The Making of Malala
In a country where only nine countries spend less on education, would you fight for education, not only for your family business of a girls school, but also for the region?
The scene opens with education activist, Malala Yousafzai, marking her 16th birthday, on Friday, 12 July 2013 at the United Nations by giving her first high-level public appearance and statement on the importance of education.
“Dear friends, on the ninth of October two thousand and twelve, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends, too. They thought the bullet would silence us – but they failed.” -Malala Yousafzai
Although there’s a montage of news coverage about Malala and all her efforts, Adam Ellick had already made two documentaries of her before she became a “star” and narrates the backstory of a young girl, her ambitious father, the media and the role that we all played in her rise and in the tragedy that almost took her life.
Before she made headline news, she’s shown with perfect skin, spoke only when spoken to, and was articulate of her goals in contrast to her father’s aspirations for her. In spite of her initial desire to be a doctor and her father wanting her to be a politician, it was clear that her father, Ziauddin, was the most influential person in her life – a self-made man who was a poet, an idealist and a man of contradiction.
When Adam and Ziauddin first met, Ziauddin owned a girls school and was scrambling to save his family business, as the Taliban announced on the radio that girls were banned from going to school in Swat. Ziauddin was ready to die for this cause because he saw that education for girls was noble. He was already well known as an activist in the region and he brought the face of his daughter in front of the cameras to bolster the cause. Little did he and the producers at The New York Times realize, it wasn’t the safety of the father they would have to worry about but his daughter’s.
Producers: Adam B. Ellick, Gabe Johnson
Additional Video: Inam-ur-Rehman for The New York Times, Khyber TV, AAJ TV, DAWN, ISPR, Zamaswat.com, Atv, United Nations
Photography: Getty, AP, Reuters
Music: Raqs E Khatbootar, Shamsuddin Masroor Rubab Instrumental