Malala talks to Letterman about education, attempt on life
Pakistan’s Nobel laureate Malala Yousufzai sat down with late night show legend David Letterman for the third instalment of his original Netflix show, My Guest Needs No Introduction, which was aired on Friday.
The episode titled ‘You Know, She Has a Nobel Peace Prize’ opened with shots of Oxford University where Malala introduces herself as a student ambassador of Lady Margaret Hall or LMH as she calls it. As she confidently talks to potential undergraduate students about the first women’s college at the university, former late night show host David Letterman, in his typical manner, tries to make awkward small talk with the students.
Part of the interview, which took place in New York, focused on Malala’s mission to ensure education for girls everywhere, Pakhtun culture, honour killings, Swat, her plans to return to Mingora, the Taliban, the importance of forgiveness and US President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.
Talking about what happened the day Malala was shot at, Letterman asks her what would have happened had she not survived the Taliban’s attempt to kill her.
The brave 20-year-old activist said: “I would hope that many people would have stood up and stood up against extremists, against not just the extremists, not just the people, but against the ideology.
“Because that’s what we have to fight against — the ideology that exists there that does not accept women as equal to men [and] that does not accept women to have the right to education.
“We did not expect that they would target kill a child but they did.”
She said that she did not remember much of what happened that day “which is a good thing... it seems like a story, a fable to me”.
Discussing the day after the assassination attempt, she said: “I found it strange that I woke up in a different country and people were speaking in English and doctors were moving around and nurses and I just said what’s happening and was completely shocked...because before that all I remembered was sitting with my friends in the school bus.”
As they discussed a Pakhtun proverb about forgiveness, Malala said: “The best revenge is forgiveness...I forgive the people who tried to attack me because that’s the best revenge I can have. The person who actually attacked me was a young boy...similar age as me and he thought he was doing the right thing and was targeting this person who was evil, and like he was doing a good job. I think we really just need to help people...because they are people, just like us.”
On why education is important, Malala said that world leaders needed to stop ignoring education. “These leaders, they talk about eradicating extremism and poverty and then they ignore education...That is the first thing you need to do...Give education and let the future generations pursue their dreams then contribute to their countries and economy,” she said.
Late on Friday, she tweeted: “I loved talking with the ‘really young’ Dave #Letterman — and I hope you enjoy our conversation too!”
Mr Letterman’s Netflix show has monthly instalments. Before Malala he spoke to former US President Barack Obama and actor George Clooney.