Saturday 26 August 2017

Book Review: Fire Walkers

This was a startling book. Hubby picked it up for me, from the new book section of the library (2016). It is timely, in that we've had thousands of Haitian asylum seekers streaming into Montreal, Canada, from the US, where they are afraid.

The author, Bethlehem Terrefe Gebreyohannes, escaped with her family in 1974 from a totalitarian and brutal regime in Ethiopia. It's horrific, shocking, sad, yet joyful and hopeful. I know, from writing a memoir, that it is a cathartic experience. Her family arrived in Canada in 1981, the year we moved from Toronto to Ottawa with a two-year old.

Ethiopia's revolution, led by the Derg (1974 - 1991), led to many fleeing for their lives and it illuminates the horror many face in their desperation to flee, whether it be economic migration, or living in a war zone.

This family fled by taxi, then had to walk across a desert. Fire Walkers educates us about Ethiopia, from our safe and comfortable homes. In the light of day, as 45th of the USA gives a pardon to a Sheriff who illegally detained and abused economic migrants from Mexico, I can be proud that Canada is taking in those who fear the orange man's regime.

 The screen captures of the maps give us a vague idea of her journey, and may not be the exact track, but you get the idea. Thankfully, we know Bethlehem survived to write the book, ending up in Lethbridge, Alberta. I cannot imagine the culture shock. She, and her family, have achieved much, despite their trials and tribulations.

This was her journey: June 29, 1980 - Nov. 24, 1981

Addis Ababa
Djibouti City - refugee papers
Lethbridge, Alberta


  1. Thanks for pointing this book out.

  2. This would be a book I would like to read. I'll watch for it. I just finished reading Cloud Messenger.

  3. This is a powerful book and an amazing story Jenn. I will be looking out for it. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Our so-called president makes me almost physically ill on a daily basis. That nasty pardon was just the latest outrage. Please know that most of us don't agree with what he is doing. That book sounds great -- I enjoy reading memoirs.... it's kind of like reading my favorite blogs -- you get to see what it would be like to live a different life ... both what is different and what is the same! Thanks for sharing yours!!

  5. So many people seeking refuge in this day and age. - Margy


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