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I am Malala

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Kaela Schudda

on 11 April 2014

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Transcript of I am Malala

Background on Pakistan
Plot Summary
Major Themes
Background on Malala
I Am Malala
Malala grew up in the Swat District of Pakistan where her friends, family, and local political issues influenced how she was raised.

As a young girl, Malala was one of a very minimal group of girls in the Middle East who had access to a standard education.

Malala and her father constantly fought against militant groups, such as the Taliban, when they tried to intervene in the Swat.

During this period of her life Malala began a journalism career with BBC, writing various articles about the state of affairs in Pakistan with heavy criticism of the Taliban and the oppression of Pakistani citizens.

After years of skirmishes between the Pakistani government and the Taliban, Malala and her family returned to the Swat. Shortly thereafter, Malala was the victim of an assassination attempt.

As the Taliban gained control of this region, Malala and her family were evacuated from their homes.
Malala began to gain the attention of the Taliban and other political rivals who threatened her with the hope that eventually she would stop advocating for a girl’s right to learn.

She was airlifted out of Pakistan and received treatment in Great Britain where she currently resides with her family.

Pakistan, a primarily Muslim nation, experienced a variety of issues from its founding in the 40s.

Pakistan was founded by the radical leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah who sought to separate Muslims from Hindus and Christians.

As Pakistan became their own sovereignty they began to experience economic catastrophes resulting in the rise to power of a series of military dictators.

The nation has since undergone a series of reform efforts, none of which have truly been successful.

Pakistan, to this day is strictly scrutinized by Western powers who collectively deem the nation as unstable.

Under these conditions, militant groups such as the Taliban and Hezbollah are able to inspire radical Islamic control of this region in the Middle East.

To this day, the Pakistani government has to fight against these groups in an effort to secure its borders and protect the citizens of this fallen nation.

Malala's autobiography is the story of a young girl who had fought and continues to fight for a female's right to learn. Her story begins with the construction of her father’s school. Malala’s father always had a passion for education and he passed that passion on to Malala.

As a young child, Malala would always attend lectures at the school, even before she could talk. With all the time spent at the school, Malala considered it to be a second home.

At this point, Malala’s life was far from perfect, but it was nowhere near as bad as it would become with the arrival of the Taliban.
The Taliban came in and took over the Swat Valley. By doing so, a female's rights to go to education were taken away. This series of events outraged Malala, and set her on a course of action that would lead her to fame.

With support and motivation from her father, she began to speak up for the rights of girls’ education on the news. Malala's inspiring speeches gave her a reputation as a pioneer for women's rights among villagers in the Swat.
Malala's success sadly attracted the attention of the Islamic extremists known as the Taliban, who forever changed her life.

Ziauddian - Malala's Father
Ziauddian is Malala’s father who inspired and encouraged her to fight for her education and rights. He himself is an educational activist, having built a chain of schools where both boys and girls could receive an equal education.
“’My only ambition,’ he said, ‘is to educate my children and my nation as much as I am able. But when half of your leaders tell lies and the other half is negotiating with the Taliban, there is nowhere to go. One has to speak out’” (216).

Thorpekai - Malala's Mother
Thorpekai is Malala’s mother who was very well liked by the neighbors in Pakistan. Though she is incredibly modest and not entirely supportive of Malala's publicity, she recognizes the importance of her daughter's work and is by her side throughout her recovery.
“My mother never turned anyone away. Once a poor woman came, hot, hungry, and thirsty, to our door. My mother let her in and gave her food, and the woman was so happy” (304).

Khushal and Atal - Malala's Brothers

Kushal and Atal are Malala's younger brothers that never fully comprehended what's happening due to their age.

“We were so happy to be a family again. My brother Khushal was as annoying as always. The boys were bored cooped up waiting for me to recover, away from school and their friends, though Atal was excited by everything new” (299).
Fiona Reynolds - Malala's Doctor
Fiona Reynolds was one of many doctors that took good care of Malala while she was recovering, but her compassion and dedication to give Malala the best recovery possible made her stand out from the rest, leaving a particularly strong impact on Malala.
“Every morning I longed for 7am when the nurses would come. The nurses and Dr. Fiona played games with me. One of my favorites was Connect 4. I usually drew with Dr. Fiona, but I could beat everyone else. The nurses and hospital staff felt sorry for me in a far-off land away from my family and were very kind” (286).

Group Recommendation
Perhaps the most important theme in the book,
Malala's story centers around her fight for education
equality for all children against the Taliban. Even after
the Taliban takes away her right to an education, Malala
continues fighting.
"I know the importance of education because my pens and books were taken from me by force, but the girls of Swag are not afraid of anyone We have continued with our education" (214).
Though Malala knew she faced an enemy
much more powerful than herself, not once does she allow this to deter her fight or silence her voice. Malala's incredible bravery is what led her to become such an inspiration and such a powerful weapon against the Taliban.
"'Maybe we should stop our campaigning and go into hibernation for a time,' said my father. 'How can we do that?' I replied. 'You were the one who said if we believe in something greater than our lives, then our voices will only multiply even if we are dead. We can't disown our campaign!'" (225).
One of the greatest gifts Malala was given in her life
that allowed her to grow into the person she is today
and gave her the power to stand up for her rights was a wonderful family. A father who encouraged his daughter to write and attend school and a family with fierce love for a daughter in a society that only praises sons were the starting point for Malala's important story.
"My father says he looked into my eyes after I was born and fell in love. He told people, 'I know there is something different about this child.' He even asked friends to throw dried fruits, sweets, and coins into my cradle, something we usually only do for boys'" (14).
As a whole, we agree that the book has its ups
and downs as all works do, but that the positive aspects tend to outweigh the negative. While the book requires a bit of background knowledge of Pakistani history to fully appreciate it, it is generally not too difficult to understand. The book is not a work of literary genius, but the story is powerful and important, making it worth the read.
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