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8 Years After Taliban Shot Her For Going To School, Malala Graduates From Oxford

Malala Yousafzai graduates, malala graduates

At just 11-years-old, Malala Yousafzai became an outspoken activist when the Taliban took over her small northwestern Pakistanian town in 2009. She spoke out about her passion for education—as well as dreams of one day becoming a doctor—and was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize by former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

As Yousafzai’s voice became more and more powerful, she became a symbol of defiance against the Taliban—as well as a target.

When Yousafzai was 14, masked Taliban gunmen attacked her school bus filled with terrified children, and shot her several times in the head and neck. Incredibly, Yousafzai survived the attack and at 22, has just now graduated from the University of Oxford in England, fulfilling her dreams of pursuing an education.

“Hard to express my joy and gratitude right now as I completed my Philosophy, Politics, and Economics degree at Oxford,” she tweeted on Thursday. “I don’t know what’s ahead. For now, it will be Netflix, reading, and sleep.”

Following her attack, a Taliban spokesman confirmed to the New York Times that Yousafzai had indeed been the target, and called her crusade for education rights an “obscenity.”

“She has become a symbol of Western culture in the area; she was openly propagating it,” said the spokesman, implying that if she survived, they would certainly try to kill her again. “Let this be a lesson.”

Plenty of people were happy to wish Yousafzai congratulations on Twitter, in what must be an incredibly proud day for the young activist and her family.

In 2014, following the attack, Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her fight against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.

Stacey Ritzen

Written by Stacey Ritzen