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Girls read loudly while attending a class in 2009 at a makeshift school tent in Mingora, located in Pakistan's Swat Valley, about 260 kilometres by road northwest of Islamabad. In 2009, private schools in the troubled Swat district were ordered to close by a Taliban edict banning girls’ education. About 150 schools had already been destroyed the year before. (FAISAL MAHMOOD/REUTERS)
Girls read loudly while attending a class in 2009 at a makeshift school tent in Mingora, located in Pakistan's Swat Valley, about 260 kilometres by road northwest of Islamabad. In 2009, private schools in the troubled Swat district were ordered to close by a Taliban edict banning girls’ education. About 150 schools had already been destroyed the year before. (FAISAL MAHMOOD/REUTERS)

In her words: Malala Yousafzai’s chronicle of life under the Taliban Add to ...

 

THURSDAY, JAN. 22: VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION

I am quite bored sitting at home following the closures of schools.

Some of my friends have left Swat because the situation here is very dangerous. I do not leave home. At night Maulana Shah Dauran [the Taliban cleric who announced the ban on girls attending school] once again warned females not to leave home.

The Taliban routinely carry out public floggings in Swat. He also warned that they would blow up those schools which are used by the security forces as security posts.

Father told us that security forces have arrived at the boys’ and girls’ school in Haji Baba area. May God keep them safe. Maulana Shah Dauran also said in his speech on FM radio that three "thieves" will be lashed tomorrow and whoever wants to see can come and watch.

I am surprised that when we have suffered so much, why people still go and watch such things? Why also doesn’t the army stop them from carrying out such acts? I have seen wherever the army is there is usually a Taliban member nearby, but where there is a Taliban member the army will always not go.

 

SATURDAY, JAN. 24: ‘MAKING A GRAVE’

The only good thing that has come out of the war in Swat is that our father has taken us away from Mingora (the largest city in the Swat valley) to many other cities. We arrived in Peshawar from Islamabad yesterday. In Peshawar we had tea at one of our relative’s houses before travelling to Bannu.

My five-year-old brother was playing on the lawn. When my father asked him what he was playing, he replied "I am making a grave."

Later we went to a bus stand to travel to Bannu. The wagon was old and the driver was using his horn excessively. On our way the vehicle hit a pot-hole – and at the same time the horn started blowing – waking up my 10-year-old brother.

He was very scared and asked our mother: "Was it a bomb blast?" On arrival in Bannu, we found my father’s friend waiting for us. He is also a Pashtun but his family spoke a Bannu dialect so we could not understand him clearly.

We went to the bazaar and then to the park. Here women have to wear a veil – called a shuttle veil – whenever they leave their homes. My mother also wore one but I refused to wear one on the grounds that I found it difficult to walk with it on.

Compared with Swat, there is relative peace in Bannu. Our hosts told us that there was a Taliban presence was in the area but there was not as much unrest as in Swat. They said that the Taliban had threatened to close down the schools, but they were still open.

 

SATURDAY, JAN. 24 : NO NAMES ON THE HONOURS BOARD

Our annual exams are due after the vacations but this will only be possible if the Taliban allow girls to go to school. We were told to prepare certain chapters for the exam but I do not feel like studying.

As from yesterday the army has taken control of the educational institutions for protection. It seems that it is only when dozens of schools have been destroyed and hundreds others closed down that the army thinks about protecting them. Had they conducted their operations here properly, this situation would not have arisen.

Muslim Khan [a Swat Taliban spokesman] has said that those schools housing the army would be attacked. We will be more afraid of having the army in our schools than ever. There is a board in our school which is called the Honours Board. The name of the girl achieving the highest marks in annual exams is put on this board. It seems that no names will be put on it this year.

 

MONDAY, JAN. 26 : HELICOPTER TOFFEES

I woke to the roar of heavy artillery fire early in the morning. Earlier we were afraid of the noise of helicopters and now the artillery. I remember the first time when helicopters flew over our house on the start of an operation. We got so scared that we hid.

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