"I am Malala and this is my story" Prologue
"I am Malala, a girl like any other: Chapter 1 - As Free As A Bird
As a feminist and rights activist, I was honoured when contacted by the publishers to read and review 'I Am Malala' for BLEURGH as the final book in 2015! Having embarked on the challenge of reading and reviewing a book a month, I am proud to culminate my efforts with such a landmark tale; Malala Yousafzai's memoir. Malala's tale is like no other - advocate for gender rights from age 10, and most recently (and notably), the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner. I Am Malala chronicles her tale of life in the Swat Valley prior to and during the Taliban invasion, and her fight for girls' right to education all the way up to the United Nations. Malala is a pillar of strength and hope, waging on well after her life was threatened and she was shot multiple times at point blank range by the Taliban on Tuesday, 9th October 2012. I Am Malala takes us through a seemingly normal childhood, and the turbulent effects of terrorism on her latter upbringing. It seems fitting to review and discuss I Am Malala on the same day the government in the UK are voting to decide whether or not to wage war against IS militants abroad. What we condone now may shape the lives of children just like Malala in future.
"I knew how important it was to speak for girls' rights...Our dreams were dying"Hat : Forever 21 | Ankara Top : DIY (similar here) | Skirt : TK Maxx
"Women in the United States were still not completely equal; their images were used to sell things...women are showpieces in American society too"Chapter 14 - Secret School
Culture: Pakistan is a patriarchal society. Females are socialised to be subservient and submissive, and largely run the home and not much more (in terms of aspirations). Education for girls was thought useless as they'd just be married off aged 11/12 anyway. Not to mention women were thought only to truly function under the direction and support of men i.e. females can't go out unaccompanied; they must be with a male member of the family in public (I saw this for myself while visiting Turkey last year). Malala's upbringing is somewhat similar to mine; growing up with an awareness of gender inequality. However, this was somewhat magnified after the Taliban invasion. "The Taliban wants to turn the girls of Pakistan into identical lifeless dolls" Chapter 12 - A Schoolgirl's Diary. Lord knows why terrorists feel so threatened by females? Schools educating girls bombed. Female school girls abducted. Females whipped in public for "indecent exposure". This unknown threat the enlightenment of women pose to terrorists is beyond me! Why should women remain imprisoned by ignorant ideals?
"all girls - and all people - are equal" Chapter 7 - The Taliban in Swat
"At night our fear is strong...but in the morning...we find our courage again" Chapter 10 - What Terrorism Feels LikeFaith: Malala grew up faithful; 5 prayers a day, with extra prayers uttered around exam time. A noble spirit of gratitude and servitude. An awareness of a greater spiritual calling upon her life to speak up for the marginalised. One's calling/purpose is unqiue, but is also within our freewil to mould. In Malala's case, she used (and is using) her voice to positively affect the lives of girls denied education around the world. In I Am Malala, we learn of an individual who did the exact opposite. A man who fed on the vulnerability of a community emotionally affected by a natural disaster, preying on their good nature to manipulate and inevitably control them at his whim. "How did an unschooled fanatic turn himself into a...radio god?" Chapter 7 - The Taliban in Swat. Faith and a focused belief can lead us all to achieve things beyond our wildest dream. Attain power, sway the minds and alter the actions of others. Whether we choose to use it for our own selfish benefit or for the greater good, is a matter up for debate (as is what can be classed "greater good", as that's also subjective). What Malala effortlessly portrays through her frank prayers with God, is an attitude of humility. The Taliban sought control, whereas Malala displaces it in the hands of leaders, and the girls themselves. She understands the power of choice, and steers clear of passing judgement on the girls who left school to serve and cook at home or got married far before senior school. She understands the cultural barriers they face, and prays for a better outcome for all females. We should strive to do the same; aim to help the less fortunate but understand their fate is autonomous, not judge them for the outcome of their decisions.
"God sends the solution first and the problem later" Chapter 29 - Filling in the GapsWest Africa: Word, Symbol, Song Exhibition at The British Library
"War and terrorism had become child's play" Chapter 14 - Secret SchoolJustice: Malala saw injustice much like any child would; a bully acting out of line and robbing someone of their basic rights. What's admirable is how grand an injustice she dealt with in this child-like way. Malala spoke out fearlessly both nationally and internationally about the injustice the Swat region faced under the reign of the Taliban. Laughed at for thinking girls' education deserved a seat at the table when discussing Pakistan with a foreign affairs minister, Malala tirelessly fought for her cause without so much as a quiver or quake, even after a near-death incident. The Taliban threatened her, shot her, and yet she speaks louder than ever! If that's not a lesson about the power of one voice, I don't know what is? I Am Malala teaches that "sometimes saying nothing speaks just as loudly" Chapter 29 - Filling in the Gaps...but equally other times, speaking out (peacefully) does the same. Don't be afraid to use your voice.
"If we believe in something greater than our lives, then our voices will only multiply even if we are dead" Chapter 20 - A Death Threat Against MeWatch : Guess | Heels : Red Herring (Debenhams)
"there will always be hurdles in life, but if you want to achieve a goal, you must continue" Chapter 31 - A Bittersweet DayMalala grew up like any other girl; playing games with friends, fighting with her siblings, running freely around her neighbourhood. Until the Taliban invaded and robbed her of her childhood. Malala didn't quiver at the loss of her past, but challenges the reader to dare to dream. Fearlessly speak out and perhaps your voice will gain traction; " Maybe that girl in the mirror, that girl who imagined speaking to the world, was the Malala I would become" Chapter 11 - A Chance to Speak. I Am Malala shows all sides of her; an annoying sister, competitive student, rebellious daughter, but most of all, a passionate young girl chasing her dreams. There's nothing superhuman about Malala, so if she can achieve what she has? So can you.
"If God has given you a voice, you must use it" Chapter 36 - One Girl Among Many