Obamas welcome courageous Malala at the White House

By AFP
Published: October 12, 2013
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Malala (c) listens to US President Barack Obama (R) in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday as Michelle Obama (2nd L) and Malia (L) look on. PHOTO: WHITE HOUSE

Malala (c) listens to US President Barack Obama (R) in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday as Michelle Obama (2nd L) and Malia (L) look on. PHOTO: WHITE HOUSE

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and daughter Malia welcomed schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai to the Oval Office on Friday.

Malala, 16, sat with the Obamas in the iconic office and possibly sat in the very chair that may be occupied by prime minister Nawaz Sharif when he visits the US President in a fortnight’s time on October 26. The mood then is expected to be much more intense.

In a statement from White House, the Obamas hailed Malala, 16, for her “inspiring and passionate” work on behalf of girls in Pakistan.

“The United States joins with the Pakistani people and so many around the world to celebrate Malala’s courage and her determination to promote the right of all girls to attend school and realise their dreams,” the statement said.

“We salute Malala’s efforts to help make these dreams come true.”

Malala, who’s running mates the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were honoured by the Nobel committee for the Peace Prize on Friday, was hosted at the White House by the 2009 Peace Prize winner Obama.

Promoting freedom of education for girls, Malala sat in the Oval Office whose walls was populated by portraits of former US Presidents and bust of rights activists. These included George Washington who signed the Declaration of US Independence, Abraham Lincoln who as US President signed the Proclamation Emancipation to free slaves, and Martin Luther King Jr who championed racial equality.

The 16 year old, who survived being shot in the head and neck by the Taliban in Swat last year, shared some this violent past with the leaders. US President George Washington was shot at in 1755, but despite bullets tearing through his hat, he escaped without a wound. Abraham Lincoln was shot in the back of the head on April 15, 1865 at the Ford Theatre. Martin Luther King Jr was shot in the face and neck from distance on April 4, 1968 as he stood on the balcony of his hotel.

Obama signs Day of the Girl proclamation

Earlier on Friday, Obama signed a proclamation whereby the US formally recognised October 11 as the “International Day of the Girl” and reaffirmed the US’ commitment to girls education.

In the proclamation, Obama notes that there is a girl in an unknown country who will grow to spark the next great scientific revolution, “but only if she gets a shot at a higher education.”

“Over the past few decades, the global community has made great progress in increasing opportunity and equality for women and girls, but far too many girls face futures limited by violence, social norms, educational barriers, and even national law. “

The proclamation calls on Americans to observe the International Day of the Girl with programs, ceremonies, and activities that advance equality and opportunity for girls everywhere.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Saad
    Oct 12, 2013 - 8:01AM

    “I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact,” she said.

    ET Please update your news piece with this quote of hers.

    Taken from
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/11/obama-malala-yousafzain4086585.html

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  • Humanity
    Oct 12, 2013 - 8:10AM

    Awesome!

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  • yousafhaque
    Oct 12, 2013 - 8:12AM

    Thank you America for acknowledging and welcoming the PRIDE OF PAKISTAN,Malala Yousafzai

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  • incognito 59
    Oct 12, 2013 - 8:15AM

    At least she got to visit white house and meet the Pres un like our distinguished PM!

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  • mutali
    Oct 12, 2013 - 8:23AM

    Malala is no more a child now, her words became headlines y is’nt she speaking a word aganist drone strikes
    pakistani’s have no reason to love her

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  • Narejo
    Oct 12, 2013 - 8:24AM

    Malala is the pride of the nation. May she go from strength to strength and continue to be a symbol of hope for Pakistanis.

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  • AK
    Oct 12, 2013 - 8:35AM

    how about wishing to be the next president of USA, MALALA .

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  • Last Word
    Oct 12, 2013 - 9:07AM

    ET, please stay safe after publishing the photograph of Malala with the US President as TTP would be really furious and even go mad on seeing its sworn enemies sitting side by side.

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  • Sohraab
    Oct 12, 2013 - 9:39AM

    Malala is doing a fantastic job, not only for the Girls education but also projecting a Positive image of Pakistan to the world. Our Prayers are with you Malala.

