Official Review: Broken Wall by Baland Iqbal

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Miriam Molina
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Official Review: Broken Wall by Baland Iqbal

Post by Miriam Molina » 30 Oct 2018, 17:27

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Broken Wall" by Baland Iqbal.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Assalamualaikum!

Baland Iqbal dares to make radical statements in Broken Wall. I laud his passion and courage in putting forth this ideology through his character Professor Wahidi: religion and nationalism are but artificial schools of thought and should not come in the way of economic progress.

The book contains three parallel stories that transpire in November 2016 in three locations. In Pakistan, we follow Idrees and his wife Bakhtawar and their 9-year-old son Usman. In Afghanistan, we read about Professor Wahidi. Sania and Daleep’s love story is set in Canada.

Idrees leads a mob in mauling and burning a Christian whom they have labeled as a blasphemer - he was claiming that his prophet was Jesus, not Muhammad. The violent episode is witnessed by Usman as he peeps behind a broken wall. The child is traumatized by the incident and starts having hysterical fits.

In Afghanistan, Professor Wahidi receives death threats for his revolutionary views. He writes books and articles that belittle the purpose of religion and nationalism; his work earns the ire of the Taliban.

Sweethearts Sania and Daleep are schoolmates in a Canadian university; she is an Ahmadi Muslim from Pakistan, and he is a Sikh Indian. Her parents violently object to the relationship.

The author, originally from Pakistan, is a doctor practicing Internal Medicine in Ontario. He also labels himself as a thinker and “he enjoys philosophical, political, social and psychological topics.” This book, his fourth, is not for an idle reader; one needs serious concentration to appreciate the themes expounded on.

I have no reason to doubt the realism of the Pakistan story. It is common knowledge that religious fanaticism has resulted in bloody and senseless killings and that the people who kill for their God are treated as heroes. How the brutality affects the children is a matter that the author brings to focus.

That love between people of different religious persuasions has to negotiate a lot of hurdles is also a curious topic. The discussions between Sania and Daleep are thought-provoking. Their final decision regarding their relationship is unexpected and refreshing. However, I find that their love affair is much too intellectual to be realistic; they are even able to avoid sexual relations while living together.

Professor Wahidi, in his fifties, is the wise voice in the book. His varied experiences of a failed interfaith love affair, several brushes with religious fanatics out to kill him, and his education in international relations and political science blend to make him a deep thinker. Although I do not agree with some of his views, principally his atheistic stance, I appreciate his opinions. His vision of international unity and equality is one I admire.

I recommend this book to mature adults who are interested in the role of religion in the Eastern world and those not turned off by atheism and violence.

The author uses poetic language and symbolism that conjure up fascinating pictures. It is only fitting that he uses many foreign words; a glossary lists most of them. While there are some awkward sentences (the author is not a native English speaker), a lot of editing issues and some foreign words that the reader has to look up, I find the book a worthwhile read. I give it 3 out of 4 stars; resolving the technical issues will make it a four-starrer. Like the author, I dream of a world where everyone will be free to choose whom to worship and whom to love. We who have the freedom to make those choices should celebrate and be grateful every day.

******
Broken Wall
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Post by Amanda Deck » 03 Nov 2018, 17:15

The author says,
...he enjoys philosophical, political, social and psychological topics;
I do too. This sounds like something I'd enjoy reading even though I probably disagree with many of his beliefs. The idea of all humans being the same color, religion, culture, sex, and beliefs is abhorrent to me, makes me think of blades of grass in a field*. I love the diversity of humans!
But, of course, this novel is about things that happen, horrible things that really occur in real life. Reading this sort of tale is what gets, and keeps, us thinking so that hopefully one of us will have an idea that actually works to stop war. Fighting against those unlike ourselves, or at least keeping them out of our territory, is normal and natural. I understand that, but human hubris demands we rise above "simple biology" and mere survival.

*blades of grass probably differ greatly in many ways, no insult intended to grass! :)

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Post by gen_g » 03 Nov 2018, 23:56

This sounds like an absolutely inspiring read; I particularly enjoy books when they make me think on a deeper level. I'm definitely placing this on my to-read list; thank you for the amazing review, Miriam!

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Post by fredrick otieno » 04 Nov 2018, 00:23

This is a must read for met. Religion is a topic that i very much interested in, and i would love to hear many people's opinion on it. Thank you for this great review.

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Post by T_stone » 04 Nov 2018, 02:11

I like to learn about several religions; this gives me a level of knowledge about other people's religion, which gives me an idea of how to relate with them without causing rifts. Thanks for the informative review.
Feeling upset sometimes may be unavoidable, but acting distressed is always optional.

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Post by Mark1515 » 04 Nov 2018, 03:11

Really sound true, l love reading books with deeper meanings

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Post by Sahar Majid » 04 Nov 2018, 06:20

"Like the author, I dream of a world where everyone will be free to choose whom to worship and whom to love. We who have the freedom to make those choices should celebrate and be grateful every day."

