Stories of refugees fleeing to Canada highlighted in new book. "Flight and Freedom" asks if they would be let in today.

TORONTO, Sept. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - Thirty astonishing stories of refugees fleeing to Canada are told in the timely new book Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada by Ratna Omdivar and Dana Wagner (Between the Lines books).

In Flight and Freedom, the authors present a collection of interviews with refugees, their descendants, or their loved ones to document their extraordinary, and sometimes harrowing, journeys of flight. The stories span two centuries of refugee experiences in Canada: from the War of 1812—where an escaped slave and her infant daughter flee the United States to start a new life in Halifax—to the War in Afghanistan—where asylum seekers collide with state scrutiny and face the challenges of resettlement.

"There's something about people who survive. There's a strength of spirit that comes with extreme endurance - having seen the edge but lived through it - which makes refugees exceptional people," said co-author Ratna Omidvar.

Co-author Dana Wagner added, "There are tough questions facing Canada's refugee system and these stories lay them bare. What is a good refugee? What does 'abusing the system' mean? People who paid smugglers, used fake documents, lied at borders, and joined insurgencies are profiled here. These are rich and complex narratives - human narratives. You won't forget the people you meet in this book. Their stories should drive our policies. It should not always be the other way around,"

The global number of people currently displaced from their home country—more than 50 million—is higher than at any time since World War II. Yet in recent years Canada has deported, denied, and diverted countless refugees. Is Canada a safe haven for refugees or a closed door?

Ratna Omidvar was born in India. She moved to Iran in 1975 to start life there with her Iranian partner. In 1981 she and her family (including an infant daughter) fled Iran and found a new home in Canada. Her own experiences of flight to freedom have been the foundation of her work. She has focused on articulating pathways to inclusion for immigrants and visible minorities in host societies, both in Canada and globally. Ratna is both a Member of the Order of Canada and Order of Ontario. Dana Wagner is a senior researcher at Ryerson University. She studied journalism at Carleton University and global affairs at the University of Toronto. She has worked in Toronto, Ottawa, Hanoi and Nairobi.

Since 1977 Between the Lines books has published books that embrace critical perspectives on culture, economics, and society.

SOURCE Between the Lines Books

For further information: Ratna Omidvar 416-979-5000 x 3416, Dana Wagner 416-979-5000 x 3414, Matthew Adams, Between the Lines Books | 416-535-9914 |

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