The Little Hero: One Boy's Fight for Freedom; Iqbal Masih's Story [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Andrew Crofts
eBook Category: Politics/Government/People
eBook Description: Iqbal Masih was gunned down by an assassin in cold blood. He was just 13 years old. Andrew Crofts, the bestselling ghostwriter of "The Little Prisoner and The Kid", tells the heart-wrenching story of this courageous child martyr, who died trying to end child slavery. After six years of bonded labour in a Pakistani carpet factory, Iqbal escaped the clutches of his tyrannical carpet-master, and then tirelessly worked to spread the word to other enslaved children that they could be free too. He addressed international conventions on behalf of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front and participated in raids on illegal factories. He was awarded the Reebok 'Youth in Action' Award, and a scholarship to study law in Boston. But before he could study, his life was cut short by a hail of bullets from the gun of an unknown sympathiser with the carpet-masters.
eBook Publisher: Vision Paperbacks/Vision Paperbacks
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2006
?Don't go back to the city, stay another day,? Iqbal?s
mother pleaded. Iqbal was glad that he'd returned to the
village. His mother was full of maternal pride, revelling in
the excitement of the occasion. This was only his second
visit but both times he had attracted crowds of people to
the house bearing gifts of drinks and food.
He knew his mother, Inayat, had no idea what her
small son did when he was in Lahore, but she was pleased
to enjoy the attention and respect that he brought to
her door. God knows she deserved it after all she'd been
through; the endless work and struggle and a husband so
useless to her she'd have been better off on her own from
Iqbal also knew she'd never given a thought to what
he'd been doing all those years when he went off to work
in the carpet factory, either. Why would she? She had
enough to worry about as it was. The carpet master had
assured her he would look after her son like an uncle.
How would she know to distrust the word of a man who
was always so friendly towards her? ?I have to get back, Mama,? he told her, wriggling forward
to the edge of the bed where he'd been holding
court, his feet still swinging above the ground, reminding
her that however important her son might now be in the
world, he was still just a child. ?My medication is in the
city. I mustn't miss it, even for one day.?
The relatives and neighbours sitting with him on the
bed shifted reluctantly to let him through. They immediately
sprawled out to fi ll the space he'd left beneath
the lazy ceiling fan. It had been a pleasant afternoon for
them all, neighbours and relatives alike, with Iqbal?s visit
to distract them from their daily problems and Inayat?s
hospitality to spoil them with endless cups of tea.
Iqbal cast his eyes round his family home. It seemed
so much more basic now he had experienced more
of the world. The house consisted of two cramped,
windowless rooms leading onto an enclosed courtyard
with an open kitchen and a basic toilet in the opposite
corner. The contents of the toilet emptied themselves
out through the front wall of the courtyard into the
open sewer, which ran along the edge of the narrow
alleyway outside. All the houses in the village were
the same, endless plain stone walls, punctuated with
a variety of makeshift gates and doors, guarding the
privacy of the families that gathered inside to talk and
argue, drink tea and complain. Or simply sit still and
try to keep cool. The walls of the rooms were lined with shelves displaying
rows of lovingly washed and polished tin cups,
plates and glasses. Every possession a family had in
Muridke was on show for visitors to admire. There was
nowhere else to store anything anyway. Large tin trunks
protected clothes from the dust and the humidity, and
from insects that would have destroyed them long before
anyone could have afforded to replace them.
Iqbal was proud, and a little embarrassed, to see that
most of the pictures propped up around the shelves were of
him. Some had been cut from newspapers and others had
been given to the family as gifts by visitors who had come
to the village eager to see where Iqbal started life. The
biggest newspaper cutting was already curling up from the
heat and yellowing at the edges. It carried a grainy picture
of him standing on a podium with his arms stretched up as
if accepting applause, a rare smile of pure joy vanquishing
the lines of concentration that usually furrowed his brow.
He remembered the moment that was taken, in Stockholm,
thousands of miles away from Muridke.