“I was ten when the Taliban came to our valley. Moniba and I had been reading the Twilight books and longed to be vampires. It seemed to us that the Taliban arrived in the night just like vampires.”
Moniba is Malala’s best friend, classmate and fellow over-achiever, and together they are the one thing that much of the Malala coverage in the last week has failed to keep in mind: regular teenagers.
Like most of the world, I have a touch of Malala Fever. It’s hard not to. When I was 16, I could barely drag myself to school in time for first period, let alone be bothered to defend my right to attend at all. Surely if someone had stopped my bus (or 1993 Dodge Neon) mid-commute and shot me in the face over the matter, I’d have given up education entirely. Sorry pre-calculus — shot in the face. So long gym requirement — shot in the face. And so on.
But Malala, as we all know, did no such thing. After being shot in the eye socket over her (and her father’s) advocation of girl’s education, she became a global activist. At 16, the girl has already been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, won the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and appeared on The Daily Show. Oh and right: [co]-written a book.