This Friday, the Nobel committee announces the 2013 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. As far as global opinion is concerned, the award is a 16-year-old Pakistani girl’s to lose.
Long before she became a global symbol of children’s education, Malala Yousufzai was one girl squirming under the thumb of the Pakistani Taliban, whose draconian interpretation of Islamic law saw girls’ schools closed in her hometown of Mingora in early 2009. In a frank and witty blog published on the BBC Urdu website under a pseudonym, Malala, then 11-years-old, chafed at the new regulations that limited her freedom, stopped her from learning and kept her from seeing her friends. The pseudonym, of course, was meant to protect her identity, but it was not long before her private persona—the outspoken daughter of a prominent school administrator—meshed with her public one, and she took her demand that a girls’