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'Thank God I'm not dead': Malala's first thought after attack

London, Oct 6, 2013 (PTI): 13:15 IST
Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai waves her RAW in War Anna Politkovskaya Award while giving a speech after receiving the award at the Southbank Centre in London. Reuters
"Thank God I'm not dead", was the first thought that came to the mind of a terrified Pakistani teenage rights activist Malala Yousufzai on waking up in a British hospital after being shot in the head by the Taliban.

Malala, 16, has stated this in her autobiography "I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban", according to extracts of the book published in the Sunday Times.

In the extracts from her book which is to be published on Tuesday, Malala, the front-runner to win the Nobel Peace Prize to be announced on October 11, said she remembered almost nothing of the attack that took place on October 9 last year.

In the book, she gives an elaborate account of the time when she woke up in the hospital after the attack, saying, "I woke on October 16, a week after the shooting. The first thing I thought was, 'Thank God I'm not dead'.

"All sorts of questions flew through my waking brain: where was I? Who had brought me there? Where were my parents? Was my father alive? I was terrified. The only thing I knew was that Allah had blessed me with a new life," Malala is quoted as saying in the book by the paper.

Malala also gives an account of the deadly Taliban attack which was narrated to her by friends who witnessed the attack.

Describing the attack, Malala writes in the book that "a young bearded man stepped into the road and waved the van down. As he was speaking to the driver another young man approached the back.

"The man was wearing a peaked cap and had a handkerchief over his nose and mouth as if he had flu. He looked like a college student. He swung himself onto the tailboard at the back and leaned in right over us," Malala writes.

She then says that the man then demanded "Who is Malala?".

"No one said anything, but several of the girls looked at me. I was the only girl with my face not covered. That's when he lifted up a black pistol, a Colt .45. Some of the girls screamed. My friends say he fired three shots. The first went through my left eye socket and out under my left shoulder," she writes.


"I slumped forward onto Moniba (friend), blood coming from my left ear, so the other two bullets hit those near to me. One bullet went into Shazia's (friend) left hand. The third went through her left shoulder and into the upper right arm of another girl, Kainat Riaz," the extract from the book says.

Malala says in the book that her friends later told her the gunman's hand was shaking as he fired.

After the shooting that took place in the restive Swat valley, a Pakistani military neurosurgeon had carried out an emergency operation and then Malala was flown to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham for further treatment.

Malala also recalls in the book that a doctor gave her an alphabet board and she spelled out the words "country" and "father".

"The nurse told me I was in Birmingham, but I had no idea where that was... The nurses weren't telling me anything. Even my name. Was I still Malala?" she was quoted as saying in the book.

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