Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bon's Book Club-I am Malala

This month's selection was I am Malala

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this book or story here is a brief synopsis taken from Amazon...
"When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons".

The questions for this month's discussion are as follows
What was the most inspiring or interesting thing about the reading to you?
The most inspiring thing to me was Malala's love for education. Here in America where education is taken for granted by many, it meant something totally different to Malala. I can remember going to classes in college, doing what I needed to do to just to  pass the class. Malala put forth all her best effort, continuously striving to learn more, get good grades and be the best in a country in which women are not expected to go to school. In fact, they are expected to drop out of school, get married and have kids! It reminded me of something my Grandma used to tell me, She would say "Katie, an education is something no one can every take away from you, no matter what" How true that is in Malala's case. Education  and the opportunity to learn and go to school is not something that should ever be taken for granted

  Why do you think the Taliban is so threatened by the education of women? Why do they put up such a protest?
I talked with my husband about this book in length. Obviously having been deployed to Afghanistan and other muslim countries he has a lot more background and perspective on this culture than I do. From this book and my husband's info I feel that the Taliban is threatened by the education of women because in their minds an educated women would be a threat to their overall goals of their establishment of an ultra conservative Islamic republic.
In their culture men are valued more than woman. Males are celebrated at birth and are given many opportunities to women. Women basically grow up to be wives and mother's

  Malala's dad encourages Malala to speak up against the Taliban in spite of dangers while the mother wishes Malala were less involved, especially after Malala's life is threatened.  If you were Malala's parent would you encourage her to be a voice for such an important cause in spite of dangers or would you encourage her to protect herself?
After reading this book I read some articles and watched some news clips about Malala and her father. I found one on Youtube that was taped before the shooting and basically the narrator and interviewer of the film stated that he felt Malala's father was grooming and using his daughter to further his political career. Some felt she was just a chess piece he was playing to get farther along in politics.
I did not feel that way when I read this book. I felt that Malala is a very educated young women, wise beyond her years. She knew the options for women in her culture and she wanted a better life for herself and for other girls out there.
As a parent I can understand why her mother wanted to protect her after the shooting and prevent her from speaking out but to me that mean admitting defeat and letting the Taliban win. Which of course is their ultimate goal. Hiding from something does not change anything, nor does it make it go away. Malala is now a beacon of hope to many in her country, not only for forcing people to face up to the unequal rights between men and women, but in standing up to the Taliban for what she believes is right

  Why doesn't the dad move the family from Swat valley even when it is dangerous? Do you agree with this?
I honestly would have moved my family. But for many this is not an option. To live in a place where your family has lived for centuries, where extended families live together, where one has grown up and spent their whole lives would be very hard. And probably impossible for some

 Why does Malala have such a love and passion for education? How can we instill this appreciation and desire in our students and children now?
I think Malala's dad played a huge part in her love of education. He was constantly teaching her, telling her about how important education is and pushing her to do better. I feel that as a parent an education is one of the best things we can give our kids. We need to be teach them that learning is fun. That it is important and we need to push and support them to always do their best and never take learning for granted

  What was the most surprising or shocking thing to you about the reading?
The most surprising part for me was reading about world events such as 9/11, the Taliban taking control, the start of the war from Malala's point of view. Obviously as an American you only hear the American's point of view. This put everything in a totally new perspective

 Any parts of the book that were slow or difficult for you? Why was this?
The first 100 or so pages were horribly boring and confusing at times. Don't get me wrong, I loved learning about the history of Pakistan and the Taliban. But there were some parts I never knew who she was talking about because they use the same word for many things, or she jumped around from time period to time period. I couldn't keep it all straight. But all in all this was a good read. One that really makes you think!

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