Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 December 2014, 23:08 by GxMediaMalala and Satyarthi call for education while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize
Oslo, Dec 10 (EFE).- Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, aged 17, and the president of the Global March Against Child Labor, Kailash Satyarthi of India, defended the right of all children to have access to education while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday in the Norwegian capital.
“Why is it that countries we call strong are so powerful in creating wars but so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is too easy, but giving books is so hard? Why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so difficult?” asked Yousafzai during the ceremony held on Wednesday at Oslo’s City Hall.
Satyarthi, on the other hand, criticized the “silence” and “neutrality” of those who do not speak up for children, while defending the globalization of a “transformative compassion that leads to justice, equality and freedom” and calling for another “global march from slavery to liberty and from violence to peace.”
“I refuse to accept that the world is so poor, when just one week of global spending on armies is enough to bring all of our children into classrooms,” the Indian activist declared.
Although Satyarthi praised the progress achieved in the last few decades in aspects such as the reduction of child labor by one third, or the reduction in the number of children who do not attend school by half, he called for urgent collective action, asking governments to invest more in education and corporations to bear more responsibility.
“Whose children are they who stitch the footballs, yet have never played with one? They are our children. Whose children are they who mine stones and minerals? They are our children. Whose children are they who harvest cocoa, yet do not know the taste of chocolate? They are our children,” Satyarthi said.
The subject of education was tackled by Yousafzai in her speech as well, who described it as “a blessing of life, and one of its necessities,” while devoting part of her speech to recounting the near-fatal attack she suffered two years ago at the hands of Taliban militias in Pakistan for defending the right of girls to an education.
“I had two options; one was to remain silent and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up,” said Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner since its inception in 1901.
“I am not a lone voice, I am many. I am Shazia. I am Kainat Riaz. I am Kainat Somro. I am Mezon. I am Amina. I am those 66 million girls who are out of school,” Yousafzai asserted. In her acceptance speech she also quoted the Quran and mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
Yousafzai decided to allocate part of the eight million kroner award ($1.1 million) to help build schools through her foundation, especially in her home region of the Swat Valley.
The Head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, pointed out that Satyarthi has contributed to the rescue of more than 80,000 children from exploitation, while Malala Yousafzai’s courage is unfathomable.