Hopes, fears and the diary of Malala Yousufzai



Islamabad: "I was afraid of going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools," wrote Malala Yousufzai in her diary in 2009. The Pakistani teenager on Thursday recuperates in a hospital after being shot at by the Taliban.

Malala wrote the diary for the BBC in Urdu under her pen name Gul Makai.

The diary offers a peep into the mind of a young girl who pines for education and seeks peace in her troubled land.

On January 3, 2009, she wrote: "I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban. I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. I was afraid of going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools. Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. The number decreased because of Taliban's edict."

"On my way from school to home I heard a man saying 'I will kill you'. I hastened my pace... to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone."

Two days later, she wrote: "I was getting ready for school and was about to wear my uniform when I remembered that our principal had told us not to wear uniforms and come to school wearing normal clothes instead."

"So I decided to wear my favourite pink dress. Other girls in school were also wearing colourful dresses. During the morning assembly we were told not to wear colourful clothes as the Taliban would object to it."

The diary turns progressively more grim as the days pass and the Taliban stranglehold tightens.

On January 14, 2009, wrote Malala: "I was in a bad mood while going to school because winter vacations are starting from tomorrow. The principal announced the vacations but did not mention the date the school would reopen."

"The girls were not too excited about vacations because they knew if the Taliban implemented their edict [banning girls' education] they would not be able to come to school again. I am of the view that the school will one day reopen but while leaving I looked at the building as if I would not come here again."

A day later, she had an interrupted sleep as "the night was filled with the noise of artillery fire and I woke up three times".

"But since there was no school I got up later at 10 am. Afterwards, my friend came over and we discussed our homework. Today is the last day before the Taliban's edict comes into effect, and my friend was discussing homework as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened."

IANS