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ISBN: 9781777010188-05

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River of Madness

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From: Man at the Airport

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This chapter describes the author’s time in jail for overstaying his work visa, the death of his father, and his deportation to Kuala Lumpur.

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Hassan Al Kontar

When revolution and war broke out in his home country in 2011, Hassan Al Kontar was a young Syrian living and working in the UAE. A conscientious objector by faith and temperament, he refused to return to Syria for compulsory military service and lived illegally before being deported to Malaysia in 2017. Unable to obtain a visa for any other country, he became trapped in the arrivals zone at Kuala Lumpur Airport. Exiled by war and trapped by geopolitics, Al Kontar used social media and humour to tell his story to the world, becoming an international celebrity and ultimately finding refuge in Canada.