Book: I AM MALALA
Author: Malala Yousafzai, with Christina Lamb
Genre: Memoir, inspirational, non-fiction
Comment: A girl who has faced injustice and suffered, but will make sure all are heard.
Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel laureate when she stood up against the brutal Taliban forces in her hometown of Swat Valley in Pakistan and got shot in the head for her activist agendas.
Already you can see why her story is extraordinary and surreal. Let me paint the picture for you.
It’s Pakistan, the year is 2012 and Malala is heading off to school in a rickety school bus with other girls her age. The bus is stopped before it gets to the school and gunmen ambush it, injuring the girls in it and shooting at Malala. (p.2-6).
Being a girl was already a burden in the Pakistani regime since it meant that education was a lesser guarantee than getting married off. So Malala and her entourage were brave in wanting to go to school, a place they viewed as “a magical entrance” to their own worlds. (P.2)
Malala’s activism and her clarion call to allow girls to pursue education earned her global fame and notoriety in similar share. Her thorough presentations in international meetings and seminars (p.179) shed the light on the sexist chasm that existed in education and other avenues.
It is evident that Malala had the prime qualities of being visionary, persistent, humble, enthusiastic and down-to-earth that endeared her to the public. However, I found it better to dissect the major issues that Malala stood for (and has) and whether they are impactful, and if so, how.
EDUCATION IS STILL INACCESSIBLE
Malala is well known for her role in standing up for the right to education to every girl in Pakistan, something that was considered taboo and outrageous to envision. But to take a bullet for it really showed the world how much she was willing to go through to make sure her vision was conceptualized.
It was hard enough for a girl to pursue education but to be brazen about it, like Malala was, really presented a force to reckon with. So on October 2012, Malala’s school bus was raided and she was shot by the Taliban. Her own friends were injured as well.
But when you look critically at what she was standing for, you realize that education is a big deal. We take it for granted that schooling here in Kenya is generally a choice of free will and a chance to be a great influence.
The numbers, though, aren’t at all encouraging. The Sub-Sahara has a literacy rate of 38% while China has a literacy rate of 95%. I know it is harsh to compare since there are a lot of differentials to keep in mind such as the human resource and technological advancement. But the only way is up, and we need to learn and adapt and find ways to get kids to school.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world…”
And with the studies that literacy rates correspond with development, standards of living and overall empowerment, it is clear that Malala’s push for education is a step in the right direction and is sure to send ripples to other parts of the world suffering as well.
ACTIVISM IS NOT ALWAYS A BAD THING
In recent years we’ve seen a rise in activism and more and more agendas being pushed the government’s way such as gun control in the USA. And it is a very encouraging step for our generation to be the drivers of the change they expect to witness. It now feels like voices that are raised in unison and supporting a purposeful agenda are capable of pushing for change.
Malala’s activism earned her popularity and loathing in similar ratios. (p.180) While the capitalist West and other countries supported her call, the Taliban were fiercely pitted against her agendas and treated the girls who dared to speak out with a similar fashion as riotous college students are treated on Kenyan streets.
The problem is that there is a big difference between activism and staging “feel-good” protests. If the youth really want to bring change, they need to convince the authorities that there is an agenda they are pushing for and they are willing to be persistent about it.
HEROES DON’T ALWAYS WEAR CAPS
Malala is regarded as a modern heroine, and being the youngest Nobel laureate places her in the leagues of the women who brought change to the world like Mother Teresa and Marie Curie. She continues to champion for girls not only in Pakistan but globally to access education and have a better life.
As much as she has achieved that much, her life wasn’t the easiest. Being at risk of being caught by the Taliban always kept them indoors and afraid. Her father, Ziauddin, was also a fierce champion for female education and was constantly at loggerheads with other staunch conservatives. And the icing on the cake being her severe wound that she suffered after her gunshot.
It’s never an easy ride for those considered as heroes and heroines. They also go through a lot of challenges and it supposedly shapes their destiny. Malala is a great embodiment of being persistent, humble, kind and down-to-earth.
Generally, the book is wordy and it needs your time to go through it and understand (since it has some native words infused within it). The font is easy on the eyes and there are pictures within the book which make it fun to read too. I would highly recommend this book.
Apart from this memoir, Malala has an organization known as Malala Fund where she raises awareness of female education and empowerment. I highly advise you to check it out and find out more about Malala’s endeavors.
In the memoir, she recounts that she has had an interest in politics since she was young and her wish is to become a politician and fight fiercely to ensure her ideas are not lost. (p.170) I wish her all the best. She is clearly the sign that a new age has come and we better embrace it.
Check out Malala Fund
Thank you so much for reading this breakdown of the pressing issues highlighted in this memoir. Did you enjoy it? Make sure you share it out and purpose to read the book yourself.