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North of 9/11 by David Bernans


North of 9/11’s fictional plot meets in many places with real (and often surreal) historical events that underlie the psychology of social panic and hysteria that is integral to the war on terror. Newspapers report beatings, targeted vandalism, and bigoted rants aimed at dark-skinned men with beards, women wearing hijabs, and students named Mohammed.

Sarah Murphy, a political activist and first year Women’s Studies Major at Concordia University, is determined to do something to stem the rising tide of war mania emanating from the United States, and racist hysteria affecting her friends Hassan, Hakim, and Sayed. An opportunity presents itself when Sarah overhears a conversation between Jack Murphy, a senior public relations consultant who happens to be her father, and the executive of a Montreal-based aerospace manufacturer involved in military production for the US Pentagon.

Sarah and her friends plan a non-violent direct action to draw attention to Canada’s participation in U.S. war efforts. In the post-9/11 backlash, anti-war activists, Arabs and Muslims have all become suspected enemy combatants in the war on terror. Activists are questioned by the RCMP, phones are tapped, movements are shadowed. The RCMP closes in on the presumed sleeper cell while bombs fall on Afghanistan. The sudden end of their occupation has astounding repercussions on each of the story’s characters.

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Cumulus Press