Thursday, January 16, 2014

I Am Malala

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

By Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Published by Little, Brown and Company

Copyright © 2013
Review by Anthony Kendrick

Imagine a world where millions of children do not get an education because of poverty, greed, war, ignorance, or prejudice. We aren’t talking about the middle ages; we are talking about 2014. There are Fifty-seven million children (p. 312) today who cannot go to primary school. So many youth today take the opportunity for education for granted, but be assured if it were taken away from you, you would miss it.

Malala Yousafzai comes from a country where the education record is terrible. Many children she saw everyday could not go to school because they had to contribute to their families who lived in poverty. Many could not go to school because the Pakistani politicians who promised new roads, electricity, hospitals, and schools for rural villages never followed through on their promises. And many could not go to school because Muslim Extremists known as the Taliban mislead, and often force, the public into believing that girls should not go to school.

Malala is lucky though, in a land where sons are valued above daughters she has a father who loves her immensely and wants her to be as free as any son. He wants to make sure that she has an education. Malala loves learning and thinks that every boy and girl deserves the opportunity to go to school. By word and deed her father taught her to use her voice to help others, so that is what she did. 

At a very young age Malala was a very vocal advocate for the right to an education. This eventually led to her being targeted by the Taliban who finally followed through on their threats and tried to kill her.

“I Am Malala” chronicles how she got to that point in her life, and how she refuses to let her tragedy and her fear quiet her. While she is critical of many groups from the U.S. to her own people. She never comes off as vengeful and hate filled. Malala story is terrible and sad, but it is a story of hope, because there are people, especially young people, who care about others and want to make a difference.

This is a great story for many American students to read; students who don’t know just how good they have it. While we have many troubles in the American education system having the right to go to school is not one of them. Yet, there are people who are still fighting for this right even on threat of their life. 

By reading this book my eyes were opened a little more to what life is like in many parts of the Middle East, what the common view of western nations is, and how the U.S. in particular played a negative role in the production of these feelings. I also learned a lot more about Islamic teachings and how it is being twisted for corrupt ends. Of course it should be noted that politics and religion has been twisted for corrupt ends for a long time in nearly every nation.

While it is a bit choppy in it's content, overall I highly recommend this book. And whatever thoughts you glean from it at the least see it as a cultural study and gain appreciation for the rights that we take for granted.

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