• James Parry

Triumph of the human spirit shines through at launch of Greenwood's annual StoryFest

PHOTO BY AUDREY WALL Maher Arar and Monia Mazigh tell their own personal tale at the opening of StoryFest 2017 at St. Mary’s Church Hall in Hudson.

It was an emotional afternoon at St. Mary's Church Hall in Hudson this past Sunday, October 1, when the Greenwood Centre for Living History launched its month-long StoryFest with not one, but two very special guests.

Namely, Ottawa resident, celebrated Canadian author, and human rights advocate Monia Mazigh and her husband Maher Arar, the Syrian-born Canadian who in 2002 was sent by the U.S. to Syria - where he was held captive and tortured - as an accused terrorist based on faulty information supplied by the RCMP. He was subsequently released and returned to Canada where in 2007 he was paid $10.5 million for the wrongs done to him.

Mazigh, who immigrated from Tunisia to Canada in 1991 and whose books have been published in both English and French, read from her latest novel, Hope Has Two Daughters, (Arachnide Editions) that features a woman named Nadia, her escape from violence in her home country as well as her journey immigrating to Canada. Weaving together the voices of two women at two pivotal moments in history, it is a bracing, vivid story that perfectly captures life inside revolution.

Said Greenwood Executive Director, Terry O'Shaughnessy, “We were truly honoured to welcome this very special couple. Their harrowing personal story is well documented and it was most insightful to hear them both talk about it. As for her new novel, it could not be more timely addressing as it does conflicts, the displacement of peoples, and the fragility of human rights during difficult times. And most importantly, the triumph of the human spirit.”

StoryFest continues through October 29 and for more information go to www.greenwoodstoryfest.com.

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