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Honours list

Still only 15-years-old, Malala Yousafzai, whose face is now familiar to the world as a symbol of struggle against the Taliban and as a crusader for the right of all girls to education, has been nominated as one of 259 candidates in the running for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The award is possibly the most prestigious honour in the world. The Nobel Institute announced on Monday in Oslo that the list of nominees includes 209 individuals and 50 organisations. Though the names of those on the list are not made public for 50 years as per tradition, and the name of the candidate for the award for 2013 will be made public only in October this year, Malala Yousafzai and former US president Bill Clinton are known to figure on it.

The nomination of Malala is a huge honour – for her and for Pakistan. What is unfortunate is that she suffered a bullet pumped into her skull, its force causing shattered bones, before gaining the recognition she now enjoys. Perhaps we should question if fame and a prize are more important to Malala than the health she still struggles for, having lost hearing in one ear among other damage. Some experts also say that a Nobel prize gained at such a young age may burden the teenager for life; others disagree arguing she is the front-running candidate, given her multiple contributions – to education, to the battle against militancy and for her bravery. The actual prize, even if it does come Malala’s way, is still a long way off and far from certain. Russian and other eastern European dissidents also on the list are pegged as favourites by many. But at home, the Malala story should force us to reflect about where we have gone wrong. How have we become a country where school girls are shot for seeking the right to study? And why do we continue to allow militants to unleash such terrible horrors? These are factors we must think about. Malala’s courage should help us find the strength to fight the battle she has started to help make our country a place free of fear.

Source: The News

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