Mulgrew, Ian 1957-
MULGREW, Ian 1957-
PERSONAL: Born February 4, 1957, in Dumbarton, Scotland; son of Edward and Marion (Harper) Mulgrew; married; children: Christopher, Deanna, Paul. Education: Attended Simon Fraser University and York University. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Sailing, skiing, reading, chess.
ADDRESSES: Home—1-2531 Pt. Grey Rd., Vancouver, British Columbia V6K 1A1, Canada. Offıce—Vancouver Sun, 200 Granville St., Suite 1, Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3N3 Canada. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: Journalist and author. Thomson Newspapers, Ltd., 1977-80; Globe and Mail, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1980-85; Province, city editor, 1985-89; Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, senior feature writer, columnist; Toronto Star, Toronto, book critic. Taught journalism at Kwantlen College, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Producer and/or host of numerous television programs, including Forum, Canada AM, As It Happens, Western Voices, Beyond the News, and Hooked on the Blues.
AWARDS, HONORS: B'nai Brith award; Best Limited Series award, 1989, for Forum.
Unholy Terror: The Sikhs and International Terrorism, Key Porter Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988.
Final Payoff: The True Price of Convicting Clifford Robert Olson, Seal Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.
(Ghostwriter) Jack Webster, Webster! An Autobiography of Jack Webster, Douglas & McIntyre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 1991.
Who Killed Cindy James, Seal Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1991.
(With Colin Angus) Amazon Extreme: Three Men, a Raft, and the World's Most Dangerous River, Stoddart Publishing Co. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Colin Angus) Lost in Mongolia: Rafting the
World's Last Unchallenged River, Stoddart Publishing Co. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
Host of Forum, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
SIDELIGHTS: Ian Mulgrew is a Canada-based journalist and author whose Unholy Terror: The Sikhs and International Terrorism is a study of a siege that occurred in 1984, the history that led to it, and its aftermath. In June of that year, Prime Minister Indira Ghandi of India ordered the military attack on the Golden Temple of Amritsar in the Punjab. The site is the religious center of the Sikh faith and was the place at which fundamentalist leader Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was killed, making him a martyr who died without creating his dream of a separate Sikh land to be called Khalistan. Hundreds of Sikh pilgrims were killed in the attack, called Operation Bluestar, and approximately 1,500 people were arrested. Following the destruction at the temple, Ghandi herself was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.
On June 23, 1985, Sikhs were implicated in two bombings that took the lives of more than 300, most of them Canadian citizens of Indian ancestry. An Air India flight traveling from Canada to London crashed off the coast of Ireland, and a suitcase being transferred from a Canadian Pacific plane to a connecting Air India flight exploded, killing two. Other acts of violence continued across Canada, which has a large Indian population, with both Sikhs and Hindus being harassed and killed. Books in Canada contributor Bruce Serafin noted that "the more moderate Sikhs, those for whom Canada is home, have been cowed: with a few exceptions, they are afraid to speak out, afraid of reprisals within their community." Serafin called Mulgrew's Unholy Terror: The Sikhs and International Terrorism "a factual, prosaic piece of journalism: it doesn't interpret events, and it doesn't take sides. As such, it is a necessary book, but only a beginning."
Serafin noted that Canada is a "multicultural" country, but that the downside of this is that problems within specific communities are largely ignored until serious violence erupts, for example in connection with Asian gangs and triads. Serafin said the reason is that Canada, like other homogenous societies, is racist. "If people aren't like us, we ignore them. We don't build bridges to them. They live in their cell; we live in ours. So that we don't pay attention to the shameful treatment of newly arrived Canadian Asian and Indian women, for instance, just as we don't pay attention to the intimidation of Asian and Sikh communities by the thugs in their midst. Our standards, we say aren't theirs: let them work it out. This is our 'tolerance.' But this 'tolerance' is merely a subtle form of racism. And in the case of the Sikhs it has backfired." Serafin noted that in his book, Mulgrew provides the history and the details, and added that "it is up to us to go on from there."
