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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-10-09

The autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for supporting girls’ education, will be released on Tuesday, a day before the one-year anniversary of the Taliban attack that almost killed her.

A biography of the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for supporting girls’ education will be released on Tuesday, a day before the one-year anniversary of the Taliban attack aboard a school bus that almost killed her.

Malala Yousafzai’s story is detailed in "I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban", co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb, and tells of the day two Taliban gunmen boarded her school bus on October 9, 2012, and shot her in the head.

"My friends say he fired three shots, one after another," she writes. "… By the time we got to the hospital my long hair and Moniba's (a friend’s) lap were full of blood."

Malala now lives in Birmingham, where she received specialist medical treatment after the shooting. The book also tells of her homesickness and her struggle to adjust to life in England.

She has struggled to make friends at her new English school, she reveals, and spends hours talking to her old friends in Swat using Skype.

The book describes her shock when she first saw scantily clad girls going out at night in Birmingham, and her amazement at seeing men and women openly socialising in coffee shops.

But she says there is much to like about life in England -- "people follow the rules, they respect policemen and everything happens on time" she writes. "I see women having jobs we couldn't imagine in Swat."

Malala has been invited to a Buckingham Palace reception to meet Queen Elizabeth II, officials said Sunday, at an October 18 event hosted by the queen and Prince Philip to promote education in Commonwealth countries.

She has also been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, which will be awarded on Friday.

Taliban vows to target Malala again

The book describes life under the Taliban after they took over northwest Pakistan's Swat Valley in 2009 and established sharia law, which introduced public floggings and a ban on television, dancing and music.

Malala became known as a young, outspoken campaigner for the right of girls to attend school even under Taliban rule, speaking out against their ban on female education and the Taliban’s campaign to bomb local schools.

She received numerous death threats in the months before the assassination attempt.

"At night I would wait until everyone was asleep," she writes. "Then I'd check every single door and window."

The Pakistani Taliban said Monday that Malala had "no courage" and vowed to attack her again if they got the chance.

The Yousafzai family fled Swat along with nearly one million others in 2009 amid heavy fighting between the Taliban and Pakistani troops.

Malala praises her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, describing how he worked to set up his own school and risked his life by speaking out against the Taliban.

She frequently cites Pakistan’s late prime minister Benazir Bhutto as a role model, and makes clear her ambition is to one day return to her homeland and become a politician, despite the continued threats from the Taliban.

"I was spared for a reason -- to use my life for helping people," she writes.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-10-08


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