Canada Reads

Tahmoh Penikett on the importance of hearing stories of struggle and survival

On Day Four, the Canada Reads 2018 panellist talks about hearing and learning from difficult stories.
Tahmoh Penikett, champion of American War by Omar El Akkad on Canada Reads 2018, explains that Canadians need to hear harsh truths before we can move forward together as a nation. 1:34

On Day Four of Canada Reads 2018, Tahmoh Penikett, defending American War by Omar El Akkad, took the time to emphasize the importance of hearing stories of struggle and survival in order to move forward. He also pointed to a cycle of mistakes that persists because of inaction.

"They are hard truths. That's what this book is talking about. We've become shut off to other people's plights and struggles overseas. This book had to be written, with the roles of America and the Middle East switched — in what's happening right now — and put it in our backyard for people to feel compassion, for it to resonate with them.

"It's going to take some work, truth, action and understanding. And it's not indulging in pain, like we're going to sit in it and complain about it. It's about hearing it. People need to be acknowledged. They need to know that their stories have been heard in order for us to move forward."


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