“As we crossed the Malakand Pass I saw a young girl selling oranges. She was scratching marks on a scrap of paper with a nail to account for the oranges she had sold, as she could not read or write. I took a photo of her and vowed I would do everything in my power to help educate girls just like her. This was the war I was going to fight” (Malala 217)

November 11, 2020 was our fifth meeting discussing the chapters we read from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. Here is a short summary of chapters 17-20.

Malala starts off the chapter with talking about the women in Swat that have lost their husbands, by lost in this context means being taken from the army or ISI during the military campaign that, in hopes, would restore government control. These women have no idea if their husbands and sons are still alive, and because of that, Muslim women cannot remarry unless their husbands are confirmed to be dead, meaning they have no way to support themselves. These women go to Malala’s father who is the spokesperson for Swat and the bridge between the people of Swat and the government. Not only where hundreds of men going missing in Swat but all over Pakistan.

While men are disappearing and women are facing persecutions, the courts are dealing with the radical campaign of General Zia and the Blasphemy Law. The Blasphemy Law protects the Holy Quran from dishonor, but the law was made stricter, resulting in punishments being either life imprisonment or death. These punishments could now be televised, and outrage struck.A Christian woman by the name of Asia Bibi was sentenced to a year in prison and then executed because many said she violated the Holy Quran. Many people spoke for her and the end result was them being killed and the murderers, as Malala stated, were being “garland” for their acts.

All the while this is happening, we are reminded of all the great things that Malala has been doing at such young age. She was nominated for many awards and with those awards she was able to help rebuild the girl’s university and help her family. This brought fear to her family because she now was in the public eye and could become a target. All those fears became a reality when a New York journalist mentioned to Malala that she is being threatened by the Taliban.

They had no idea at the time and Malala did not take the threats seriously until the authorities got involved. This created uncertainty and fear that her father started to question if they should continue with their campaign, but of course Malala did not want to stop. In the end they returned home to Swat and made alterations to their home to stay safe. Malala talks about one of her school trips and how it all came crashing down when the school was the topic of bad propaganda by the Taliban. This caused outrage and fear because so many people did not question the propaganda. This became true when Malala’s father feared his life and had to change his daily routine in order to stay safe. This had not only affected her father, but it started to leave Malala in a state of uncertainty.

Anxiety would set in when she would walk down the street and late at night. Malala would get up after everyone was asleep and check every door and window to make sure everything was locked, then go back to her room and pray. As Malala does throughout the book, she brings you back to the realization that she was just 15 years old, and that even though she was fearing for her life, at the same time she was fearing for her exams. After her first exam on October 8, 2012, she went home on the second bus. This was the day the bus was halted by two men who came around to the back of the bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” then three-gun shots went off.

“I didn’t get a chance to answer their question “Who is Malala” or I would have explained to them why they should let us girls go to school as well as their own sisters and daughters” (Malala 242)

The reason we are doing this Book Club Blog is to have everyone updated in order for anyone to join at any time! Register for personal calendar invites to join!

The next and final meeting will cover chapters 21-24.

As we finish the semester, we will make sure to include these items in each post:

  • Check out our Frequently Asked Questions webpage to see if we have an answer to any questions you may have. If you don't see your question on there, feel free to send us an email at cwge@unco.edu with your question(s) and we'll add it to our webpage!
  • If you don't have I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban already (don't worry because we didn't either), you can find or gain access to it in many ways. We did a little of the work and put together a document with some options.

Thank you for your interest in our Fall 2020 book club! If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please feel free to reach out to us at cwge@unco.edu. We are excited and hope to see you all at the next meeting!

Stay involved with us in-between meetings!

CWGE website | cwge@unco.edu

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram