Malala’s parents arrive in England and travel to Birmingham. Malala is moved to a large room with windows, and she’s able to see the natural beauty of England for the first time. When Malala reunites with her parents, she can’t help but weep. In the 16 days since she last spoke to her parents, she’s traveled to four hospitals across thousands of miles. Ziauddin and Tor Pekai are equally emotional. Malala is also glad to see her brothers, who’ve traveled to England as well. Malala notices that her parents look tired and haggard, and they even have grey hairs. Her parents, for their part, are visibly distressed to see the state Malala is in. She has limited motor control, and can barely move half of her face. Ziauddin mourns that the Taliban “have snatched her smile.” Malala tries to comfort her parents by insisting, “I’m still me.”
Malala’s reunion with her parents is extremely touching, all the more so because it’s taken so absurdly long. It’s inspiring, then, to see Malala rise above the pettiness of her government’s delays by saying, “I’m still me.” This echoes the title of the book, “I am Malala.” Despite the adversity she’s experienced, Malala remains a passionate advocate for women’s rights and education. She’s still herself, and has only grown more confident and self-assured in her convictions and identity.
Malala’s parents stay with her at the hospital for four days. On the fourth day, a group of politicians arrives at the hospital, including Rehman Malik, William Hague (British Foreign Minister) and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed (Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates). The politicians aren’t allowed to visit Malala, but they meet with Ziauddin. They tell him that the Taliban soldier who shot Malala is Ataullah Khan. The plan to shoot Malala, Malik claims, was devised in Saudi Afghanistan. Malik has put a million-dollar bounty on Khan. Ziauddin also learns from Malik that Malala’s bus driver, Usman Bhai Jan, has been arrested and placed in police custody—not because he’s thought to be guilty, but because the police want him to identify possible suspects. When Malala learns this, she’s very upset. It’s outrageous, she thinks, that an innocent man should be arrested while the culprit remains free. Finally, Malik tells Ziauddin that the United Nations has designated November 10 as “Malala Day.”
For better or worse, Malala is a political figure. The downside of this reality is that she’s hampered in everything she does by the political maneuverings of the leaders of the countries she’s associated with, while the upside of this is that Malala is now capable of using her fame and prestige to support meaningful political changes, like the UN bill. Malala is also able to criticize the government of Pakistan to a greater degree than she had before. Thus she’s comfortable saying that it’s absurd that the Pakistani government hasn’t captured her assassin by now—the fact that they haven’t is a sign of the government’s pettiness and incompetence.
On November 11, Malala undergoes a crucial surgery that will give her control of the paralyzed half of her face. The surgery is a success, although Malala spends the next few months doing facial exercises to regain motor control. Following her surgery, she begins reading for the first time in weeks. With her parents she sings Quranic verses. She also recites a tapa, a type of traditional Pashtun saying. The original tapa is: “If the men cannot win the battle, O my country, then the women will come forth and win you an honor.” Malala proposes changing this tapa to: “Whether the men are winning or losing the battle, O my country, the women are coming and the women will win you an honor.”
Here Malala demonstrates her ambition, her maturity, and her intelligence. It’s a bold move to rephrase the words of the Quran (extremely bold in Pakistan—to the point where I Am Malala has been banned largely because of this section), but Malala has always believed that she has every right to interpret the Quran according to her own moral instincts. In a sense, this scene represents Malala’s true coming-of-age. She’s finally given up any traces of cowardice and meekness: she’s taking control of her own life and her own beliefs, relying on her own sense of morality first and foremost.
Over the next month, Malala spends long hours at the gym, regaining control of her arms and legs. On December 6, she makes a major breakthrough in her leg-control, and celebrates by walking out of her hospital for the first time. Following this event, she begins receiving visitors. These include Asif Zardari, the current president of Pakistan. He makes it clear that Pakistan will pay Malala’s medical bills and also arrange for an apartment for Malala’s parents in the center of Birmingham. Zardari offers Ziauddin a position as an education attaché for the nation of Pakistan. Ziauddin eagerly accepts this position, both because he’s attracted to the work and because it will enable him to live in England as a diplomat, thereby spending more time with his daughter. Gordon Brown also asks Ziauddin to be his education advisor at the UN. Ziauddin accepts this position as well, after Zardari ensures him that there’s no conflict.
In the aftermath of Malala’s recovery, her family takes up residence in England—exactly what General Kayani had been afraid of. Yet the government of Pakistan manages to improve the situation by convincing Ziauddin to accept a job with the Pakistani government. In this way, everybody wins: Ziauddin and his family don’t seem to be abandoning Pakistan, because Ziauddin still has a salaried Pakistani job. Meanwhile Ziauddin and his family get to keep living in England, where the school system and medical facilities are better. It should also be noted that the English government behaves in exactly the same way as the Pakistani government: they offer Ziauddin a job to prove to the rest of the world (and their own citizens) that Malala’s family is on their side.
The year 2013 begins on a happy note for Malala and her family. Her father is happy with his new position, and her mother and siblings are enjoying their life in England. Malala talks to her friends in Pakistan, who tell her that they still keep a seat for her in class. Malala is recovering her strength slowly, but she still has more surgeries in her future.
As we end the book, Malala is still recovering from her injuries, and looking forward to returning to Pakistan someday. She can’t move back yet (for medical and safety reasons), but she never even considers abandoning her home altogether.
Malala concludes the chapter by saying, “We human beings don’t realize how great God is.” God, she argues, has given humans the ability to think, to love, and to communicate. She thanks Allah for the doctors who saved her life, for her miraculous recovery, and for giving her the strength to carry on with her political work. Although her story has become world-famous, she admits, she always feels as if she’s the humble servant of the people she wants to help.
Malala ends her book with an inspiring prayer to God—another reminder that she is an incredibly humble person. Although she’s won every honor given for humanitarian work (including the Nobel Peace Prize), she refuses to think of herself as “special”—on the contrary, she regards herself as nothing but the servant of other human beings. This prayer is also important as a contrast to the radical Islam of the Taliban. Through her words and character, Malala shows the true nature of her faith.