I hope for the same. Even though I have a feeling that I wouldn't agree with the author on everything, this book is definitely highlighting some real fundamental issues that will take time and effort to solve, but first they need to be acknowledged.

Thank you for the wonderful review!

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Post by Alicia09 » 04 Nov 2018, 10:33

Usually I tend to stray away from books that talk about religious conflicts in the middle east, because the writing tends to be extremely biased and one sided. Yet after reading your description of this book, I would argue that we need more books like this because we need to have stories that talk about the personal conflicts and experiences people go through when they are being told who to love and what to believe.

I don't think anyone has to wholeheartedly agree with any specific religious view to appreciate this story; I just think one needs to be open to the fact that these types of stories are still occurring today. I would especially like to read about the marriage between Sania and Daleep, because one of the greatest ways we can overcome inter religious conflict is through love and yet their love seemed to have been denied. Thanks for the review! This is definitely going on my "Want to Read" list.

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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 05 Nov 2018, 05:45

Amanda Deck wrote:
03 Nov 2018, 17:15
The author says,
...he enjoys philosophical, political, social and psychological topics;
I do too. This sounds like something I'd enjoy reading even though I probably disagree with many of his beliefs. The idea of all humans being the same color, religion, culture, sex, and beliefs is abhorrent to me, makes me think of blades of grass in a field*. I love the diversity of humans!
But, of course, this novel is about things that happen, horrible things that really occur in real life. Reading this sort of tale is what gets, and keeps, us thinking so that hopefully one of us will have an idea that actually works to stop war. Fighting against those unlike ourselves, or at least keeping them out of our territory, is normal and natural. I understand that, but human hubris demands we rise above "simple biology" and mere survival.

*blades of grass probably differ greatly in many ways, no insult intended to grass! :)
I'm not too keen on those deep topics myself, but I appreciate the mental exercise once in a while, LOL!

I am sure the blades of grass are merciful enough to forgive the unintended insult.

Thanks for your insightful comment, Amanda Deck!

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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 05 Nov 2018, 05:50

gen_g wrote:
03 Nov 2018, 23:56
This sounds like an absolutely inspiring read; I particularly enjoy books when they make me think on a deeper level. I'm definitely placing this on my to-read list; thank you for the amazing review, Miriam!
I hope you do get to read Baland's story. I didn't expect a practicing doctor (when does he have the time for those musings?) to have such an interest in the themes expounded on.

Thanks for the kind words, gen_g!

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Post by Miriam Molina » 05 Nov 2018, 05:54

fredrick otieno wrote:
04 Nov 2018, 00:23
This is a must read for met. Religion is a topic that i very much interested in, and i would love to hear many people's opinion on it. Thank you for this great review.
Religion is personal to each individual. I do not impose my religion on anyone. Everyone should follow whatever gives one peace and joy, so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.

Thanks for the kind words, fredrick otieno! I hope you do get to read this book.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 05 Nov 2018, 05:56

T_stone wrote:
04 Nov 2018, 02:11
I like to learn about several religions; this gives me a level of knowledge about other people's religion, which gives me an idea of how to relate with them without causing rifts. Thanks for the informative review.
Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts, T_stone.

P.S. I love your avatar. Is that your baby? So cute!

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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 05 Nov 2018, 06:14

Mark1515 wrote:
04 Nov 2018, 03:11
Really sound true, l love reading books with deeper meanings
Welcome to OBC, Mark1515! I do hope you can read this story.

Looking forward to reading your first review! Thanks for visiting.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 05 Nov 2018, 06:17

Sahar Majid wrote:
04 Nov 2018, 06:20
"Like the author, I dream of a world where everyone will be free to choose whom to worship and whom to love. We who have the freedom to make those choices should celebrate and be grateful every day."

I hope for the same. Even though I have a feeling that I wouldn't agree with the author on everything, this book is definitely highlighting some real fundamental issues that will take time and effort to solve, but first they need to be acknowledged.

Thank you for the wonderful review!
If our hopes are realized, what a wonderful world this would be then!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sarah Majid!

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Post by Miriam Molina » 05 Nov 2018, 06:28

Alicia09 wrote:
04 Nov 2018, 10:33
Usually I tend to stray away from books that talk about religious conflicts in the middle east, because the writing tends to be extremely biased and one sided. Yet after reading your description of this book, I would argue that we need more books like this because we need to have stories that talk about the personal conflicts and experiences people go through when they are being told who to love and what to believe.

I don't think anyone has to wholeheartedly agree with any specific religious view to appreciate this story; I just think one needs to be open to the fact that these types of stories are still occurring today. I would especially like to read about the marriage between Sania and Daleep, because one of the greatest ways we can overcome inter religious conflict is through love and yet their love seemed to have been denied. Thanks for the review! This is definitely going on my "Want to Read" list.
Thanks for sharing your sentiments, Alicia09. Please tell me how you find the story when you do read it.

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