Malala to Trump: 'You Need to See the Refugee People' with Visit to Camps

Malala to Trump: 'You Need to See the Refugee People' with Visit to Camps
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai visits the Mahama camp of Burundian refugees in Rwanda on July 14, 2016. (AP Photo/ Ignatius Ssuuna)

The youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize suggested that President Trump, who said he was spurred to take action in Syria in part by the images of dead babies after last week’s sarin attack by the regime, next visit refugee camps to meet some of the people fleeing bloodshed.

Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in October 2012 while going to school. She was targeted for speaking out against Taliban forces and speaking out for girls’ education without being under the thumb of Islamist forces.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres just made Yousafzai, 19, the youngest recipient of the world body’s Messenger of Peace award, noting her work in refugee camps and stressing she’s a “symbol of perhaps the most important thing in the world, education for all.”

Today, Canada is making her an honorary citizen.

In an interview aired this morning, Yousafzai told CBS she was “deeply hurt” by Trump’s travel ban targeting seven then six Muslim-majority nations. Her home country, Pakistan, was not included in the ban, which has been held up in court battles.

“To me, it just seemed like directly blaming Muslims, and that is not a solution. That is just making an excuse and hiding from the real problems. I think he needs to understand that you need to meet the people. You need to see the refugee people,” she said.

“They’re dying, whether they’re in Syria or any other country. They’re dying. They are being killed. And if you don’t open the doors, if you don’t welcome them, they will be killed,” Yousafzai added. “So it’s important that [Trump] understand that these people are in need. And I have seen them. I have went to refugee camp. And I think he needs to go to these refugee camps.”

“…President Donald Trump needs to go and see refugee children. He needs to go and visit the refugee camps. He needs to know what real life is like in a refugee camp.”

The activist visited Lancaster, Pa., this week, which has taken in a greater share of refugees than most cities.

Yousafzai emphasized that as shocking as the sarin attack was, “we need to remember that this happens each and every day” in Syria, “whether that’s through chemical weapon or any other weapon.”

“We need to think ahead. We need to think about preventing wars from starting as well. And I think for that, investment in education is the key, investing especially in the education of women and girls,” she said. “With education comes questioning, with education comes critical thinking. With education comes more opportunities. People go forward. People see the world from a different perspective.”

She added that “when we talk about going forward and achieving, like, developments, it is not possible without empowering these 130 million girls” currently not in school “I just wonder, like, why do these leaders not see this?”

As far as her own schooling, Yousafzai has applied to Oxford University.