The struggle

There will be a book in which Malala tells her own story published in the fall.

The memoir of 15-year-old Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai will be published this fall, publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson announced Wednesday. The deal is reportedly worth about $3 million.

Titled “I Am Malala,” the book will tell the story of the young advocate for women’s education who was shot in the face at point-blank range by Taliban gunmen on Oct. 9 in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

I’m assuming she has a co-author or ghost writer or some such, because that’s a very short time for publishing and she’s in school and has only just recovered from being shot in the head and is only 15 anyway. “Memoir” seems like the wrong word for that – but I don’t know, maybe it’s not. Anyway it doesn’t matter; it’s good that there will be such a book.

“I hope the book will reach people around the world, so they realize how  difficult it is for some children to get access to education,” Malala said in a news release. “I want  to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61 million children  who can’t get education. I want it to be part of the campaign to give  every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right.”

That’s why it’s good that there will be such a book.

“This book will be a document to bravery, courage and vision,” Arzu  Tahsin, deputy publishing director at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, said in a statement.  “Malala is so young to have experienced so much and I have no doubt  that her story will be an inspiration to readers from all generations who believe in  the right to education and the freedom to pursue it.”

That’s why.

It’s a struggle, promoting education for girls in places that are both impoverished and ferociously traditional.

An Afghan father of two young daughters, Saidal Pazhwak, works with Kissell’s group in Kabul. “I believe that education is a girl’s right,” he says, adding    that many parents want to educate their daughters but lack either a safe environment or nearby schools to do so.

His mission, he says, is to train more teachers, especially female teachers. He says his group has helped train around 10,000 women teachers in Kabul in    the past two years, with funding from the World Bank. He wants to see more women in government positions in remote areas as well, serving as role models.

There is a considerable way to go, says Sabatina James, a Pakistani-born activist who defied a forced marriage as a teen. When she refused to marry a    cousin, she says, her parents threatened her life, telling her she had ruined the family honor. Now in her 30s, she hasn’t seen her family since. Today she    lives in Germany, where her nonprofit group, Sabatina, rescues girls whose fathers try to force them to wed.

“In honor-based culture, people think that girls could become too independent and make their own choices if they educate themselves,” she says. “They are afraid what could happen if girls learn to read and write.”

Just as slaveowners in the South were afraid of what could happen if their slaves learned to read and write. That’s why it was a crime to teach a slave to read.

Meanwhile teachers are picked off, one at a time.

UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown has condemned the shooting of a female teacher in Pakistan on Tuesday as a “Malala-style” incident.

Shahnaz Bibi was shot dead on Tuesday by two motorbike riders as she disembarked from a passenger van near the school where she taught in the Khyber tribal region.

No memoir for her.



  1. says

    “I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61 million children who can’t get education. I want it to be part of the campaign to give every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right.”

    Yes – for the utilitarian good Malala must tell her story. Malala has now got the perfect platform in which to tell the world of the urgent need of the basic rights of children to be educated. She should opportunistically use it – via whichever expert source is available to help her spread the message across the world.

    Not only is she an inspiration to children of the here and now, but also to those of the past; who have entered into adult literacy education; because of desperately wanting to catch up on what they lost out on, due to not getting their basic rights fulfilled as children. It’s never too late. Education is power. The ethos of the Sisters’ of Mercy was to educate the unschooled and poor. That did not happen in Goldenbridge industrial school during my incarceration period. In fact, in over one hundred years – up to my time in the late sixties – one inmate was educated to Irish curriculum ‘leaving cert’ standard. It was a downright disgrace and insult to the founder of the Mercy order. Most of my counterparts left without being barely able to read or write. The idea of not educating them had to do with them being only good enough for domestic service. That’s all inmates were fit for, for propping up further the already educated classes. Pure slavery. That’s why I feel so strongly why prophets such as Malala are needed in this world. Education should be the basic right of EVERY human being.

  2. Sercee says

    It sickens me every time something like what happened to Malala occurs. I’m so glad she’s using this to spread her story, and of those who can’t, and I hope she uses some of her book income to help the girls who were with her but are still stuck there.

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