WE all know Malala the victim, Malala the activist, and Malala the icon. What we only get glimpses of, however, is Malala the 16-year old girl. Despite being catapulted into the world stage, she’s still a young lady who, like many her age, enjoys a good joke, fights with her younger brothers and is also a fan of the Twilight series of movies predominantly enjoyed by teenage girls the world over.

“I like Edward the vampire, more than Jacob the werewolf because vampires live forever,” she says as she refers to the central characters of Twilight, between whom the leading lady of the series has to choose.

“It’s fun to get away from the real world and enter a new world where you can take your mind away from your daily life. I think that’s really important,” she says in an interview with Dawn newspaper and CityFM 89.

But the real world just won’t be denied. It’s been a busy week for this child activist. There have been dozens of interviews, a book launch, meetings with global leaders and celebrities alike, an invitation to Buckingham Palace and — last but never least — talk of a Nobel prize.

Is that a fair burden to place on these shoulders? Will the prize, as some have argued, prevent her from enjoying a ‘normal’ life?

“I do want to enjoy my life,” she says after a moment of consideration. “But if I have to give up a few minutes of playing cricket, or fighting with my brothers, then that’s what I’ll do. What’s important to me is the cause of education and I want to fight for those millions of children who are out of school, who are suffering from terrorism, or are forced to labour, who do not even have food to eat or who are homeless. If I have to give up a little normality for that, then that’s what I’ll do.”

But does she feel she deserves the prize itself?

“In my opinion I haven’t done enough to deserve the prize,” she replies candidly. “There are a lot of people who deserve the prize and I think I still have a lot of work to do.”

From there the conversation turns to her family. We’ve heard a great deal about her father, who has clearly been a major influence on her life but what about her mother? What has her role been through these trying times?

“People only know about my father, but my mother loves me and has always supported me and encouraged me. She’s a great woman! She never stopped me or my father from continuing our campaign and always told me I was doing the right thing.” The attack, the coma and the very fact of moving away from home has, however, been hard on Malala’s mother. “It was hard for her when she saw I could not smile, that the left side of my face was paralysed. Even my voice changed and it was very tough on her. I lost hearing in one ear and that too was hard for her because she’s a mother and she wants her daughter to be perfect. Even today she prays constantly that I should be the same Malala I was then, before the attack. I think God is listening to her prayers because I’m recovering every day,” she says.

Adjusting to life in the UK has been difficult for Malala as well. “At home I was just Malala, but here they treat me differently. I think my personality of being ‘only Malala’ or being a normal child…that’s gone now.” There’s a note of sadness in her voice as she says this, but then she perks up the very next instant. “I think it will get better with time,” she says.

“There’s no sun here in Birmingham,” she sighs as she recalls the valley of Swat where she was born and grew up. It is clear that, despite the global platform she now occupies, she misses her home. That begs the question: Will she ever come home?

“Yes,” she replies without hesitation. “I love my home and I miss it and I now realise how beautiful Swat is and how precious Pakistan is. I’ll come home as soon as possible but first I have to empower myself with knowledge, I need to study hard and equip myself with the weapons of education. So yes, I’ll be back as soon as possible and I’ll continue my campaign for education.

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Comments (21)

October 9, 2013 8:54 am

Wish you all the great success in your life. And May you Live Long. ALLAH is the most merciful and a great protector.

October 9, 2013 9:21 am

A very Brave and Confident girl. That's our MALALA. Pakistan Loves you....keep following your dream!

October 9, 2013 10:16 am

You go girl.Bless your precious heart.

sartaj hussain
October 9, 2013 10:29 am

not to come to Pakistan soon

October 9, 2013 10:55 am

Please, don't go back -- they will kill you. God bless you. This world, especially the Muslim world needs more people like you. Once again, please don't go back.

October 9, 2013 11:23 am

Nah. She aint coming back. No one comes back to Pakistan after living abroad. All talk...

