When Malala Yousafzai was announced as the winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, a great many people — myself included — had trouble imaging a more deserving candidate. Both through high-profile campaigning efforts and the low-key, matter-of-fact heroism evident throughout Malala's young life, she's a striking and worthy global ambassador. And now, according to a press release from the Nobel Peace Center, a key item from her history will be publicly presented at her exhibit: Malala's bloody-stained school uniform will be on display, and the sight of them is somehow both gruesome and affirming at once.
If you're wondering why Malala's in a position to have years-old, blood-stained school clothes on display, it's because she's kept the uniform she was wearing during the incident which changed her life forever, and catapulted her into the role of an inspirational, internationally hailed women's rights icon. In 2012, while on a bus to return her home from a school exam, the then 15-year-old Malala was the victim of an assassination attempt by the Pakistani Taliban. The Taliban were incensed by her public support for girls' and women's education, a cause that the terroristic Islamic militant group regards as a heresy.
Despite being shot in the head by her attacker, she survived the harrowing encounter, ultimately being flown to Britain for high-level medical care and subsequently staying there to complete her education as her profile soared. And now, the clothes she wore on that awful day will be open for public viewing.
In the press release from the Nobel Peace Center, an interview excerpt with Malala is presented, wherein she reflects on the history of her spattered old clothes, and explains why she wants people to see such a chilling remnant.
My school uniform is very important to me because when I was going to school I would wear it. The day I was attacked I was wearing this uniform. I was fighting for my right to go to school, I was fighting for my right to get education. Wearing a uniform made me feel that yes, I am a student, I am doing it, practically. It is an important part of my life, now I want to show it to children, to people all around the world. This is my right, it is the right of every child, to go to school. This should not be neglected.
According to the release, the exhibition (which will be housed in the Nobel Peace Center museum in Oslo, Norway) will be opened by this year's two Nobel laureates, Malala and Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, on Dec. 11. It'll open to the public the next day, Dec. 12, so if you're in Norway for any reason, consider going and taking a look.
Image: Getty Images