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Marsh Birds

Marsh Birds by Eva Sallis
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Dhurgham As-Samarra'i is a twelve-year-old boy, the youngest child in a middle-class Baghdadi family. He finds himself at the Great Mosque in Damascus in Syria, not knowing what has happened to his parents and sister who fled Baghdad with him. The only thing he knows is that he was told that if the family became separated they were to meet at the Mosque. Alone, he waits and waits.

This is the story of what befalls Dhurgham after he realises his family won't be turning up; it is the story of his journey into adulthood, his journey through bitterness to forgiveness, and his journey from Iraq to Syria, to Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

Detained after arriving in Australia, Dhurgham, resilient yet unable to deal with his past, becomes an untried criminal existing in limbo as his file is processed. Fleetingly, New Zealand offers a refuge, family and affection but he is caught again in a nightmare of red-tape and confinement until his hope turns into anger and his past must be faced and resolved.

What do you do when you belong nowhere, with no family, no homeland, and no hope for the future? Who do you become?

A searingly honest story about separation, journeys and unbearable injustice.

Allen & Unwin; May 2005
264 pages; ISBN 9781741156492
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Title: Marsh Birds
Author: Eva Sallis
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