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Wednesday September 4, 2013 MYT 3:25:00 PM
Wednesday September 4, 2013 MYT 3:43:19 PM
by caroline davies
Teenage girl shot by Taliban in Pakistan says pens and books are weapons to defeat terrorism, in seven-minute speech.
MALALA Yousafzai, the teenager shot by the Taliban after speaking out for girls’ rights to education in Pakistan, declared that pens and books were weapons to defeat terrorism as she officially opened a new £188mil (RM960mil) civic library in her adopted home city of Birmingham, Britain.
The 16-year-old, flown from Pakistan to Britain for emergency treatment in October after being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman, told a 1,000-strong crowd outside the library that even “one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world”.
“We must speak up for the children of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan who are suffering from terrorism, poverty, child labour and child trafficking,” she said. “Let us help them through our voice, action and charity. Let us help them to read books and go to school.”
Malala, who will receive the international children’s peace prize this week, came to prominence after the Taliban tried to silence her with a bullet, which grazed her brain. She was flown to Birmingham for surgery and now attends school in the city.
Addressing the crowd as “fellow Brummies”, she said she was honoured to be invited to open the library. “Birmingham is very special for me because it is here that I found myself alive, seven days after I was shot.
“It is now my second home, after my beloved Pakistan. The doctors and nurses of this town worked hard to help me recover. The teachers of this town strived to rehabilitate my educational career, and the great people of this city gave me great moral support.”
She said she had challenged herself to read thousands of books. “Pens and books are the weapons that defeat terrorism. I truly believe the only way we can create global peace is through educating not only our minds, but our hearts and our souls.”
She used her seven-minute speech to also call for peace and development in Nigeria, Syria and Somalia.
The library, located in Centenary Square, has a distinctive skin of metal hoops and replaces the city’s nearby Brutalist central library, which opened in 1974. More than three million people are expected to use it in its first year.
Covering 31,000sq m and housing Birmingham’s civic archives, the 10-storey library has more than a million books, including 128 volumes printed before 1501, an outdoor amphitheatre and links to the Birmingham Repertory theatre.
The largest public building of its kind in Europe, the new library was designed by the Delft-based architects Mecanoo. While undoubtedly quiet on the inside, it is exuberant and loud on the outside. Resembling stacked gift boxes, the gold and black tiered building has been nicknamed the “Vuitton library” by some critics, while others hail it as imaginative.
The building it replaces, the John Madin-designed central library, is to be demolished. Allegedly inspired by Boston’s city hall, the concrete-clad inverted ziggurat was originally intended to be covered in marble, and was once described by Prince Charles as looking like “a place where books are incinerated, not kept”. There had been calls for it to be listed. – Guardian News & Media
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Lifestyle, Malala Yousafzai, Birmingham, library, terrorism, pens, books, opening
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