I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb
10th Dec 2013
On 9 October 2012, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the face by the Taliban on the way home from school, because she had campaigned publicly for the right of girls to an education.
On 12 July 2013, her 16th birthday, she continued that campaign by addressing the United Nations Youth Congress. I Am Malala is her inspirational story.
The facts of Malala’s young life are these: she grew up in the Swat valley in Pakistan. This beautiful, mountain area was taken over by the Taliban when Malala was ten, bringing with them repression and violence against women.
Her father was a prominent local campaigner and ran several schools in the area, including the girls’ school that Malala attended, and which stayed open despite Taliban attempts to close it down.
She was not expected to survive the shooting as the bullet had penetrated her skull through her left eye socket, and caused massive swelling in her brain. She was initially treated in Pakistan but due to the worldwide interest in her story, she was flown to the UK for treatment in Birmingham.
This year her story, poise and simple yet powerfully direct voice have brought her massive public acclaim, and she was the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Nobel Prize for Peace.
Her simple public persona, a small, devout Muslim girl wearing pink salwar kameez, makes the message of her words all the more powerful. Her simple public persona, a small, devout Muslim girl wearing pink salwar kameez, makes the message of her words all the more powerful. Her writing style is direct and clear and therefore impossible to ignore. As she says in her speech at the UN, one voice, one book, one pen can change the world.
In the West, we take for granted what Malala is fighting for: education for all, the freedom for women to speak, to even be out in the street without a man. It’s an important fight, and an important story and for that reason I Am Malala is a must-read; it’s a story you need to know.