Tuesday, 15 October 2013

"I am Malala"

click for reviews of 'I am Malala'

The book’s full title says it all – I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban.

Malala describes a childhood in Mingora in the Swat valley – once known as Pakistan’s Switzerland for its ski resorts – that was idyllic despite its poverty. The human story of her upbringing is a universal one – she comments that although her family were poor, her mother’s door was always open; I remember my mother saying the same thing about her own upbringing. The story of mothers selling their traditional gold wedding bangles reminded me of my grandfather and his peers selling their WWI medals to feed their families.

Then the Taliban came, dispensing jihad through its main delivery system, sharia law, itself dispensed through the barrel of a gun. She describes the suffocating nature of the burka, a garment which is alien to Pashtun culture.

Her shooting and subsequent hospitalisations in Islamabad and Birmingham are well-known and, at 16, her determination to see that girls have the right to education worldwide shows she has more fire in the belly than generations of coddled British feminists. Their silence in the face of Muslim girls being subjected to FGM and being removed from education, in Britain, condemns them. Malala, nowever, is a living sign that jihad and sharia by no means constitute the natural habitat of Muslims, and I wish her well.

As soon as I finished the book my wife snatched it and my daughters have dibs: it’s a book that demands to be read, and I predict that demand will be satisfied. How about putting it on the National Curriculum?

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Click to go to Malala Fund, for education for girls worldwide

click for reviews of I am Malala

The mystery of the missing Muslim girls - Fran Abrams, The Independent

British girls undergo horror of genital mutilation despite tough laws - Tracy McVeigh and Tara Sutton, The Guardian Malala Yousafzai's desire to learn shames our schools - Allison Pearson, The Telegraph


  1. I Love Malala for what she is and for what she stands for. Thanks to her supportive father who inspired her to fight against the injustices done to young girls of Swat, by abandoning them of their right to education. A youngest recipient of Nobel peace prize and indeed a brave girl that she is. Coming to the content of this book, it is simply an autobiography of a young girl fighting for her rights and in turn facing dire consequences.

  2. I agree with your thoughts about Malala and her autobiography, Amit. I should point out that the Nobel Peace Prize 2013 went to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for taking same from Syria, despite vociferous claims that both sides in the conflict have used them. Here's hoping that Malala will get the 2014 prize!