Christiane Amanpour interviewed Malala Yousafzai about overcoming tragedy and her plans for the future. The interview is part of a program titled The Bravest Girl in the World, which will air on October 13. Throughout the interview, the 16-year-old discusses the oppression she experienced living under Taliban rule. Malala and her family resided in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. When Malala was 10 years old, the Taliban began overtaking the valley. She explains that they “arrived in the night just like vampires.” Upon their arrival, the Taliban began imposing strict guidelines and rules. Many of the guidelines specifically apply to women and girls. Females are forbidden from rising to positions of authority, and young girls are prohibited from attending school. As reported by CNN, the Taliban congratulated families who kept their daughters at home, often equating their compliance with entry into heaven. Malala was disturbed by the strict rules. She enjoyed school, and was not willing to back down. She also continued listening to music, which was strictly forbidden. Christiane Amanpour said Malala’s unwillingness to back down was incredibly courageous. The child was facing harsh punishment, even death, for her refusal to follow the rules. By the age of 11, Malala was actively participating in a BBC blog, detailing the Taliban’s oppression of her people. Unfortunately, her vocal criticism soon made her a target.
On October 9, 2012, the young girl was shot in the head and neck by Taliban assassins. Although she eventually recovered, she will never forget the price she paid in her fight for freedom. Malala is not done fighting. She wants to see teachers trained, schools built, and girls completing their education.
She says she thanks God for saving her life and allowing her to help others:
“My brain is saved, my spinal cord is saved, everything is fine. I am alive. And I still can talk. I can smile.”
Christiane Amanpou’s special program includes Malala’s family, the winner of a national essay contest, and other students who are admire the 16-year-old’s unwillingness to give up. [Image via Flickr]