I AM MALALA
The Girl Who Stood Up for Education
and was Shot by the Taliban
with Christina Lamb
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
To all the girls who have faced injustice and been silenced. Together we will be heard.
Prologue: The Day my World Changed
PART ONE: BEFORE THE TALIBAN
A Daughter Is Born
My Father the Falcon
Growing up in a School
Why I Don’t Wear Earrings and Pashtuns Don’t Say Thank You Children of the Rubbish Mountain
The Mufti Who Tried to Close Our School
The Autumn of the Earthquake
PART TWO: THE VALLEY OF DEATH
Toffees, Tennis Balls and the Buddhas of Swat
The Clever Class
The Bloody Square
The Diary of Gul Makai
A Funny Kind of Peace
Leaving the Valley
PART THREE: THREE BULLETS, THREE GIRLS
The Valley of Sorrows
Praying to Be Tall
The Woman and the Sea
A Private Talibanisation
Who is Malala?
PART FOUR: BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH
21 ‘God, I entrust her to you’
22 Journey into the Unknown
PART FIVE: A SECOND LIFE
23 ‘The Girl Shot in the Head, Birmingham’
24 ‘They have snatched her smile’
Epilogue: One Child, One Teacher, One Book, One Pen . . .
Important Events in Pakistan and Swat
A Note on the Malala Fund
Additional Credits and Thanks
Prologue: The Day my World Changed
I COME FROM a country which was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday. One year ago I left my home for school and never returned. I was shot by a Taliban bullet and was flown out of Pakistan unconscious. Some people say I will never return home but I believe firmly in my heart that I will. To be torn from the country that you love is not something to wish on anyone. Now, every morning when I open my eyes, I long to see my old room full of my things, my clothes all over the floor and my school prizes on the shelves. Instead I am in a country which is five hours behind my beloved homeland Pakistan and my home in the Swat Valley. But my country is centuries behind this one. Here there is any convenience you can imagine. Water running from every tap, hot or cold as you wish; lights at the flick of a switch, day and night, no need for oil lamps; ovens to cook on that don’t need anyone to go and fetch gas cylinders from the bazaar. Here everything is so modern one can even find food ready cooked in packets.
When I stand in front of my window and look out, I see tall buildings, long roads full of vehicles moving in orderly lines, neat green hedges and lawns, and tidy pavements to walk on. I close my eyes and for a moment I am back in my valley – the high snow-topped mountains, green waving fields and fresh blue rivers – and my heart smiles when it looks at the people of Swat. My mind transports me back to my school and there I am reunited with my friends and teachers. I meet my best friend Moniba and we sit together, talking and joking as if I had never left. Then I remember I am in Birmingham, England.
The day when everything changed was Tuesday, 9 October 2012. It wasn’t the best of days to start with as it was the middle of school exams, though as a bookish girl I didn’t mind them as much as some of my classmates.
That morning we arrived in the narrow mud lane off Haji Baba Road in our usual procession of brightly painted rickshaws, sputtering diesel fumes, each one crammed with five or six girls. Since the time of the Taliban our school has had no sign and the ornamented brass door in a white wall across from the woodcutter’s yard gives no hint of what lies beyond. For us girls that doorway was like a magical entrance to our own special world. As we skipped through, we cast off our head-scarves like winds puffing away clouds to make way for the sun then ran helter-skelter up the steps. At the top of the steps was an open courtyard...
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