I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
Narrated by: Archie Panjabi (introduction by Malala Yousafzai)
When Malala was first up for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, I saw an interview with her and was amazed at how strong a speaker she was for her age. I got goosebumps listening to how passionately she spoke about women’s right to education. It’s felt obvious right away that she was someone who, given the time and resources, could really make a difference. She didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize that year, but she was the co-recipient this year, which is fantastic. The more exposure she gets the better.
When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.
For those who don’t know, Malala Yousafzai grew up in the Swat valley region of Pakistan and was in her early teens when it was taken over by the Taliban. They pressured women to give up their right to education, among other basic human rights, and Malala continually spoke out against them. It’s clear that her father was a great influence on her, as he had very progressive views and dedicated his life to education by opening and running the school Malala attended. One day on the bus to school, months after the Taliban were supposedly driven from the region, a young man stopped the vehicle, boarded, and shot Malala in the head.
The bullet traveled down through her cheek and into her shoulder. She was moved to a hospital in Birmingham, England and after some time recovered with only minor nerve damage on the left side of her face. She is lucky to be alive and has since been campaigning, winning dozens of honours, for human rights. In trying to silence her, the Taliban gave her the attention of the world. There’s little doubt in my mind that she’ll be someone who will inspire a lot of positive change in her lifetime. She’s a great role model, not only for young women, but for youth and adults of both genders.
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.
This is both her and her father’s life story. It’s not only a great look at life in a terrorist-occupied country, but it also gives a taste of life in a regular Pakistani home. We tend to only see the fundamentalists in western media, so it’s nice to see a more positive side of Islam. Malala seems to be able to balance a love of her religion and culture while still seeing the problems. She also shows insight into how people can end up in the extremist groups – using lies, conspiracy theories and fear-mongering on uneducated people, using their faith to manipulate them, can make them do the unthinkable.
He believed that lack of education was the root of all of Pakistan’s problems. Ignorance allowed politicians to fool people and bad administrators to be re-elected. He believed schooling should be available for all, rich and poor, boys and girls.
Every time western countries retaliate with violence, more terrorists are created. Every bomb dropped is bait and fuel to use when recruiting members in these organizations. Stomp out a dandelion and watch those seeds spread across the lawn, as they say. The answer isn’t conflict, it’s education. Unfortunately that takes generations of work, and we want a short-term solution, but there really isn’t a short-term solution to terrorism. Individual citizens need to know enough, and be aware enough of the world beyond their home, to defend against manipulation. That can only happen in a society where education is available to all people, which is exactly why groups like the Taliban bomb schools and stop people from attending.
It feels like the shift towards a better future is already in motion, but it is slow-moving. Hopefully people like Malala and her father can help that along.
Here is Malala:
And here is her father’s TED talk:
I’d really recommend everyone read this.