Title: I Am Malala: The Girl who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban
Author: Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb
Snapshot: The book is an account of life in Pakistan, essentially the Swat valley, where Malala Yousafzai lived, pre, during and post Taliban times, until she was shot by them.
The Review: Courage is all that takes sometimes between needing and achieving. A great man once said "A great deal of talent is lost in this world for a little need of courage". The Taliban has been the biggest source of terror in the recent times. They shook the world by their heinous act on 9/11 and many more. Imagine living right in the heart of such times, scares every bit of me. But then from the shouts of gunfire and bomb-blasts, comes a child's voice that doesnt ask for toys or sweets, but simply a right to education and learning, and the child is a girl in an ultra conservative Muslim world. One would simply be in awe of this girl right from her first words, wont one?
This book begins with the history of Swat Valley, where Malala was born and brought up. It is the very place where the giant Buddhist stupas were found and were blasted during the Taliban rule. Malala however is whatever she is because of her father Ziauddin Yousafzai who was a revolutionary himself. He began by building schools and was one of the few men who encouraged and worked for Womesn education, built schools for them, despite of protests and problems from the local priests etc. He also did all of this when he didnt have much money. He taught children for free, some poor children he even kept in his home. I was so inspired by him and to be born as his daughter Malala surely has inherited his genes of courage and speaking ones heart. So when finally Taliban enters Swat and bans girls education, she begins speaking about it. The times were bad and people were scared even to give their interviews to journalists. Malala's father then was a fearless speaker. The times were such that someone they knew were hunted down by the Taliban and killed one day or the other. Around this time BBC wanted to create a blog (a project similar to the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank) so as to give a glimpse of the Taliban world to the rest of the world. She started writing under a pseudoname about her want to go to school, study more and just have the freedom a child needs.
As an Indian I loved her honesty about her country's politics and the fact that she has mentioned that India infact was considered as the biggest enemy in Pakistan (which most of their leaders deny when asked), until the time Osama Bin Laden was killed by the Americans in their own country, under their nose, without any information to anyone in Pakistan, then USA became the number one enemy, which too they deny. A great deal has also been spoken about the precise tactic Taliban used to gain dominance and win people, Pakistan's denial in supporting Taliban one one side and denial on the other, etc. Read the book, you surely will not get a better perspective than this. Most people discouraged me from reading the book saying its mostly Christins Lamb's voice but I feel there is 90% Malala in it and one can easily filter and perceive.
A must read if you are interested in Life in Taliban times.
Positives: Its well written, crisp and well edited.
Negatives: I wish it hadn't been edited. I am sure she had more to say.
The Verdict: A story to be inspired from. I hope and wish Malala gets to go home as she wishes to and she does get an opportunity to do great things for her nation that she plans to.
About The Authors:
Malala Yousafzai, the educational campaigner from Swat Valley, Pakistan, came to public attention by writing for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban. Using the pen name Gul Makai, she often spoke about her family's fight for girls education in her community. In October 2012 Malala was targeted by the Taliban and shot in the head as she was returning from school on a bus. She miraculously survived and continues her campaign for education. In recognition of her courage and advocacy, Malala was honoured with the National Peace Prize in Pakistan in 2011 and nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize in the same year. She is the youngest ever person nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She was shortlisted for Time Magazine Person of the Year and has received numerous other awards. Malala continues to champion universal access to education through The Malala Fund, a non-profit organization investing in community led education programs and supporting education advocates around the world.
Christina Lamb is one of the world's leading foreign correspondents. She has reported on Pakistan and Afghanistan since 1987. Educated at Oxford and Harvard, she is the author of five books and has won a string of awards, including Britain's Foreign Correspondent of the Year five times as well as the Prix Bayeux, Europe's most prestigious award for war correspondents. She currently works for the Sunday Times and lives between London and Portugal with her husband and son.
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