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  • ali ahmed
    Oct 12, 2013 - 9:47AM

    it seem she is more powerful than our Prime Minister

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  • Voice of Gilgit
    Oct 12, 2013 - 9:53AM

    She is the one who first time raise voice against Drone in such a high level…she said spend millions on education not on war equipments. Yes Malala we can defeat Taliban Mind set..

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  • Water Bottle
    Oct 12, 2013 - 9:56AM

    Come on Obama!

    Malala has eaten a lot of Kashmiri apples while she was in Pakistan and you gave her more apples?

    Why didn’t you give her a double steaked cheese burger?

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  • Saad
    Oct 12, 2013 - 10:37AM

    @mutali:
    She spoke against drones. Read my first comment.

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  • Baba Ji
    Oct 12, 2013 - 10:57AM

    Ah .. those fresh apples !!! Jonathans I guess …

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  • Umer
    Oct 12, 2013 - 11:07AM

    I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism.

    Malala has lost her mind.

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  • Common-Sense
    Oct 12, 2013 - 11:18AM

    ‘gets a shot at a higher education’. Pun intended?

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  • Mazhar.A.Khan
    Oct 12, 2013 - 5:09PM

    Let’s be proud of Malala & support her. She is Pakistani, our daughter.

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  • unbelievable
    Oct 12, 2013 - 5:55PM

    She is the first Pakistani to meet or even talk to Obama since he informed Zardari of OBL death – kudos to Malala.

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  • Sunya
    Oct 12, 2013 - 6:05PM

    @Sohraab:

    I’d correct you there LOL! You Pakistanis seriously dunno! I’ll tell you what my principle says:”There are girls that want to study and get shot…” Well people are blessed to have education in UK but there are definitely people out there that get brilliant education from Pakistan that includes both my aunts…!!

    Also a Pakistani British Celebrity says:‘They don’t. I went to school in Pakistan. I was not shot. There’s no justification for what happened to Malala but not every girl who goes to school gets shot.’

    People in Pakistan say that we the educated support Malala but I think those people going ‘Malala Malala’ may be naive rather than as far as education is concerned..You guys seriously GOT NO CLUE how she is representing as far as Pakistan is concerned so a big LOL!

    .I ain’t a Malala fan but I think she is brave and she has struggled to survive and stand tall once again so she is a source of inspiration and she is only 16 so she can’t change the world…There are definitely many BRITISHERS helping swat girls and stuff.. So I support these Britishers and Uk making efforts as far as Pakistan is concerned they can’t even protect one Malala who now lives in UK cuz PK also fails to give basic education rights to people like Malala or so it seems?!…

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  • Sunya
    Oct 12, 2013 - 6:16PM

    @Sohraab:
    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

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  • Oct 12, 2013 - 7:24PM

    Interesting comments…

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  • naeem khan Manhatttan,Ks
    Oct 12, 2013 - 8:38PM

    It is heart warming and a matter of pride for Pakistanis specially the Pukhtuns that a 16 years old girl stands before the world and say what ever is on her mind. She stood up for education even before she was so cowardly shot but our prayers are with her all the way. She is inspiration to millions of young girls all over the world, here in the US, some of the schools are showing her speech at the UN to inspire the young students, way to go Malala, you are inspiration to me, my kids and grand kids.

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  • Faqir Khan
    Oct 12, 2013 - 10:55PM

    In Swat, some critics accused Ms. Yousafzai’s father, Ziauddin, of using his daughter to drum up publicity and of maligning Pashtun culture. Others said the intense publicity had cast their district in a negative light, overshadowing the good work of other Pakistanis in education.

    “I am against Malala. The media has projected Malala as a heroine of the West. But what has she done for Swat?”

    – Muhammad Ayaz, 22, a trader who runs a small store beside Ms. Yousafzai’s old school in Mingora, the main town in the Swat Valley.

    “Taliban attack on Ms. Yousafzai was a TV drama. How can a girl survive after being shot in the head? It doesn’t make sense.”

