Tuesday, January 19, 2016

1/50: I am Malala; The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot By the Taliban

I am Malala By Malala Yousafzai
I gave a little bit of insight on this book last week, and then afterwards I couldn't stop reading the rest. Each page flew out of my hands. I so badly didn't want her to stop talking that I read every last bit (epilogue, afterward, notes, glossary etc).

What I loved:
The relationship between Malala and her father
Her love for her homeland; Pakistan and the region of Swat
Her dream, desire, and life's work of making education available, not only to children in Pakistan about around the world.

I really do think that she is one of those people in our lifetime that so many future generations will talk and learn about.

Instead of trying to summarize this in my own words, I am going to include excerpts from the book that I found to be poignant and resonated with me. Perhaps they will be little nuggets that might entice you to read the book, as well.

"For most Pashtuns it's a gloomy day when a daughter is born. My father's cousin Jehan Sher Khan Yousafzai was one of the few who came to celebrate my birth and even gave a handsome gift of money. Yet, he brought with him a vast family tree of our clan, the Dalokhel Yousafzai, going right back to my great-great-grandfather and showing only the male line. My father is different from most Pashtun men. He took the tree, drew a line like a lollipop from his name and at the end of it he wrote, "Malala." His cousin laughed in astonishment. My father didn't care. He looked into my eyes after I was born and fell in love. He told people "I know there is something different about this child." He even asked friends to throw dried fruits, sweets, and coins into my cradle, something we usually only do for boys."

"I close my eyes and for a moment I am back in my valley - the high snow-topped mountains, green waving fields and fresh blue rivers - and my heart smiles when it looks at the people of Swat. My mind transports me back to my school and there I am reunited with my friends and teachers. I meet my best friend Moniba and we sit together, talking and joking as if I had never left.
Then I remember I am in Birmingham, England."

"The man was wearing a peaked cap and looked like a college student. He swung himself onto the tailboard at the back and leaned in right over us.
"Who is Malala?" he demanded.
No one said anything, but several of the girls looked at me. I was the only girl with my face uncovered.
That's when he lifted up a black pistol. I later learned it was a colt .45. Some of the girls screamed. Moniba tells me I squeezed her hand.
My friends say he fired three shots, one after another. The first went through my left eye socket and out under my left shoulder. I slumped forward onto Moniba, blood coming from my left ear, so the other two bullets hit the girls next to me.
My friends later told me the gunman's hand was shaking as he fired.
By the time we got to the hospital my long hair and Moniba's lap were full of blood.
Who is Malala? I am Malala and this is my story."


"Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself. So I offered the hundred raakat nafl that I had promised if I grew.
I love my God. I thank my Allah. I talk to him all day. He is the greatest. By giving me this height to reach people, he has also given me great responsibilities. Peace in every home, every street, every village, every country - this is my dream. Education for every boy and every girl in the world. To sit down on a chair and read my books with all my friends at school is my right. To see each and every human being with a smile of happiness is my wish."

If you want an additional little something, I would encourage you to watch this 30 minute documentary that Adam Ellick did for the NYT in 2009; three years before Malala was attacked.  NOTE It is very graphic. It does not blur out or cut away from scenes that are hard to watch/look at (I.e. You will see a decapitated corpse and an execution at point blank range). But if you want a glimpse of the state of life in Pakistan as well as the special relationship between Malala and her father. This is worth watching.
Class Dismissed


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