Sunday Inspirations: Malala Yousafzai Interview

Malala Yousafzai has to be one of the most inspiratoinal people that I have ever heard of. You can find the Malala Fund for peace and education here, you can find Her book “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” on Amazon.

“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.” –Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Wiki Bio:

Malala Yousafzai (Pashto: ملاله یوسفزۍ‎ [mə ˈlaː lə . ju səf ˈzəj]; Urdu: ملالہ یوسف زئی‎ Malālah Yūsafzay, born 12 July 1997) is a Pakistani school pupil and education activist from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She is known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. In early 2009, at the age of 11–12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls. The following summer, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region, culminating in the Second Battle of Swat. Yousafzai rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.

On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father.

The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Yousafzai. Deutsche Welle wrote in January 2013 that Malala may have become “the most famous teenager in the world.” United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Yousafzai’s name, using the slogan “I am Malala” and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015 – a petition which helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill. In the 29 April 2013 issue of Time magazine, Yousafzai was featured on the magazine’s front cover and as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”. She was the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize (although Malala was widely tipped to win the prize, it was awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons). On 12 July 2013, Yousafzai spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education, and in September 2013 she officially opened the Library of Birmingham. Yousafzai is the recipient of the Sakharov Prize for 2013.

“Strata,” by Terry Pratchett

Strata,” by Terry Pratchett

“Strata,” by Terry Pratchett: Text provided by Transworld Publishers, a division of the Random House Group Limited, and the audiobook version provided by ISIS Publishing Ltd., read by Stephen Briggs.

Reader’s Note: Just because the Review is a “no plot spoiler,” does not mean that all the links are of the same mind. Wikipedia links to the books themselves, or characters in the book, are notorious for being plot spoilers. Be warned!

Stephen Briggs and Terry Pratchett have been working very closely for several years, particularly since the onset of Pratchett’s Alzheimer’s disease. Stephen Briggs has helped in the physical production of the last few manuscripts produced by Pratchett, particularly in typing the manuscripts as Pratchett has continued to lose the effective use of his hands. Briggs has also produced on his own account The Streets of Ankh-Morpork in 1993, as well as The Discworld Mapp, A Tourist Guide to Lancre and Death’s Domain. Briggs has also written The Discworld Companion, published in 1995, and updated in 1998 and 2003.

Most particularly, Stephen Briggs has recorded, or rerecorded, virtually every published book that Terry Pratchett has published, starting with The Carpet People in 1971, and most recently at the time of this blogging Dodger in late 2012. This is mildly unfortunate as I find other readers to have a wider range of distinctive voices for character differentiation. But that is not to say, or even imply, the Stephen Briggs is a bad reader- far from it. For what Briggs may lack in variety, he more then makes up for with a complete understanding of the characters, and the world in which they operate. And Brigg’s voice is clear, relatively accent free, and one that will not bore the listener. Having listened to several volunteer recordings from sources such as Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, LibriVox.org, and BooksShouldBeFree.com, I can assure you, that last point is more important than you might think. While I might prefer one reader to another, my view is that Stephen Briggs’ the rendering is good, solid, and well worth the investment. I doubt that most listeners will be disappointed.

Strata, by Terry Pratchett, published in 1981, is billed as a comedic science fiction novel, although I find it to be a hybrid of straight science fiction, and satire. While the novel pulls together major themes of science fiction dominating from the 1950s through the 1970s, Pratchett also weaves in elements of classical fiction such as One Thousand and One Nights (Arabic: كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة‎), Midlevel Christian history, Celtic and Arthurian Legend, and the meaning of the creation of man “…in His own image” (Genesis 1:27), without directly referencing any of the above in great detail. Those familiar with these subjects though will recognize them when they appear, and I doubt that a lack of familiarity with the same subjects will hinder the enjoyment. Pratchett writes to entertain first, with literary merit taking a distant back seat. So while Pratchett may be Guilty of Literature, he is certainly not above telling a fart joke, especially if it is also implicitly bawdy.

The novel opens with a very telling quote:

“I met a mine foreman who has a piece of coal with a 1909 gold sovereign embedded in it. I saw an ammonite, apparently squashed in the fossil footprint of a sandal.
There is a room in the basement of the Natural History Museum which they keep locked. Among other oddities in there are the tyrannosaurus with a wristwatch and the Neanderthal skull with gold fillings in three teeth.
What are you going to do about it?”
–Dr. Carl Untermond, “The Overcrowded Eden.”

If you stop to pounder this quote, which I must admit, I never did until I started to write this review, or more precisely, until a few seconds prior to composing this sentence, you will find a key to the entire mystery of this story. As Paul Griner once asked his creative writing students; “Did any of you bother to look at the quote? Whenever an author takes the time to quote another author, even a fictitious author, it’s important- even if it turns out later to be misdirection.” I would also mention that Terry Pratchett loves puns, and is extraordinarily good at constructing them.

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