x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Girl activist tells her story

The Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban to stop her from campaigning for girls' education tells her story in I Am Malala.

There can be few people who need reminding that Malala is “that girl” and her biography is really the story of a whole family as well as a great campaigning cry for the power and opportunity that education represents.

The prologue begins with the day of the shooting and a description of a schoolgirl’s life in the Swat Valley and her worries that her father, an education activist who founded her own school would be murdered by the Taliban.

What comes next is surprisingly shocking thanks to a vivid narrative as the young assassin’s bullets find their target in Malala’s brain and also in two of her friends.

“By the time we got to hospital my long hair and Moniba’s lap were full of blood.”

After the stuff of news headlines comes a moving family story about a father’s love for his daughter and a girl who has a remarkable gift for communication, one suspects with or without the help of veteran foreign correspondent and co-author Christina Lamb.

“Moniba and I had been reading the Twilight books ...” she says.

“It seemed to us that the Taliban arrived in the night just like vampires.”