4 out of 4 stars
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By Mois Benarroch
Writers’ lives are so boring that the only thing that saves them from boredom is making up stories like young children who create imaginary friends and give them names to fill their world. These are the words of Mois Benarroch, the author of The Expelled. This book is a non-fiction narrative that has some touch of romance. The author uses ‘he’ and ‘she’ interchangeably as his characters change from ‘he’ to ‘she’. The author gives a narration of a bus ride he took. The people seated at the back were referred to as ‘back people’ and those in front as ‘front people’. Front people hated back people so much that they could not allow them to use the ‘can’ which was another name for the washroom. A boundary line had to be drawn in the middle to separate them. Back people were regarded as dirty, smelly and violent, by the front people. As using the ‘can’ was a necessity, back people complained and front people decided that they could only use it at specific hours. The author was sitting at the back. When sleeping, there was a gunshot and he woke up to find that Cash, the fifteen year old boy who had been sitting next to him, had been shot dead. Nobody owned up to killing him even though one passenger had a gun in his hands. This passenger with a gun was one of the front people. The front people made the decision on how to get rid of Cash’s body and proceed with the journey. They gave him the name Saint Cash, prayed for him and later offered prayers to him. They also blamed him for any shortcomings, attributing this to the fact that he was murdered.
The author, having moved with his family from Morocco, was living in Israel. Here, anyone from Morocco was regarded uneducated and violent. They were looked down upon and whenever the author tried to prove that he was from Morocco even by showing his identity card, people would not believe it and wondered why he was different and nice. The author says that in order to stop being different, he had to stop being born in Morocco, something that no one knows how to do yet, and if anyone knows, they have not shared it. At one time he decided that he was from France and even hated a Moroccan poet who declared openly that he was from Morocco. After a while, the author changed his perception and decided to like this author and even make it known that he himself was from Morocco. He lived as a recluse, a leper and an expelled.
The author’s story of the bus is reflective of the oppression his people faced in Israel. The expelled were not allowed to make decisions. ‘The front people throw stones. When the back people throw them back they call us terrorists though back people were opposed to stone throwing because it didn’t seem humane to them’. This summarizes the feelings of the author as one of the expelled. I liked this book because you have to jog your mind and put two and two together to understand the story.
I enjoyed reading this book which has undergone professional editing. A few errors on spacing could be blamed on the format. Having read other books by this author, I find this book the easiest to understand and will rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I have no reason to rate it lower.
I recommend this book to anyone who would like to read on oppression and identity crisis. When looked down upon, you might get tempted to change your identity so as to be accepted by those who hate you. This book contains some explicit content.
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