    – Muhammad Asim, a student standing outside the gates of Punjab University in the eastern city of Lahore

    “14,000 girls and 17,000 boys had recently started school after an intensive door-to-door enrollment campaign led by local teachers. The threat from the Taliban was exaggerated. I have been working for female education for 25 years, and never received a threat”

    – Dilshad Begum, the District Education Officer for Swat

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/12/world/asia/pakistanis-cant-decide-is-malala-yousafzai-a-heroine-or-western-stooge.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&smid=fb-nytimesRecommend

  • sam
    Oct 13, 2013 - 4:21AM

    @Umer:
    Are you suggesting that drone attacks haven’t incited anger amongst the residents of those areas, and that the taliban don’t capitalize on that to recruit people for their cause?

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  • harkol
    Oct 13, 2013 - 8:32AM

    @mutali:

    Apparently she did. She told Obama Drone strikes are counter productive.

    But, even if she didn’t – why should she? Her focus is education for all, and equal rights to women. It isn’t possible for her to work on every ill in the world!

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  • Umer
    Oct 13, 2013 - 7:43PM

    @sam:

    Are you suggesting that drone attacks haven’t incited anger amongst the residents of those areas, and that the taliban don’t capitalize on that to recruit people for their cause?

    Of course it would incite hatred among those who harbour in their homes those terrorists who got killed but should we take the anger of these terrorist supporters seriously? No. Drones are the only method used successfully against these dangerous terrorists. If you don’t want drone dropped on your home don’t support the terrorists.

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  • Faqir Khan
    Oct 13, 2013 - 7:57PM

    Saint Malala was cleverly created by some of the top media and Political experts in the West. We know they did it partly due to the personal greed of her own father and partly to legitimise an unjust war that the West has lost. The fourth war against Afghan tribesmen in 160 years. But how did they manage to turn this child into a Saint.

    Syndrome of the West:

    1. Edelman, the world’s biggest public relations firm which lists the likes of Starbucks and Microsoft as clients, handles her PR. They have set up a 5 person “Malala Press Office” in London for the purpose;

    2. McKinsey & Co, the giant management consultancy firm that advises governments, advises her on every step she has to take;

    3. James Lundie, a well-known speechwriter, and former press secretary to Lib-Dem leader Lord Ashdown, is assisting her in speaking assignments around the world;

    4. A Malala Fund has been established for promoting education of girls in Swat. More than £ 2 million have so far been collected, with Angelina Jolie donating $200,000 and undisclosed amounts from other donors;

    5. Shiza Shahid of McKinsey Consulting heads the Malala Fund, with Megan Smith, vice-president of Microsoft on its board. Shiza Shahid is related to Malala’s father;

    6. Her autobiography “I AM MALALA”, co-authored by Christina Lamb, came out last Monday, to coincide with the announcement of the Nobel Prize;

    7. £ 1million is the advance she got for her book, which is expected to be a best-seller;

    8. Her nomination for the Nobel has been proposed by the prime ministers of the UK, Canada, Norway, and Sweden;

    *9. Her portrait by Jonathan Yeo, who has done official portraits of British Prime Ministers and Duke of Edinburgh, now hangs in Britain’s National Portrait Gallery, London;

    10. The Queen has invited her to tea at the Buckingham Palace;

    11. There’s a 3 week waiting list of journalists who want to interview her;

    12. Mr Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister is her handler.

    And it all started when her father was hired by The New York Times, in 2009, for a story to debunk you know who in Swat……Recommend

  • Faqir Khan
    Oct 14, 2013 - 4:22AM

    The history, the context for power to be, is a deliberate and systematic effort. They use history as a tool for demoralizing, deceiving and entangling those ruled. History and events are twisted, falsified and misinterpreted on a grand scale.

    Nothing has changed in past 60 years and they will not allow any change in next 6000 years, if their logic, their view, their context, their history in the only option.

    I am no one and I am everyone. why should I be silent while tyranny and injustice prevail with 99.5 % every where. I am here trying to eliminate them and their ideas, their context, their history.

    The act of unlearning is the untangling of the knots we have created in our mind. These knots create barriers for new information, new ideas and new context. Ideas can grow, change or be extinguished if need be when we are not attached to them.Recommend

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