On October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman boarded a bus in the Swat district of Pakistan. His mission was to assassinate a 15-year-old schoolgirl named Malala Yousafzai. Her crime, in their eyes, was insisting on the right of girls to be educated. In a speech she had given in Peshawar in 2008, she had fearlessly asked, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”
Though seriously wounded, she survived the attempted murder and quickly became one of the most famous people in the world. Yousafzai’s courage inspired an international outcry against this long-time violent campaign to deprive young women of a basic right, and more than three million Pakistanis petitioned for a Right to Education Bill that eventually became the law. Two years after Yousafzai nearly died she was identified as a co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest Nobel laureate of all time.
A broad range of international celebrities and distinguished public officials spoke out in outrage after the Taliban’s attempt to suppress Yousafzai’s voice. Among them were such diverse figures as Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Madonna, and Barack Obama.