I Am Malala

By Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
pub. 2013

This was a tough book to read, in that one knows how sad the contents will be to read, but one must continue. I was surprised though, most of the book is about Malala’s upbringing in Swat, Pakistan, and it really tries to show the evolution of the region in the past decade. I especially enjoyed the history lessons of how Swat was slowly “talibanized” from a relatively peaceful community to a war-zone. As it turns out, Swat was slowly turned into a war-zone by two key triggers: September 11th, 2001, and the Pakistan Earthquake of 2005. These two events led fundamentalist Islamic forces to galvanize and broadcast their message to dubious believers in the region at time of need. Radio transmission was their main method of indoctrination, and slowly but surely the region was convinced that Islamic law was “needed”. This book is a fascinating lesson to those who would give up civil rights in the name of security.

My favorite idea of the book? The title. I only realized the significance of it towards the end of the text. The book is called “I Am Malala” only because right before Malala was shot in the head, her attacker asked the group of school girls she was with “Who is Malala?”. As Malala now states, she wishes she had been able to tell the attacker who she really was, and why she believed what she did. Incredible.

A quote I especially liked:

Just as we say, “Nim hakim khatrai jan”- “Half a doctor is a danger to one’s life” so, “Nim mullah khatrai iman” – “A mullah who is not fully learned is a danger to the faith.”191

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