Free «I Am Malala» Essay

I Am Malala

Malala Yousafzai is a 17 year old girl raised in Pakistan, a co-author of the bestselling memoir I Am Malala, and an international advocate for education. She survived a Taliban attack when she was only 10, an attack that transformed her life. Her story made her the youngest ever nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize and an international symbol of peaceful protests. Her memoir narrates the story of a young girl who wanted to change the community and the world from the youngest age of 10. The Taliban considers music a crime, women are not allowed to go to the market, and young girls are not allowed to go to school and it is this cultural chauvinism that inspired her to start the silent fight for peace and for the girl-child education. Never the less, the every reader of Malala’s autobiography will always feel the urge to ask whether or not the text is neutral and objective. This paper discusses the contentious issue of whether texts can ever be neutral and it uses Malala’s memoir to prove that only on rare cases will texts be neutral.

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The autobiography on Malala’s life has been co-written by Christina Lamb. Christina Lamb is a British journalist aged 48 and the foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times, a UK newspaper. She was selected owing to her writing talent and ability to get inside the soul of her subjects. She has good knowledge and dealings in Pakistan having reported on Pakistan and Afghanistan for almost 27 years since 1987, and an expert in reporting on war matters. She has authored 5 books and her mastery of literature is evidenced by the number of awards she has won. The contribution of Christina Lamb in the autobiography is expected of enhance neutrality and objectivity in the text. However, Lambs experience with cases of war and turmoil in Pakistan may have compromised the neutrality of the text.

The autobiography on Malala Yousafzai’s life, I am Malala is an interesting piece of literature which represents what girls in the world go through. It is more than just Malala’s story especially given the fact that girl-child education is not guaranteed in many places across the world.  It points out the importance of education to children’s lives and their countries and why they should focus on it. The story highlights the experiences of similar childen in war-torn countries such as the ISIS-controlled Iraq and Syria to the Boko Haram kidnappings of young girls in Northern Nigeria. Malala represents these girls and is a symbol of the international peaceful protest for peace. While the contribution of the memoir to global girl-child education is worth recognition, one may not be able to stop and wonder why the authors labeled the memoir as an autobiography instead of a biography given that it has two authors. The question thus remains on what the reader should make of Lamb’s contribution in this memoir.

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Describing the life before and after the incursion of the Taliban on the Swat Valley in Pakistan is very important in passing the message in the text. The policies that are introduced by the Taliban on women not being allowed to go to the market and girl child education outlawed may not have been outspoken before the Taliban incursion but they existed. This text meant to bring out the negative effect that the Taliban had on the life of Malala and other girls in the war-torn country. However, the text also states that culturally, the boy child was revered over and above the girl child. While the memoir achieves it purpose of informing the world on the dilapidation of the girl’s life in Pakistan, it fails to build upon the fact that Malala may not have only been fighting the Taliban but also retrogressive culture in the Swat Valley.

I am Malala includes maps in the text. It would have been difficult for young readers to read the book and understand it well without a visual on the region. The maps and photographs are meant to capture the attention of the young readers and make them understand the general setting of the book. However, the map and photographs serve a purpose greater that attracting readership. They describe Swat Valley and the entire Pakistan. The name Pakistan literally means land of the pure. The scenery of Pakistan evidenced by the Himalayas, the Baluchistan Plateau and the steppes of the Sindh Sagar Doab desert are all scenic tourist attractions. The text highlights the beauty of Pakistan, as a land of numerous splendours.  The scenery changes northwards starting from the coastal beaches, mangrove swamps, fertile plains, beautiful valleys, snow-covered peaks and eternal glaciers. In spite of all the wars and political turmoills affecting Pakistan, the land is blessed with nature’s beauty. A critical analysis of the images included in this text indicates that the authors wanted to show that people’s perceptions about Pakistan were wrong in that many would probably expected a rocky and lifeless place. This purpose by itself indicates that neutrality may have been overlooked.

Malala is the main character in the text. She has been depicted as a courageous young girl who did not allow her life to be changed by neither the war and torment from Taliban nor the retrogressive culture that emphasized on the boy child. Malala’s father is a school owner who championed and greatly encouraged her daughter to attend school and write the memoir. Malala’s parents have been depicted as courageous and very strong in the way they support their daughter to pursue education in a society that prizes sons. I am Malala is an autobiography and thus it is easily understandable when she is the main character in her own story. The second thing that comes out clearly is the fact that her parents owned a school but with this information at hand, the neutrality in the text again comes into the limelight. Any reader would easily connect the dots between Malala’s campaign for girl child education, the influence that she got from her father, and the end that the family sought to achieve. The UN has taken great highlight of Malala’s case given her strong will and determination. She has been adopted as the global ambassador for peaceful protest. This is meant to encourage other girls worldwide to pursue their dreams and embrace education so as to change their lives.

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In conclusion, Malala’s life changed completely with the transition from the remote village in northern Pakistan to a place where children’s rights are respected and every child has access to education. Currently, Malala enjoys a lot of freedom. She is able to school daily without the fear of the Taliban. Her new-found freedom has also seen her go around the globe as a United Nations agent for peace and a champion for girl child education. While she remains an icon in the fight against terrorism and for the education rights for all irrespective of the gender, her memoir can still be judged as a little biased and with complete neutrality and objectivity.

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