Final essay: 2,200 words

Final essay: 2,200 words

Culture Politics and Pakistan

While it is tempting to see women and young girls like Malala as victims of their own culture, but Malala makes an interesting point. She says,

“I don’t want to be thought of as the ‘girl who was shot by the Taliban’ but the ‘girl who fought for education. ’ ” (152-153)

Therefore, today’s lecture focuses on understanding Pakistani culture. We discussed a little bit of Pakistan in our last lecture but today we will discuss the factors that make it a country that has made the country vulnerable to external organizations such as The Taliban.

The History of Pakistan (1947- present)

Pakistan is a relatively young nation: It was formed in August 1947 when the British decolonized the Indian subcontinent. At the same time that the British granted India independence, they also divided it and created two countries, Pakistan and India. As I have mentioned, we will explore the 1947 Partition in detail in our third semi-autobiography – Bapsi Sidhwa’s Cracking India.

Having stoked fears on the part of Muslims that they would be oppressed in a free India, as they were outnumbered by Hindus, the British enacted a partition along religious lines. Many Muslim-majority regions formed “Pakistan,” and Hindu-majority areas were named “India.” Pakistan became independent on Aug. 14, 1947, and India on Aug. 15, 1947.

The history of pakistan (1977-1988)

1977-1988 – The radicalization of the unemployed and disenfranchised youth by then military dictator , Zia ul Haq both in terms of civil and state society.

While religious parties were able to consolidate popular support from a largely uneducated and unemployed youth, as there was little industry in the fledgling nation to support the growth of a middle class, the Harvard- and Oxford educated political elite often made compromises with the Army and the religious parties to preserve their power.

Malala observes in her memoir that General Zia argued that the Army’s government was “pursuing Islamic principles” and opened many religious schools across the country.


Pakistan and its Relationship with Afghanistan

Indeed, the rise to power of the Taliban in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region, formerly known as northwest Frontier Province, where Malala is from, is not unrelated to the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan during the Cold War

From 1979 to 1988, the United States covertly funded, trained, and armed mujahedeen militants through Pakistan, creating what became the Taliban to resist the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.


Military coups in Pakistan

First began in 1958 and three successful attempts (1958 – 1971, 1977 – 1988, 1999 – 2008)

1958-1971: the Pakistani President Major eneral Iskander Mirza dismissed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and the government of Prime Minister Feroz Khan Noon, appointing army commander-in-chief Gen. Ayub Khan as the Chief martial law administrator. Thirteen days later, Mirza himself was deposed by Ayub Khan, who appointed himself president.

1977-1988 (Operation Fair Play): General Zia Ul Haq took control overthrowing the more democratic prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The martial law enforced by President General Zia, it introduced the strict but modern form of conservatism which promoted the nationalistic and religious programmes.

1999-2008 – Bloodless coup-e-dat, when the Pakistan Army and then Chief of Army Staff and Chairman, General Pervez Musharraf, overthrew elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his existing elected government on 12 October 1999. Two days later, on 114 October 1999, Musharraf declared a state of emergency and issues a Provisional Constitutional Order.

Growing up in a war Zone– Chapter 21

The Taliban “might have been defeated, but their beliefs were still spreading.” (122) – limitations of civil rights.

“The bomb blasts were down to only two or three a year, and you could pass by the Green Square without seeing the aftermath of a Taliban killing spree. But true peace seemed like nothing more than a memory, a hope.” (123)

At this time, as Malala was experiencing what she called “limited peace”, she also realized her own ambitions. At this time she says, “I would do the things politicians only spoke of. And I would start with education.” (123)



“I have started having nightmares, too. Dreams where men threw acid in my face. Dreams where men snuck up behind me. Sometimes I thought I heard footsteps echoing mine when I turned down the alley in front of our house. And sometimes I turned down the alley in front of our house. And sometimes I imagined figures slipping into the shadows when I passed. I imagined figures slipping into the shadows when I passed.” (126)

Living in a war zone, young children are exposed to copious amounts of death, violence, and so on. Nightmares are a side effect of this type of trauma.

The Shooting

”Just after we passed the Little Giants snack factory, the road became oddly quiet and the bus slowed down to a halt. I don’t remember a young man stopping us and asking the driver if this was the Khushal School bus. I don’t remember the other man jumping onto the tailboard and leaning into the back where we were all sitting. I never heard him ask, “Who is Malala?” and I didn’t hear the crack, crack, crack of the three bullets.


The last thing I remember is thinking bout my exam the next day. After that, everything went black.”


This is the moment when Malala was shot. Recalling the past lectures we have had in class, think about how she is describing the moment that changed her life.

Does she have emotions as she is describing her shooting?

Immigration versus refugee

Her new life in Birmingham

“The first word I spelled out was father. Then country.”

After waking up from the coma, it is important to note that Malala is concerned about her father and country. These two words reflect the importance of her father and his role in her life, and the passion she feels for her country. However, beknowst to her, she realizes that she is currently in Birmingham, England. This adds another dimension of complications for her.


Repetition of trauma – page 137

What had happened? I tried to remember. All sorts of images floated through my head. I didn’t know what was real and what was a dream…I am on a bus with my father and two men shoot us…I am on a stretcher , and my father is reaching out to me. I am trying to wake up, go to school, but I can’t. Then see my school and my friends and I cant reach them. I see a black man pointing a gun at me.” (137)

How is she describing the aftermath of her shooting experience?

What does she mean when she cannot decipher between “real” and ”dream”?

Chapters 26-29

Understanding the aftermath of her trauma, in these chapters, Malala is experiencing a multitude of emotions and confusion about where she is, who she is with, where she loved ones, and how she got there.

She is also psychologically in a shock. Her memory is muddled and her dreams have turned into nightmares. These are also signs of someone who is suffering from a traumatic experience.

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