Banned from school

After the ban, the Taliban continued to destroy schools in the area. On 19 January, Yousafzai wrote

“Five more schools have been destroyed, one of them was near my house. I am quite surprised, because these schools were closed so why did they also need to be destroyed?”

But Yousafzai did not stop thinking about her education. Five days later in her blog, she wrote about studying for her exams: “Our annual exams are due after the vacations but this will only be possible if the Taleban allow girls to go to school. We were told to prepare certain chapters for the exam but I do not feel like studying”.

he also criticizes the Pakistani military’s operations many times.

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.

To gain the sympathy of the public, the Pakistani military had taken to throwing toffees from helicopters, but it did not last long. “Whenever we hear the choppers flying we run out and wait for the toffees but it does not happen anymore”, Yousafzai wrote on 26 January. Two days later, Yousafzai traveled to Islamabad with her parents, but despite the havoc of the Swat Valley, she could not resist making comparisons: “It is my first visit to the city. It’s beautiful with nice bungalows and wide roads. But as compared to my Swat city it lacks natural beauty”.After Islamabad, the family traveled to Peshawar, where they stayed briefly with relatives. Yousafzai writes about her five-year-old brother who was playing in the lawn. Her father asked him what he was doing, and he replied “I am making a grave”. The war was taking a toll on both her brothers. On the road to Bannu their bus hit a pothole, waking her 10-year-old brother, who asked their mother, “Was it a bomb blast?”In Bannu, where women customarily wear veils, Yousafzai “refused to wear one on the grounds that I found it difficult to walk with it on”.

By February 2009, Yousafzai was back in Swat, but girls’ schools were still closed. In solidarity, private schools for boys had decided not to open until 9 February, and notices appeared saying so. But no such notices had been displayed outside girls’ schools.On 7 February, Yousafzai and a brother returned to their hometown of Mingora, where the streets were deserted, and there was an “eerie silence”. “We went to supermarket to buy a gift for our mother but it was closed, whereas earlier it used to remain open till late. Many other shops were also closed”, she writes in her blog. Their home was burglarized and their television stolen.

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