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Dispatches From a Borderless World [Paperback]

Satya Das


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Review

Das returns to identity and the complex layerings of experience that make the idea of unchanging cultures and firm borders increasingly difficult to maintain. In such a world, says Das, the journalist's responsibility is not to resolve these complexities, but to describe them. "It's easy to preach hatred," he says. "It's so much harder to look for the middle ground. This is what has made me the most Canadian, that I'm much more comfortable in shades of grey." -- Christopher Wiebe, Vue Weekly, June 30 1999

Satya Das has set out to explore what it means to live in a world where both capital and skilled people are mobile, and political borders are no longer clear-cut markers of identity and sovereignty.

He is well equipped to do so. Through birthplace, education and his own subsequent choices, he has been shaped by more than one culture. Now a Canadian -- he was born in Orissa, India -- he brings his larger perspective to bear on this country and the rest of the world.

. . .Das has all the intelligence, experience and craftsmanship he needs to rise to his own challenge. . . . I urge you to read this book.

Organized into two sections, Identities and Explorations, it presents compelling snapshots of particular moments that often transcend the moment. The column/chapters are most successful at illustrating the first part of Das's thesis, that cultural mingling is now shaping our world. -- Penny Williams, Edmonton Journal, April 23 1999

This (book) is not so much about Canada as about the ups and downs of globalization. Canada emerges as the hero, the saviour, the perfect country only in relief as Satya travels the globe and files his dispatches from the political and economic hotspots of the world. I dare say not too many people in Indonesia, Malaysia, Ukraine, France, India or Taiwan a few of the places Satya writes from and about would see Canada quite the way Satya portrays it: a country with a sense of proportion and balance, compassion and openness to others even if he admits in his introduction to the book that this is an optimistic scenario. Still, it is worth noting that Satya is no stranger to being excluded. Indeed, there are several situations in the book where Satya is called a f-ing Paki or other epithets. But he plows on comforting himself and readers with his faith in Canada. "There is one certainty: no matter how the borderless world evolves, Canada and the Canadian experience will be of immense value as countries, cultures, people and economies come together." -- Ashok Chandwani, Montreal Gazette, May 30 1999

From the Publisher

Back cover quotes:

"This book by a remarkably gifted and widely-travelled Canadian journalist will help the reader realize, if he or she is Canadian, that domestic squabbles about national identity are somewhat minor when seen in the larger context of a rapidly emerging borderless world." -- Claude Ryan

"Satya Das writes about a world where entire cultures are caught in the ebb and flow of a new global economy. This territory is wide-ranging Asia, Europe, his home tur, Canada. In this collection of thoughtful, compassionate essays, he examines the human cost of the emerging social and economic order." -- Judy Schultz, author of Mamie's Children.

About the Author

Satya Das is a senior writer at The Edmonton Journal, a leading Canadian newspaper. He is a noted analyst of political, economic and cultural issues. Das grew up in India and Canada, and spent time in England. His awards include the Citation for Merit in Editorial Writing at the 1997 National Newspaper Awards (Canada); the 1998 Media Huan Rights Award from the League of Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada; the 1999 Human Rights Award from the Province of Alberta. He has held a Media Fellowship from the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and a Nuffield Fellowship at Wolfson College, Cambridge. Das 44, is married with two daughters.
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