over 80,000 children from bonded labour in factories and workshops across India.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) there are about 168 million child labourers globally. There are roughly 60 million child labourers in India alone.

Speaking after receiving the award, Satyarthi asked audience to feel the child inside them and said the crime against children has no place in a civilised society.

“Children are questioning our inaction and watching our action,” he said, adding that all religion teach to take care of children.

Famed Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Indian musician Amjad Ali Khan performed at the award ceremony.

Pakistan’s former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was among those present on the occasion.

Reuters/The Guardian/ZA

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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