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Did Malala make the greatest speech of all time?

The teenager shot by the Taliban has earned her place in history

In generations to come, I wonder if the speech given by Malala Yousafzai will be remembered as one of the greatest of all time. I think it will. The teenage Pakistani girl, who was shot in the head by the Taliban, addressed the UN on her 16th birthday last week. It’s worth watching on YouTube. In terms of delivery, substance and significance, it was nothing short of mesmerising.

One part of her speech could well become as significant as Martin Luther’s “I have a dream”. That is: “The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambition, but nothing changed in my life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born."

It’s difficult to rank speeches as it's largely a matter of personal preference, and what topics matter to an individual. Anyway, for what it’s worth, I would stick Malala’s UN speech at the top of my own charts. Here are my top five:

1. Malala Yousafzai’s UN speech


2. Martin Luther King's “I have a dream” speech was delivered on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC. It terms of substance, there are few better out there.


3. Nelson Mandela's courtroom speech was made when on trial for sabotage on April 20, 1964. No cameras and very long, but hugely significant for decades to come.


4. Earl Spencer, the brother of Princess Diana made this speech at her funeral on September 6, 1997. For pure theatre and drama, as he tore in the royal family sitting on the front row, there is nothing better.


5. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, delivered this masterpiece as India finally became free of British rule on August 14, 1947.


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Posted by: Gaja

What a waste of time of the UN.

Posted by: Ronald

For pure theatre and staged effect, it was a historic speech. Pity they let that bumbling, insincere oaf Brown hog the limelight at the end.

Posted by: igk

Malala's speech greatest or not is debatable but her achieving world status for education for girls is iconic.

Posted by: Acecombat

For the love of god ... the speech was riddled with stupidity and naivety, not that its any fault of the girl ... but the society and people around her who are shaping her mindset.

Posted by: Nick

Anil, I think you miss the point of Earl Spencer's speech - he was primarliy lambasting the media and paparazzi, who he and his nephews still blame for ultimately killing her.

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