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Malala calls out world leaders on Gaza

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai has slammed world leaders for their apparent silence over the ongoing killing of children and innocent civilians in Gaza by Israeli forces, describing them as powerless.

Speaking at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port-of-Spain, on Thursday, the 17-year-old, ranked in 2013 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, said: “I ask the international community—the leaders—why are they silent at this stage?”

Raising her voice, she repeated: “Why are they silent?” 

“They need to stand up. They need to speak and they need to find solutions for all these conflicts, including the Gaza and Israel conflict.”

She added: “It seems like the world leaders are powerless or they don’t want to do anything.”

Malala was speaking to a packed audience that comprised acting President Timothy Hamel-Smith, government ministers, opposition members, members of state boards, and representatives of various organisations from throughout T&T.

Saying it was her duty as an education activist to speak for the voiceless, Malala made a passionate plea on behalf of the children of Gaza. “I use this platform to speak up for my brothers and sisters and every innocent civilian in Gaza that this war should be ended. They should not be killed anymore.”

She added: “Every day you would hear of many children dying…many innocent civilians dying. What is their crime? What is the crime of that child who gets killed in a rocket fire?”

In a clear attempt to be heard, she repeated: “What is the crime of that child? What has he done?”

She said she stood for peace and freedom and called on the international community to do the same. “I do not want to see these children and innocent people be killed anymore. We are here to stand up for peace. We are here to stand up for their rights to be safe and to be free to live and we ask the international community to do something about it,” Malala said, receiving rapturous applause from the audience.

At the post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran called on Hamas and Israel to stop hostilities toward each other. In expressing concern for the rising death toll as a result of the fighting, he said his ministry planned to contact the Israeli Ambassador to T&T, based in New York, to push for an immediate ceasefire.

The upsurge in fighting began on July 8. So far, the number of Palestinians killed has crossed 1,400—80 per cent of them were civilians—while on the Israeli side, 56 soldiers and three civilians have been killed.


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