"I Am Malala" is a story by a young girl, Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb that details the struggle for human rights. Considered an autobiographical account of the life of Malala, it focuses on the campaign for women's rights to education in all societies. An important lesson shared in the book is the essence of advocating and fighting for universal human values. It emphasizes the need to uphold truth, fairness, justice, and equality in the community ("I Am Malala," n.d.). One of the tools that can ensure that people attach value to these virtues and continue to support just practices is education. It is an empowerment tool that enables people to work towards building an effective and healthy society. Thus, access to education and information determines how communities respond to social and security issues like terrorism as presented in the text "I Am Malala."
Malala actively campaigned for peace in the region. Her activism and commitment focused on fighting for harmonious living in the village, Swat and beyond. She had already received recognition for championing the right of girls to school (Yousafzai, 2013). The young activist understood the value of female education as a means of liberating women held back by a patriarchal social structure. While the efforts she made sought to improve the quality of life of fellow girls, it made her a popular face of the campaign for peace, access to quality education and information. She captured the attention of Taliban militants who targeted activists like her and their families. Malala says "... We had been getting threats all year. Some were in the newspapers; some were notes or messages passed on by people (Yousafzai, 2013)." Therefore, the people around Malala faced a potential threat from the terrorists.
The activist selected a strategy of advocating for peace through education and nonviolent resistance. The message shared in the memoir combines elements of struggle and hope that communicate the pain and misery that citizens of Swat Village and Pakistan have endured. As a Muslim society, the problems were harsher for the female population due to the misleading interpretation of Islam doctrines. Misunderstanding of their teachings created an organization that perceived women as inferior compared to their male counterparts. As a result, there was restricted access to public spaces and platforms (Ulum, 2016). Malala's fight for education aimed to increase access to information that would enlighten the female population. Her actions endangered the people close to her as evidenced by the victims who suffered during the attempted assassination on Malala.
Malala struggled for peace and education. She embraced the cause for rallying for girl child education as a way of combating and escaping the violence that plagued the Swat Village. Malala almost paid the price for her activism. While she suffered severe injuries from the gunshot during the attack on her as she traveled to school by bus, she could have lost her life. The attempt to assassinate her by the terrorist depicts the high level of extremism that defined unlawful actions of the Taliban militants. On previous occasions, Malala had reassured her friend Moniba that she was safe. Her argument was "... Do not worry; the Taliban have never come for a small girl(Yousafzai, 2013)." However, the terrifying incident proved that there was an urgent need to champion for peace and expulsion of extremism.
Accessing information and quality education was a significant challenge in Pakistan. While the constitution mandates the government to facilitate the provision of free and compulsory education, several disparities characterize the system. Factors such as gender, socio-economic class, and ethnicity determined access to schools and learning resources ("I Am Malala," n.d.). Malala, passionate about changing the status of female education situation in her village and country, dedicated her effort to raising awareness. The political upheaval and state of security in the region further affected learning for girls (Firdous, Afzal, &Mustaq,). For instance, in 2009, the Taliban banned schooling of girls and shut down almost 400 private schools catering to the educational needs of about 40,000 girls ("I Am Malala," n.d.). Upon reopening of the schools by the government, the terrorists scared many girls away from institutions. Therefore, the desire to gain knowledge made them terror targets.Apart from security threats posed by the terrorists in Pakistan, the education system faced other challenges. These included inadequacy of highly qualified, trained teachers, education resources, and outdated curricula. While efforts by Malala to advocate for the rights of women in society may have subjected her family to threats from terrorists, she played a monumental role in drawing international attention to the crisis in Pakistan (Russo, 2016). It made the international community aware of the many challenges that girls faced, and adverse impact terror activities of the militants had on social institutions ("I Am Malala," n.d.). Hence, her activism led to some positive changes such as increased more tolerance and protection of human rights.
In conclusion, Malala's book is a detailed account of her life in Swat, Pakistan. As a child, she witnessed a lot of challenges that defined the life a girl given the state of the nation. Driven by the desire and passion for increasing access to education for females, she opted to use nonviolent means to advocate for peace and their rights. Due to her vocal nature, she, her family and people close to her became terror targets. As a result, the Taliban made an attempt on her life that impacted fellow students. While she survived the shooting, the incident drew attention to her campaign, leading to some positive changes.
Firdous, A., Afzal, T., &Mustaq, S. (2014). Interdiscursive events misrepresentation in I am Malala: A critical discourse analysis. European Academic Research, 2(5), 6398-6426. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.434.3251&rep=rep1&type=pdf
I Am Malala: A Resource Guide For Educators. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://malala.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs1061/f/Malala-Resource-Guide-HS-2.pdf
Russo, J. (2016). Malala Yousafzai: Why I fight for education. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/03/3-questions-malala-yousafzai/
Ulum, E. M. (2016). Malala's struggles against unfairness in Malala Yousafzai and Cristina Lamb's I Am Malala (Doctoral dissertation) State Islamic University, Indonesia. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/44743377.pdf
Yousafzai, M. (2013). I am Malala: The girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company. http://126.96.36.199:8001/jspui/bitstream/123456789/1713/1/I%20AM%20MALALA.pdf
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US Terrorism and Homeland Security: I Am Malala. (2022, Mar 27). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/us-terrorism-and-homeland-security-i-am-malala
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