'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Please vote for Malala Yousafzai as Liberal Voice of the Year

Tomorrow is the closing date for Liberal Voice of the Year. For those unfamiliar with the award...

"we launch our search for the Liberal Voice of the Year to find the individual or group which has had the biggest impact on liberalism in the past 12 months. This is the sixth annual award, and as is our tradition, we’re looking beyond the ranks of the Lib Dems to find the greatest liberal who’s not a member of our party"

If you haven't voted yet, could I ask you to click on this link and vote for

Malala Yousafzai: a school student known for her education and women’s rights activism in Pakistan. She was shot in October in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. 

Here's an extract from an excellent BBC review of her campaigning - and the high price she has paid for her efforts.

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai first came to public attention in 2009 when she wrote a BBC diary about life under the Taliban. Now recovering from surgery after being shot by the militants, the campaigner for girls' rights is in the spotlight again.
Malala was 11 when she began writing a diary for BBC Urdu.
Her blogs described life under Taliban rule from her home town of Mingora, in the northwest region of Pakistan she affectionately calls "My Swat".
I am afraid - 3 January 2009
"I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools. Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taliban's edict.
On my way from school to home I heard a man saying 'I will kill you'. I hastened my pace... to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone."
By 2009, the Taliban controlled much of the Swat Valley and applied their austere interpretation of sharia law.
"When the Taliban came to Swat they banned women from going to the market and they banned shopping," Malala told the BBC last year.
"Malala Yousufzai was one of the few brave voices who spoke out", writes The Daily Telegraph's Pakistan correspondent Rob Crilly.
"She did it anonymously - to do otherwise would have brought immediate death. But her blog for the BBC Urdu Service detailing the abuses meant no one could pretend an accommodation with the terrorists was anything other than a deal with the devil."
"Malala doesn't want to play to some western-backed or Taliban-loved stereotype. She shows us that there are voices out there, in Pakistan, that need to be heard, if only to help the country find democracy that is for and from the people, all the people."

As has been recorded, she was ultimately shot by the Taliban, and has only just been released from Hospital (but will remain in Britain while her long term treatment for her terrible injuries will continue).

There are many worthy candidates on the list this year for Liberal Voice of the Year. But none are as brave or as worthy as Malala. Please giver her your support

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