Malala On Homesickness, Importance Of Girls’ Education, And Dual Welcome
- IWB Post
- March 31, 2018
“I had never been so excited for anything. I’ve never been so happy before,” said an elated Malala who has returned to her homeland after six long years.
Malala Yousafzai has seen a lot since she left Pakistan for the UK in 2012. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for advocating girls’ education. She was moved for the treatment to the UK and since then has been living and continuing her education in the UK.
After her move to the UK, she co-wrote ‘I Am Malala’, started “Malala Fund” and became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate in 2014. “My initial plan was that I would continue my education, I would continue speaking out for the girls who cannot go to school … and one day once I finish my secondary education, I will apply to Oxford,” said Malala in an interaction with Reuters.
She added, “So it was in my plan … I did not know that this attack would happen and I would move to the UK, but I wanted to focus on Pakistan and continue to do as much as I could for girls education.”
Malala shared how she has been longing to be home but couldn’t do it owing to security concerns and her Oxford entrance. She certainly has seen a lot of life and the world while she was away from Pakistan but that didn’t stop her from pinning for her homeland.
“I miss everything about Pakistan … right from the rivers, the mountains, to even the dirty streets and the garbage around our house, and my friends and how we used to have gossip and talk about our school life, to how we used to fight with our neighbours,” she said.
But again the yearning can’t erase the horrors that she once lived among in Pakistan. She recollects, “I still remember each and every moment, right from the fear while sleeping at night that you might not be alive the next day, the fear that if you are going to school, someone might stop you and throw acid in your face.”
Despite her being hailed globally, the reception back at home is quite different as people have contrasting views about her. While a part of the Pakistani population hails her as the ultimate champion of women’s rights, the other part looks at her as somebody propagating anti-Pakistani sentiments.
A group of private schools in Pakistan have decided to mark Fridays to be “I Am Not Malala Day”, as the flag bearers of the moment think that Malala advocates an “anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan ideology”.
Talking about the issue she said, “I just don’t know anything I have said that makes me anti-Pakistan or anti-Islam. Islam has taught me the importance of peace. Islam has taught me the importance of education. The first word of Islam, or the first word of the Koran, is ‘Iqra’ which means ‘read’.”
During her time in Pakistan, Malala would be discussing the prospects of promoting education in less-developed areas with authorities and is thus back with a mission. At a reception in her honour, she was officially welcomed by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi where he acknowledged her work and efforts.
Malala discussed extremism and terrorism in Swat as she spoke at the event. She also talked about the importance of educating girls. She said “We need to invest in the education of the children in Pakistan. Malala Fund has already spent more than $6 million in Pakistan for the education of girls.”
As she talked about how she had missed Pakistan Malala broke down in tears. She said as she sobbed, “I still cannot believe this is happening. I have dreamed of this day for five years. All the time I was in cars and planes around the world, I used to tell myself that I am back home in Pakistan. And it was never true.”