Thursday, May 26, 2016

I am Malala. My world has changed but I have not

Have you watched the interview on the Daily Show with Malala Yousafzai? If not, why don't you just go do that now.
We good?

I'm sure everyone knows at least something about Malala. And if you don't, what the hell, I JUST told you to watch that video.

I knew she was attacked by the Taliban for the audacity of both going to school and being female an the same time. She was the youngest person to win a Nobel prize. But I realized I didn't actually know much about what she did BEFORE being attacked. And it turns out, a lot.
Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human
It's a touching look at how much Malala and especially her father were doing to try to bring education to as many people as they could and what they were doing to resist the Taliban. There's a reason the Taliban targeted her and it goes beyond the fact that she was just a girl attending school. She was in a bus full of girls attending school (2 of whom were hit by stray bullets, both survived) but they looked for her specifically. Because she was the one speaking out against what they were doing, speaking for the importance of education. She was fearless.
I don't know why, but hearing I was being targeted did not worry me. It seemed to me that everyone knows they will die one day. My feeling was nobody can stop death; it doesn't matter if it comes from a Talib or cancer. So I should do whatever I want to do.
It's not all struggle and and fighting for education. That's the central point but much of it is just her childhood and what it was like to grow up. She talks about her love of Islam and her village of Swat (she often refers to it as a "lush paradise"), going to school, learning public speaking, schoolyard rivalries for the best grades, family holidays. She gives a sense of what day-to-day life was like that makes it easier to relate to her.

As much a story about her, it's a story about how much her father was doing for education and women's rights and how it was believed that he was going to be the person targeted. He was a source of strength and support for Malala, encouraging her to speak out for what she felt was right, while also himself doing what he could.

The biggest complaint (and it's not a major complaint in the grand scheme of things) I have is with the writing. For the most part it's very simple, very straightforward. Which is fine and I guess for much of it that works and it certainly makes it accessible to a large audience. Sometimes I would find myself wishing for more but overall that's not the point of the book so as I said, it's my biggest complain but it's not a big complaint.

Gif rating:
Title quote from page 265, location 3714

Yousafzai, Malala. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. Little Brown & Co, 2013.