CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Blaise, Clark and Bharati Mukhrerjee.

Markham (Out.), Viking, 1987. 219pp. cloth, $24.95. ISBN 0-670-81204-8. Distributed by Penguin Canada. CIP

Reviewed by Eve Williams

Volume 16 Number 1
1988 January

It was a bright summer's day in Canada, June 23, 1985. when we heard that Air India Flight 182, with three hundred and twenty-nine passengers bound for India, was down off Dunmanus Bay, Ireland. In Canada there was the normal sympathy for any victims and families, but it took a while before it dawned on us that these people were Canadians.

Blaise and Mukherjee write from several perspectives: as immigrants, as Canadians, and as advocates for the victims' families. At times they are angry, as with the apparent unconcern of Canadian officials (who arrived very late on the scene in Cork, Ireland). At times they are grateful, especially for the official and unofficial outpouring of concern and help from the Irish.

The Sorrow and the Terror is a haunting book, I came to it with reluctance— who does not fear an air disaster?—but stayed with it. It is divided into six parts: part 1 deals with the events-terrorist, domestic, technical, etc.-leading up to the plane's last moments; part 2 tells what happened after the crash, how the bodies and the remnants were salvaged, and what happened on shore (sabotage was assumed almost immediately); part 3 paints intimate pictures of the lives of some of the victims-a harrowing section; part 4 is the analysis of pathological and forensic evidence-a section as harrowing to read as part 3; part 5 tries to explain why Canada has a role in the Sikh-Hindu question. There is also an extended glossary of terms such as Sikhism, Khalisian, etc.

This book raises many questions. Air India warned Transport Canada that attempts might be made on the anniversary of the Raid of the Golden Temple at Amritsar, yet was security increased? Why did Burns Security clerks shrug off the beeps of an electronic sniffer? Why was baggage interlined without authorization to India on a ticket to Montreal? Why were so many Hindus not aware of the relevance of the Golden Temple Raid anniversary? Why were three hundred and eighty-nine victims of Indian origin not recognized until belaledly as Canadians? Blaise and Mukherjee and the families of the victims are still waiting for answers.

Recommended for adult reading. Not recommended for high school, except perhaps for curricula dealing with assimilation, ethnicity and racial acceptance.

Eve Williams, Dr. L. B, MacNaughton High School, Moncton, N.B.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works