Malala: The Family's Answer to Bullets is Books

26/10/2012 15:50 BST | Updated 26/12/2012 10:12 GMT

Seeing parents visit their sick child in hospital always reminds us all of how fragile life can be.

But as the parents of 15-year-old Malala Yousoufzai visit their daughter I am also reminded of how strong the human spirit can be.

For we are learning that Malala's recovery is continuing to astound the doctors - she's talking now - and her father brought her some school books so that she could continue her education from her hospital bed. That's a message to those who tried to kill her that will reverberate throughout the world.

Her answer to their bullets? Books.

The worldwide condemnation which followed the cold-blooded attempt to murder Malala as she travelled to school has turned this 15-year-old schoolgirl into a global symbol of courage.

Those responsible, a extremist Taliban terrorist group, have vowed to kill her if she recovers because her determination to go to school is representative of Western ideas.

But her family has indicated that when she is better they will return to Pakistan to live, undeterred by the threats against them. The Pakistan Government has promised to protect them as much as they can. But they must know the risk they are taking - Malala is now a powerful force.

Before coming to Birmingham to meet Malala's family, I spent Monday evening at the Pakistan High Commission in London, where dozens of concerned and kindly middle aged men stood in turn to talk about and to honour this girl whom they hope will become a catalyst for change in their country.

They sense her power - even though or perhaps, especially because she is only a schoolgirl asking for nothing more then the right to go to school.

Malala's injuries are a reminder of how much politics can affect an individual, but her recovery is proof of how much an individual can affect politics.

Were Malala at school here she would be just starting Year 9 and beginning her GCSEs full of hope and ambition.

The recovery of this young school girl may help to bring about change, and is already challenging the extremists at great personal risk.

Malala's parents hope their daughter's determination to continue her education unbowed will strengthen the cause of female education in places where some oppose it.

And what Malala's two concerned parents must hope for most is that their daughter continues to make a full recovery.

Her power to make a difference depends on that.

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