Friday, 30 March 2018

Canada Reads: book 5

Book 5: "The Boat People" by Sharon Bala

   This book is fiction although it is based on fact.  The fact is that boats arrived in Vancouver from Sri Lanka during the civil war (2009-2010).  They were carrying  refugees, hoping to be allowed to stay in Canada.
   The characters in this book are fictional, but went through the regular stages of immigration- hearings and detention reviews, that take months or years.
  This fictional boatload of 500 refugees was detained in prison. The women and children were in one location, with the men in another location.    This was a problem right from the start because the main character, Mahindan (whose wife had died in childbirth) had a 6 year-old son, Sellian, who was separated from the only person he knew. Mahindan had difficulty getting immigrant status because he had been a mechanic who had repaired a vehicle that was used by a suicide bomber. 
  After several months in the women's prison, Sellian was placed in a foster home, where he could not speak the language or understand the culture.
  The government had great concern about bringing these refugees into the country: "We will protect the nation's sovereignty.  We will not allow our refugee system to be hijacked by an army of terrorist clones".
  Well, this book broke my heart.  I'm afraid that I have 'opened my eyes' too much to the suffering of the world.  Here is another cover, showing the man and his son.

   This book will be presented by Jozhdah Jamalzada.

Mozhdah is an singer/songwriter, born in Afghanistan.  At age 5, her family arrived in Canada. She was raised in Vancouver, studying journalism, philosophy and political science.  She returned to Afghanistan to create a T.V. show.  

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