I’m really pleased to learn that Malala Yousafzai has become a Nobel Laurette. She is an extraordinary person. The thing I find easy to forget is that she was extraordinary before she was shot by the Taliban. She was shot because she was extraordinary and her response to the shooting merely confirmed how extraordinary she is. By shooting Malala the Taliban have empowered her.
Coincidence combined with expertise lead Malala to be brought to Birmingham for her treatment. In a breathtakingly smart move Edgbaston High School for Girls just down the road from us offered to help with the next stage of her education and last year Malala was the guest of honour opening the Library of Birmingham.
Malala performing this opening was a humbling and deeply uncomfortable experience for me. The Commentators had been commissioned to commentate on the library’s first three days of operation. We were having tremendous fun doing our ridiculous over-keen thing, giving an alternative comedic slant to events. Then I find myself outside within the press cordon, clutching a radio microphone commentating on Malala giving her deeply moving speech, unveiling the sign and – actually I don’t think she cut a ribbon but maybe she did. I was there commentating on this extraordinary girl being honoured in this rather special way, the there was no way my Commentator character could exist in the same realm as her. This led to me just being a middle aged man in a sheepskin coat pretending to be a sports commentator thinking “this is no way to earn a living”.
It was a relief to learn that the radio mic signal had not made it through the toughened glass of the library and Craig had covered the whole thing from a much worse vantage point.
Being one of The Commentators is still a ridiculous way to earn a living so its fortunate that they don’t meet the likes of Malala very often, but then, who does?