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Octopus Books celebrates 40 years of progressive business with speakers, book launches and other events

By François Levesque on January 8, 2009

Believe it or not but Octopus Books on Third Avenue in the Glebe is celebrating 40 years of business in 2009. I spoke this morning with Octopus’ Steve Bosworth who told me that as part of their 40th anniversary, they will be holding a series of talks, book launches and other events throughout the year.

The first event will take place this Saturday, January 31st at 7pm in Room A of Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington St.). It is entitled Age of Persecution –  Perspectives on an Atrocity of Our Time. Three distinguished Ottawa authors, Monia Mazigh, Kerry Pither and Alan Cumyn, will present their take on torture in the 21st century. The event is hosted by CBC’s Adrian Harewood and admission is free.

Hope and Despair is the inspiring story of Monia Mazigh’s courageous fight to free her husband, Maher Arar, from a Syrian jail.

This is a remarkable story of personal courage, and of an extraordinary woman who lets us into her life so that other Canadians can understand the denial of rights and the discarding of human rights her family suffered.

Kerry Pither has worked as a human rights and civil liberties advocate for almost twenty years on a wide range of local, regional, national and international issues. She is the author of Dark Days: The Story of Four Canadians Tortured in the Name of Fighting Terror, which chronicles the shocking story of how four Canadian men experienced similarly devastating ordeals. One of these men, Ahmad El Maati, says that despite everything that’s happened, “I always remember that we are the lucky ones. Since 9/11 so many others have just disappeared, or are still in secret prisons, with no right to ask questions. At least we have the right to ask questions about why this happened. At least we might get answers.”

Alan Cumyn is the author of the novel Man of Bone and its sequel Burridge Unbound, which tell the story of the kidnapping of a Canadian diplomat abroad and his subsequent struggles after surviving the terrifying ordeal and returning home. Cumyn spent eight years writing on international human rights issues for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

Check out for upcoming events.

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