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الكتاب الحادي عشر: كتاب “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” للكاتبة Katherine Boo

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The book takes its title from ads for ceramic tile that are painted on the concrete wall that hides the slum, in which the actions of the book take place. These ad series repeat the words “Beautiful” and “Forever.” Thus, “Behind” those “Beautiful Forevers,” many dreams are born…Some survive, some die.

In this book, Boo writes about Capitalism, social injustice and corruption in India by following the lives of several slum-dwellers in one of Mumbai’s slums. We read about their daily struggle and to the length they go to ensure putting food in their family’s mouths and a roof above their heads. The corruption prevails all the government sectors; even the police who are supposed to protect the citizens go after the poor slumdwellers extracting money from them. Nothing can be done without paying bribes. Subsidies are stolen by the rich. In a corrupted world like this one, there is no hope of progress or improvement in the lives of those poor souls.

The book also discusses the relationship between the Muslims and Hindus, and how political tension leads to conflicts between the residents ….sometimes deadly violence.

Boo is a journalist, but she wrote her book in the beautiful language of a novelist. Her presentation of her characters is brilliant and you cannot help but get excited to read what will happen to them. She writes about the dreams and aspirations of those people, and their sadness and happiness. Instead of reporting about violence, corruption, she narrates a story of families to read first hand of how such social diseases seriously affect people’s lives. Presenting this slice of life in Annawadi becomes a representation of the quality of the life of Indians in the other slums.

This book does not only show the ugly face of corruption in India, but also it predicts what will happen to other countries that walk n the same path. The last pages of this book sums the idea of the book beautifully, I read them couple of times, and each time I get cross this book, I reread them…they have lessons that everyone should learn.

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