The teenager from Pakistan led a campaign for the right to education for children which brought her into conflict with the Taliban, who then shot her in the head as she travelled on her school bus in 2012.
Following her slow recovery from that assassination attempt, she has continued her campaign – bringing it to the entire world through personal appearances in which she reaffirms her commitment to human rights.
This included an appearance on the prime-ratings Daily Show with Jon Stewart in the US this week. Her poised and compassionate response to Stewart’s question about how she felt when she found on that she was on a Taliban hitlist left him uncharacteristically speechless and prompted applause from the studio audience.
This is what she said:
I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’
But then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’
Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well.’ And I will tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.’
Watch it from 0:40: