Saturday, November 07, 2015

he named me malala

I went along to the Watershed yesterday afternoon to see Davis Guggenheim’s film. Yes, we all know that Malala Yousafzai is a truly inspirational figure - a teenager who won the Nobel Peace Prize while still studying for her GCSEs in Birmingham. I knew the film would make an impressive documentary… but I was somewhat taken aback by its effect on me. Yes, I know I’m a bit of an old softie (“The Railway Children” gets me every time), but I found myself surreptitiously trying to dry my moistened eyes through large tracts of the film!
It was good to be reminded that, as a 15 year-old (before she was shot in the head), she had already been a powerful campaigner for the rights of girls to be educated (in fact, she was a campaigner for girls’ education from the age of just 11!). The story of her grotesque shooting on the school bus, her survival, her remarkable recovery, her articulation and her continuing, global campaigning are truly staggering… and she’s still only 18.
Maybe it’s because I’m the father of three wonderful daughters but, for me, one of the most powerful aspects of the film was Malala’s relationship with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai – a wonderful, gentle and wise man (who, amongst many other things, set up his own school… and, despite his stammer, has been a passionate, articulate speaker against the Taliban’s radical, ideological version of the Islamic faith)(the film includes lots of footage of him speaking at various rallies in north-west Pakistan). Malala’s father has not been the person pushing her to take a stand on issues, he has simply been someone whose passions and concerns about the world have inspired her.
Malala’s father named her after the Afghan folk heroine Malalai – a Joan of Arc figure who rallied Pashtun fighters against the British in 1880. The same moral courage and heroism is alive well today, thanks to Malala Yousafzai.
It’s a wonderful, moving, inspiring film about the strength of the human spirit and about having the bravery and courage to do something about it.
As she has said: “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world”.
Amen to that.
PS: another film that I/we had wanted to see was “Suffragette”, but the nearest cinema (within easy walking distance) was charging £13.40* for the privilege of watching it in their “Director’s Hall” (with a free drink and popcorn!)… so £4.50 at the Watershed felt like a bit of a bargain! Actually, the main reason for posting this note is that the Cinema De Lux DID do special rates for oldies like us - £13.20, instead of the full £13.40 price. A WHOLE 20p saving!! Whoop, whoop!
We’ll no doubt end up getting the DVD.   

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