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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Joshua Key

Joshua Key on stage in Ottawa talking about his memoir The Deserter's Tale. He was in conversation with co-author Lawrence Hill. I found the conversation somewhat like that of a lawyer with his witness. The questions posed during the conversation seemed a bit too rehearsed, like Hill was leading and prompting Key to flesh out his story. It may have been that Mr. Key is still (rightly) reserved about the level of disturbing detail of his tour in Iraq which he could discuss in front of an audience.

In any event, their talk was really intense and compelling. Like Mr. Hill, I also first came upon Joshua's story on CBC radio last year and was absolutely riveted (and revolted) by what I had heard. It's doubtful that I'll pick up many books at the fest this year, but I rushed out to the book table and immediately bought a copy. If the conversation I originally heard on the radio and the feeling from last night's event was any indication, the book should prove equally enthralling a read. It's only Monday (second day of the fest) and this was certainly a highlight reading for me.

More information on Key and other asylum seekers

When Private First Class Joshua Key was shipped to Iraq, the US army combat engineer believed he was doing the right thing. "I left for Iraq with a purpose, thinking this was another Hitler deal," he said in a recent interview. "But there were no weapons of mass destruction. They had no military whatsoever. And I started to wonder." He served eight months in Iraq before going AWOL. Key arrived in Toronto in March of 2005, with his wife Brandi and their four young children. Asked what led him to desert, he says: "The atrocities that were happening to the innocent people of Iraq. I didn't want to be part of it no more. I came home and I deserted."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just finished Joshua's book. I couldn't put it down even though it horrified me. It brought tears to my eyes. I was hit by Joshua's bravery and personal journey. I was horrified at what the US is doing in Iraq. I hope many, many people read it. The military and political leaders who use and abuse soldiers and civilians alike, Iraqi and American, should be held accountable for these atrocities. The US military will be tainted for a long time to come. Thank you Joshua.

Friday, June 01, 2007 7:40:00 AM  

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