Penulis/Author: Francesco D'Adamo (2001)
Penerjemah/Translator: Ann Leonori (2003)
Cetakan/Edition: Paperback, 2005
Kategori/Category: Children fiction
On Easter Sunday 1995 Iqbal was shot dead on his bicycle. He was just 13 years old. Some powerful people in Pakistan have reasons to see the boy as a threat for their business and incomes. Iqbal, like million other children in Pakistan were sold by their fathers to work at the carpet factories or the brick-makers. The reason was usually to pay their never-ending loans. And it was Iqbal who was very brave to speak-out to the world about the ill-treatments they've got as child labours, thus many children like him could be freed from the bonded slavery.
Iqbal worked for Hussain Khan's carpet factory. He was one of Master Hussain's best worker because he could make difficult patterns and his works were tidy. Unlike other children on the factory, Iqbal wasn't afraid of the master. He darely ruined one of the best carpets he made just before a foreigner buyer arrived making his master extremely angry and screamed in despair. Twice Iqbal had tried to escape from the factory. With the help from the people of Bonded Labor Liberated Front of Pakistan, on the second attempt Iqbal got his freedom and he helped other children to leave the place.
Iqbal had inspired many others to follow his bravery. Thousand of other children were freed from their masters and their debts. For his efforts and contribution to support his country, Iqbal was offered a scholarship by Reebok to continue study. He had wanted to go to university and become a lawyer. But the more Iqbal was known internationally, the more he made powerful people in the industries to feel anxious with his actions.
Children labour is common in developing countries, not only in Pakistan. Iqbal Masih’s story is just one that gets the International attention. While the factory owners getting richer, behind them millions of workers including child labours suffer from malnutrition and ill-treatments. They are abused and chained into their looms so they cannot escape, and they work from dawn until dusk without given proper foods in order to earn the petty to pay their family loans.
The book is written using the narration from Fatima, Iqbal's closest friend whom he met from Hussain Khan's factory. I am not sure whether she is a real person or a fictional character made for this novel. Although the book was written based on the life of the late Iqbal Masih, I think the details and other characters are purely fiction. It is clearly written with simplistic language, making the story flows nicely and easy to be understood by the young readers. Click here to read the excerpt.
The book had won some awards, please browse the internet to read more about Iqbal Masih. I came across quite a few interesting articles while googling around.