Thursday, June 14, 2018

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban Paperback – June 2, 2015 by Malala Yousafzai (Author), Christina Lamb (Contributor) (Back Bay Books)

In her autobiography, "I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban", Malala Yousafzai tells not only her own story, but that of other people who stood up in their own way for education or against oppression. She argues for the value and power of education again and again, making it clear that it is the most powerful weapon against terrorism or extremism.

Malala writes, "'Why don't they want girls to go to school?' I asked my father. 'They are scared of the pen,' he replied" (pg. 118). Further, "The Taliban could take our pens and books, but they couldn't stop our minds from thinking" (pg. 146). Countering the Taliban's claim that education threatens their view of the world, Malala writes, "Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human" (pg. 162). She also articulates a place for women's rights in the Muslim world, writing, "...We want to make decisions for ourselves. We want to be free to go to school or to go to work. Nowhere is it written in the Quran that a woman should be dependent on a man. The word has not come down from the heavens to tell us that every woman should listen to a man" (pg. 219). Malala concludes, "Peace in every home, every street, every village, every country - this is my dream. Education for every boy and every girl in the world. To sit down on a chair and read my books with all my friends at school is my right. To see each and every human being with a smile of happiness is my wish" (pg. 313).

Though the basics of her story are well-known, everyone should read Malala's autobiography for the insight she offers into the role of geopolitics in creating an opportunity for the Taliban and other extremists to seize power. Education is the strongest weapon against them and knowledge of how they gained they power can be used to prevent it from happening again. All readers can learn from Malala's example and speak up for education and women's rights.

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