No child returns home from school with the expectation of being shot in the head. Yet, Malala Yousufzai knew that she was a target, as was her father. She was shot by the Taliban as she was in the school pick-and-drop bus, survived and is today a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. On her sixteenth birthday, she addressed the UN and has received many awards from international organisations for her determined fight for children’s education everywhere in the world. She has co-authored a book that will, in all likelihood, become a best seller and make her a considerable amount of money. Whether or not she wins the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala has become a global phenomenon, something she could never have anticipated a year ago. Then, she and her father enjoyed only limited fame — or notoriety — in part for her appearances on BBC Urdu via a blog she authored on life as a child under the Taliban in the Swat Valley.
In attempting, and failing, to kill her, the Taliban unwittingly made a rod for their own back and there have been reports of them saying, even as recently as two days back, that if they ever got the chance to kill her again, they would.
It is no exaggeration to say that Malala is today the most famous and recognisable citizen of Pakistan in the world, and should in a just world, be celebrated in her home country. Yet, despite her stated desire to return to her homeland, the reality is that this is unlikely in the foreseeable future. Taliban aside, Pakistan is ambivalent at best about Malala and some see her prominence arising from some dark foreign plot, a conspiracy, and say that she and her family are tools being used by the CIA. The rest of the world sees it differently and for Malala Yousufzai, still a child but growing into a powerful woman, there is no going back from her fame. It will be both a blessing and burden to her for the rest of her life, a life she has dedicated to the fight for education for all worldwide and in that there is true courage and nobility. We obviously share the view of the rest of the world.