Hassan Al Kontar was a young Syrian working in the UAE in 2011 when civil war broke out in his home country. Refusing to return for compulsory military service and become a "killing machine," he lived homeless for several years with an expired passport, then was arrested and finally tried to re-establish himself in Malaysia where he thought he could get legal status. Instead, after traveling to Malaysia, he was unable to enter the country or obtain a visa for any other country. Trapped in the arrival zone at Kuala Lumpur International Airport for over six months, Al Kontar turned to social media to tell his story to the world. His courageous messages, told with humour, made him an international celebrity. Eventually, Canada offered Al Kontar refuge in 2018 and he settled in Vancouver via Whistler. His memoir Man at the Airport tells of his harrowing journey.


Man at the Airport: How Social Media Saved My Life -- One Syrian's Story (Tidewater Press, 2021) $23.95 978-1-7770101-8-8

[BCBW 2021]