October 9, 2013 12:23 pm

Is the writers' mental level below than a 16 year old? Her whole family were either spying or just created this whole drama to get benefits like going abroad or any other material benefits. Why don't you tell that why his father gave her such a bad name? Why he didn't used his son for that matter? So many girls in the country face the odds yet people are giving credit to one. What good has she done? The drama of an attempt to kill her is not gonna fool everyone.

October 9, 2013 12:26 pm

The fact is still hiden behind the story of Malala's and her family travel from Pakistan to US & Euorpean countries. Do they are fair to Pakistan or ?????

October 9, 2013 12:28 pm

Bravo! the young Malala is hitting sixes over sixes. The only thing I assume negative would be the wrong handling of the young girl. May Allah bless her and protect her from all bad happenings and give her courage to get her noble mission accomplished with her own will and god gifted powers and not by any other influence.

adil zareef
October 9, 2013 1:58 pm

malala is a source of great pride and admiration for pakistan since its been designated as an "epicentre of terrorism" by its detractors world wide and not without reason.

why should malala be in birmingham in the first place when the pakistan army rules the roost in swat and other areas of KP and balochistan?

what's the need of such a huge army when it cannot protect its own citizens from the mayhem and destruction wreaked by a few thugs and madmen?

is it "strategic depth" or "strategic death" that poor people like malala and others have to suffer till the beasts are taken off by some supernatural power and not the military that is playing footsie with them......at the cost of so much suffering and bad name to pakistanis in the world

October 9, 2013 2:29 pm

Stay away and live!

October 9, 2013 2:31 pm

Hey Malala .... there are many other countries in the world with sunshine .... try visiting Australia

October 9, 2013 4:24 pm

She shouldn't.

October 9, 2013 6:13 pm

Pakistan needs to stand firm with her.

V. C. Bhutani
October 9, 2013 7:07 pm

When she comes, she'll be killed. A nation that could not protect Benazir Bhutto shall not strain to protect Malala Yusufzai.

Adam memon
October 9, 2013 7:54 pm

Great lady. Keep it up. Our prayers are with you.

October 9, 2013 8:19 pm

@sikander: Allah , The Most Merciful! Really? Why does Allah think of protecting countless numbers of people who are the victims of so many tragedies caused by man and nature? Why did he do to prevent terrorists inflict body harm to Malala?

October 9, 2013 8:48 pm

who is she? it seems she is being forced on us .......

October 9, 2013 10:15 pm

It has been a year since Malala was brutally shot in the head by the Taliban. To make matters worse, they proudly claimed responsibility of shooting a 15 year old girl. Recently, again they issued new threats to kill her. Should we be surprised? No! What else would we expect from cowards who shoot little girls? Some cynics question as to why the western world is so interested in Malala, and why has she been awarded numerous peace prizes. The reason is very obvious. Since she was 10 years old, Malala has been an advocate for girl’s education, when the Taliban closed down Schools in the Swat Valley. She had become a symbol of “girl power” worldwide with her blog on the BBC, titled, “A Dairy of A Pakistani Girl.” Today, Malala has survived and is a great ambassador of peace for Pakistan. In her speech at the United Nations, and elsewhere, she promotes Pakistan and her quest for education. Can anyone deny that the Taliban have always shown that they are afraid of the power of education. They betray the very name they have taken for themselves “Taliban”. “Talibs” do not stop others from gaining knowledge, it is the birth right of every human being. A nation can only progress if its children are educated and have the ability to think. Taliban have shown over and over that they do not adhere to that thinking.

Abdul Quddus DET-United States Central Command,

October 9, 2013 10:43 pm

@amna:, If Malala is not welcome in Pakistan as the mullah directed followers may try to kill her again she would be welcome in India where the people are not close minded. She has undergone suffering in Pakistan for her age and here you read that she and her family are making money out of it. How many others have suffered like her for women education in Pakistan

October 11, 2013 7:33 pm

@KhanChengezKhan: Malala never went to USA she came straight here in an Air Ambulance supplied by the United Arab Emirates get your facts right please.

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