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  • foreign affairs    May 8 
Malala Yousafzai tells kidnapped Nigerian girls to 'never lose hope'
Getty Images
Getty Images

Malala Yousafzai is calling on the world to take a stand against Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group that kidnapped more than 200 girls in Nigeria three weeks ago.

"We should all stand up together and we should speak," the Pakistani teenager told NBC News. "These girls are my sisters. And I am feeling very sad." Yousafzai, 16, survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012, after she spoke out against the Taliban prohibiting girls from getting an education. She sees many similarities between her case and the situation unfolding today.

"It is what happened in Swat as well," she said. "In Swat we were suffering.... Girls were banned from going to school and banned from going to market, and the same is happening in Nigeria. They were in schools trying to study, thinking about their future, and then suddenly some people came and abducted them."

Yousafzai told NBC News that it is important for people to protest against the abductions in order to bring awareness and hopefully prevent more from happening in the future. "It is my duty that I will speak even if no one is listening to me," she said. "I will continue... until people take action. I have learned from my life when you are speaking from truth, when you are speaking from justice, then no one can defeat you. And this is what I believe in."

Yousafzai has a foundation in her name, and said that she soon plans to focus on education in Nigeria. For now, she has a message for the abducted girls: "Never lose hope because we are with you," she said. --Catherine Garcia

 
 
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