Saturday, September 8, 2018

Review of "Illegal," by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Review of
Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin ISBN 9781492662143

Five out of five stars
 This “true” story will tug at the heart of any feeling person, although it likely will have no effect on those Americans and Europeans that advocate a no tolerance position regarding immigration. The quotation marks are used to signify that while the main characters in the story may technically be fictional, what they and their fellow travelers experience is not. Thousands of people reach the level of desperation where they are willing to risk the high probability of death in the desert or death at sea in order to flee their country and travel to Europe in search of a better life.
Ebo and Kwame are brothers living a desperate life in the African country of Niger. Fed up with no prospects, they separately leave their village and travel to the city of Agadez. While there they save up money for a journey across the Sahara Desert to the Mediterranean Coast. It is a dangerous journey, for those they hire to transport them have no real interest in anything other than their money. Many people die making that journey.
 They reach Tripoli in Libya and they once again work to earn money for further passage across the sea. While there, they live in a storm drain to save lodging money and avoid thieves as well as police that will demand graft. Once they have enough, they are placed on a small blow-up boat with a motor and sent off across the Mediterranean Sea towards Italy. There is not enough gas for the motor and the boat leaks, so they end up stranded and floating in the water.
 They are “lucky” in that another ship comes by, and they are rescued. However, it is not a great stroke of luck as it is a ship already overloaded with refugees. When an Italian helicopter and small boat arrive, the crowd pushes forward and the now unbalanced ship overturns, throwing people into the water and eventually sinking with many people unable to get out in time. The people in the helicopter throw down life jackets, but there are far too few for the number of people in the water. Ebo survives the ordeal while Kwame drowns. Of the hundreds of people on the ship, very few survive.
 There is a second short story and it is about a young woman named Helen that was born in Eritrea. She fled to Sudan where she lived in hiding for many years before she paid traffickers to supposedly take her to Italy. After a harrowing journey where she spent time in a prison in Libya, managed to make it to Italy, traveled to France, got pregnant and ended up in Leeds where she lost her baby. Even after all of that, she is thankful to be alive and would like to get educated so that she can be a nurse.
 The point of these stories is to demonstrate the desperation of the people that are attempting the journey to Europe and the hope of having any kind of life there. Lost on those that are fearful of immigrants is the fact that these people are fleeing horrific circumstances where their choices are often between a slow and fast death. While the real solution is the uplifting of the people in their countries of origin, it takes a very hard heart to read stories like this and not want to do something to aid these people with so few options and all of them bad.

No comments:

Post a Comment