Part Two

An ordinary Pakistani girl is shot by the Taliban while fighting for her right to an education. In this memoir, Malala Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, tells her story.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. terrify
    frighten greatly
    Terrifying memories of the earthquake the previous year were fresh in their minds; some of them had buried children and husbands and were still grieving.
  2. dictate
    rule unconstrained by law
    But these women, many of whom had no education and who were brought up to follow the dictates of their religious leaders, were frightened.
  3. charisma
    personal attractiveness that enables you to influence others
    People thought he was a good interpreter of the Holy Quran and admired his charisma.
    In Greek mythology, Charis was one of the three Graces, who represented charm, beauty, kindness, nature, human creativity, and fertility. Thus, the power of a charismatic person was often seen as a divine gift. Many people in Swat Valley, frightened by the earthquake, wanted to believe that the Radio Mullah was sent by God to teach them how to save themselves from further disasters.
  4. motivate
    give an incentive for action
    His followers chanted poems that sounded beautiful but were in fact messages to motivate girls to stop going to school.
  5. ignorance
    the lack of knowledge or education
    This so-called mullah is spreading ignorance.
  6. instill
    teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions
    His followers had helped so many people after the earthquake, but he was taking advantage of the trauma to instill fear in them, too.
  7. concern
    something or someone that causes anxiety
    Many of my father’s friends believed that despite how popular Fazlullah was becoming and his association with the Taliban in Pakistan, they were still too far away to be a concern, but he warned them that there would come a day when the Taliban would reach our valley.
  8. sanctuary
    a shelter from danger or hardship
    This man had just declared our peaceful sanctuary forbidden by the Holy Quran.
    Compare the example sentence to this similar one: "The Khushal School, which had always been our refuge, had fallen under the shadow of the Radio Mullah." Here, "sanctuary" is used as a synonym for "refuge" or "haven." But it can also mean "a consecrated place where sacred objects are kept." This religious overtone shows Malala's love for school, while also questioning the Radio Mullah's use of the Quran to forbid it.
  9. campaign
    a series of actions tending toward a particular end
    The Radio Mullah continued his campaign against anything he deemed un-Islamic and Western.
  10. ploy
    a maneuver in a game, conversation, or situation
    He claimed that this medical aid was not meant to help; he said it was a ploy by Western countries to harm Muslim children.
    "Ploy" is possibly a shortened form of "deploy" which means "place troops or weapons in battle formation" or "to distribute systematically or strategically." This military overtone is intended by the Radio Mullah to frighten the people. Similarly, the word "campaign" (which also means "go off to war") was used by Malala to emphasize his harmful intentions.
  11. interfere
    come between so as to be a hindrance or obstacle
    But he wasn’t just interfering with health care and speaking out against girls’ schools—he was also threatening barbers who offered so-called Western haircuts and destroying music stores.
  12. menacing
    threatening evil or danger
    His men carried guns and walked menacingly through the streets.
  13. militant
    a reformer disposed to hard-line policies
    A group of militants that had been taking an active stance against the government had now taken hostages and hidden inside the madrasa of Lai Masjid, or the Red Mosque.
  14. enforce
    ensure observance of laws and rules
    The males in the family should enforce this order, he said, and “keep tight control over their families or be punished themselves.”
  15. cower
    show submission or fear
    After school, my brothers and I cowered in front of our beloved TV—the volume turned down to a whisper.
  16. fanatic
    a person motivated by irrational enthusiasm
    How did an unschooled fanatic turn himself into a kind of radio god?
    The Latin noun "fanum" meant "temple, shrine" and a fanatic used to be seen as someone who was inspired by a god. The Latin adjective "fanaticus" originally meant "mad" in an angry, passionate way, but later included the sense of insanity. This negative tone can be seen in the example sentence.
  17. insist
    be emphatic or resolute and refuse to budge
    My mother now insisted that I never walk to school by myself, for fear that I would be seen alone in my school uniform by the Taliban.
  18. exact
    take as an undesirable consequence of some state of affairs
    Much of Fazlullah’s “justice” was exacted in the dead of night.
    As an adjective, "exact" has a positive tone that means "characterized by perfect conformity to fact or truth." This does not describe Fazlullah's dead of night justice. Here, "exact" is used as a verb that comes from the Latin "exigere" which means "enforce, demand, require, collect."
  19. reign
    a period during which something or somebody is dominant
    Later in his reign of terror, “violators” were dragged from their homes and killed; their bodies would be displayed in the Green Square the next morning.
  20. infidel
    a person who does not acknowledge your god
    Often a note was pinned to the body: This is what happens to spies and infidels.
  21. shudder
    tremble convulsively, as from fear or excitement
    I shuddered to hear these stories. What was becoming of my city? What would become of us?
  22. petty
    small and of little importance
    No one was safe in Pakistan. Not the women who were forbidden to walk the streets of their own towns. Not the men who were being flogged to death for petty reasons.
    Flogging involves the use of a whip or rod. To kill a person this way would take a lot more time and violence than using a gun. To do this for a petty reason makes the act even worse. But this helps Fazlullah to keep the people frightened and under his control.
  23. extremism
    any ideology favoring immoderate, uncompromising policies
    “We will defeat the forces of extremism and militancy with the power of the people,” she declared.
  24. tense
    in or of a state of physical or nervous strain
    But although we could not see them anymore, we knew they had not gone far, only a few kilometers away, and Mingora remained a tense and frightened city.
  25. impose
    inflict something unpleasant
    The army had imposed a curfew.
  26. fitful
    intermittently stopping and starting
    The next morning, we woke up as if we were coming out of a long, fitful dream.
  27. rage
    be violent
    The army sent ten thousand more men, and the fighting raged on and on, night after night for a year and a half.
  28. haven
    a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary
    School remained a haven from the insanity of a city in the middle of a war.
  29. terrorism
    the use of violence against civilians for ideological goals
    Terrorism is fear all around you.
    The word was created in the eighteenth century to describe the policies of Robespierre during the Reign of Terror. He believed that terror and virtue are necessary partners during revolutionary times. Unlike the French leader, the Radio Mullah Fazlullah believes that people must be terrorized into being virtuous ("morally excellent"). Although each has different stated goals, both have been accused of using terrorism to gain and keep power.
  30. horror
    intense and profound fear
    It is going to sleep at night and not knowing what horrors the next day will bring.
    The chosen definition describes an emotion, but "horrors" (like "terrors") can also refer to specific events or people that produce intense fear. The Latin roots show more of a difference: "horrere" means "to bristle with fear, shudder" (which is a personal reaction) while "terrere" means "fill with fear, frighten" (which is an action directed at another).
Created on July 23, 2015 (updated July 17, 2018)

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