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I HAVE SEEN FEAR

Accepting an honorary Canadian citizenship, Malala Yousafzai spoke for the world’s refugees

By Hannah Yi

Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai received an honorary Canadian citizenship on Wednesday (April 12). She is the sixth person to receive the honor, alongside Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the Dali Lama. In her address to parliament, she spoke for refugees who live in fear.

“Like the refugees in Canada and all around the world, I have seen fear, and experienced times when I didn’t know if I was safe or not,” said the 19-year-old Pakistani activist, who was shot by a masked gunman on her way to school in 2012 after she advocated for girl’s education. “I remember how my mom used to put a ladder at the back of our house so that if anything happened, we could escape.” Her mother, who was in attendance, wiped away tears as Yousafzai spoke. 

Yousafzai praised Canada’s refugee policy, calling the motto “Welcome to Canada” more than a hashtag, but a spirit of openness that other countries should embrace as well. Last year, Canada accepted 25,000 refugees from Syria.

Watch Yousafzai speak in our video.