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Malala Yousafzai

by Indi R., Brilliant Contributor, The Brilliant Foundation 


In this series, we look towards the young – teenagers who have written a narrative poem of an individual from herstory. From our youngest contributor, Indi, 13 years of age has chosen Malala Yousafzai as her inspiration.

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani female education activist and the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate at the age of 17. She is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate in history, the second Pakistani and the only Pashtun to receive a Nobel Prize.

“Who is Malala” demanded the Taliban,

My heart sank into my stomach, everyone fell silent.

One by one, eyes trained towards me.

I squeezed Mobina’s hand, tight.

He revealed a black pistol, pointing it straight at my head,

“He wouldn’t? On a school bus?

 I am going to die, I am going to die.”

These words spiralled round in my head, over and over.

BANG, BANG, BANG! Three bullets were fired,

They pierced me, biting through my skin like soulless predators.

Pain. Excruciating pain.

Everything went black.

Years before, the Taliban began to overrun,

Slowly at first, masquerading as good,

‘Sharia law is God’s will’,

Depriving us of many things.

They took away our fun, our freedom, our future.

But only us, not the men.

They forced new laws, cruel unfair new laws.

Suffocating us like a burqa.

No more education

No leaving the home without my father, brother, or husband.

No more dancing or sport,

No more television or music.

But only us, not the men.

“How is this God’s will?”

“How does this benefit Pakistan?”

There is no way.

This is simply not fair.


Years passed, as our lives got smaller.

We are now dogs, servants, waste.

Without an education, there is no hope.

This is not life, I am worth more.

A fire ignited inside me.

I must fight back, I must reclaim my rights.

I must find a voice.

The BBC showed me a path.

I seized it, I want the world to know, everything.

The Diary of a Pakistani Girl was the voice.

My stories were heard across the world.

The Taliban did not like that.

As a twelve-year-old schoolgirl, I became enemy number one.


It took years but finally, our government defeated them,

We rejoiced as the seed of change took hold.

Was it over, was it finally over?

We were allowed back to school,

But it was not the same.

They were still here.

Hiding in the shadows, but not gone.


He assertively stood in the centre of the bus,

“Who is Malala.” He demanded.

10 days later, I found myself in hospital.

Where am I? What happened?

The man in the white coat spoke,

“The bullets passed through your eye and logged into your shoulder”.

I was extremely lucky to survive.

Lucky is not enough when women still don’t count.

The fire burned ever stronger.

I cannot leave this unfinished, I cannot let them win.

For all of our sake,

I have to fight back.



Learn how Malala began her fight for girls — from an education activist in Pakistan to the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate — and how she continues her campaign through Malala Fund

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