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She worried about him constantly in Pakistan: that he would be targeted by the Taliban for his outspoken opinions, dragged away from the school he started, or their home, and killed.
She checked the gates and windows of their home every night.
You can take my life but please don’t kill my schoolchildren." Malala began speaking out about herself back in 2009 when she was just 12, first writing a blog for BBC Urdu under the name ‘Gul Makai’, and then finally stepping up, unbidden, to the microphone with face uncovered. Everything she has done since has been in defiance of the attempt to silence her.
"It is my own passion, my own choice that I said I will speak," she says now of the subsequent accusations that her father made her a figurehead for his own message. Her book, I am Malala: the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban (2013), and its sister book for children, Malala: the Girl who Stood up For Education and Changed the World (2014), are responses to that deadly question: Who is Malala?
"Please God, keep Malala safe today," Pekai said this morning back in Birmingham, where the family have lived since Malala was shot.
It’s a prayer just like those Malala used to say to protect her father, Ziauddin, back in Pakistan when he was the main campaigner in the family.
Malala Yousafzai sits very still, a rainbow of colour in the corner of a vast, drab, empty room.
Security personnel with earpieces and walkie-talkie equipment mill around downstairs; watching, patrolling.
They are always together at her international speaking engagements, meetings (at the UN, White House) and trips (Syria, Nigeria, the US) – and so it is at today’s international launch of He Named Me Malala.
Her mother kept a ladder against the side of the house so he could escape if he needed to.
After Malala was shot, and had lifesaving surgery on her brain, the first question she asked after waking up in hospital in Britain was, "Where’s my father?
Once, they found a letter from the Taliban taped to the gate of the Khushal Girls High School, which he ran and Malala attended.
"Sir," it said, "the school you are running is Western and infidel.