Jane O'Hara wrote in a review of Unholy Terror for Maclean's that Mulgrew "was unable to infiltrate the province's tightly knit fundamentalist Sikh community: most of his own interviews are conducted with Westernized moderates who shed little light on Sikh extremism." O'Hara conceded, however, that Mulgrew's book "succeeds as a primer on Sikh politics and religion."
Quill & Quire's Philip Plews wrote that "even when Mulgrew does interview the right people, he fails to ask the right questions or isn't pushy enough. He allows his subjects to spout party dogma and, rather than challenging them at the time to get their reaction, comments on it months later while writing the book.
Mulgrew's strengths lie in behind-the-scenes investigation and the ability to connect events with people who, in the past, have been superficially treated in the press." Plews specifically noted Mulgrew's profile of Talwinder Singh Parmar, a Sikh militant leader living in exile in British Columbia who was suspected but never convicted of his participation in the explosion aboard Air India 182. Parmar rose within the ranks from a laborer to a priest, with his sole purpose in life being the establishment of Khalistan. "With portraits like this," commented Plews, "Mulgrew immerses the reader in a subculture within a subculture, whose members live above the law."
Final Payoff: The True Price of Convicting Clifford Robert Olson is Mulgrew's account of the man who went on a killing spree in British Columbia in 1980 and 1981, and who was paid $100,000 for naming the location of his victims' corpses. Quill & Quire's Ted Mumford felt that Final Payoff "works reasonably well," but wondered why Mulgrew did not raise the questions of why Olson committed these crimes and whether or not the police were ethically and morally responsible in making the deal. Mumford called "commendable" the fact that Mulgrew does not go into detail about the murders themselves, "but it is less wise to skim over the killer's upbringing. Mulgrew calls him a 'pathetic nutcase' and leaves it at that." Mumford concluded by saying that "it's too bad [the book] didn't ask 'why' more often."
In a Books in Canada review, David Wilson called Final Payoff "a thoroughly researched and highly readable book," and added that Mulgrew "in his trademark rapid-fire style . . . manages to piece together perhaps the most detailed and forthright examination yet of the entire Clifford Olson saga."
Cindy James went missing for two weeks before her body was found in Richmond, British Columbia on June 8, 1989. A black stocking was wrapped around her neck, and another was used to hog-tie her hands and legs behind her back. The eventual finding by the coroner's jury was that the cause of her death could not be determined. James had been threatened and assaulted many times over the previous seven years, and she had been institutionalized twice. It could not be ascertained whether she was a victim of an undiscovered assailant or of herself. Quill & Quire's Peter Robinson noted that in Who Killed Cindy James, "though Mulgrew is critical of both the police and the psychiatric establishment for failing her, he argues that she manipulated the authorities into believing her tales of terror in order to get attention." Mulgrew also felt many of the men involved became "infatuated" with James, but that the female officers never trusted her. Ultimately, the source of James's suffering could never be discovered.
Mulgrew collaborated with British Columbian adventurer Colin Angus in writing the account of Angus's travels with Ben Kozel of Australia and Scott Borthwick of South Africa. Amazon Extreme: Three Men, a Raft, and the World's Most Dangerous River is the story of the first group ever to raft the entire length of the Amazon, which they accomplished in five months in 1999 in a rubber raft. The young men ducked gunfire and suffered dehydration and dangerous rapids, but they also were privy to some of the most beautiful landscape and abundant wildlife in the world. "Included is interesting historical background on the Amazon and the mystery and mythology surrounding this awesome river," wrote a writer for the Boating Channel online. "There have been many explorers who leave in search of finding the true source of this river and return with only a possible theory. The question has yet to be answered."
Library Journal's Joseph L. Carlson wrote of Amazon Extreme: "Sure, the information about the Amazon is fascinating, but what lingers is the sensation that we have completed the voyage with the authors." "These pages don't feature a lot of introspection," commented a Kirkus Reviews critic, "but they're also refreshingly free of portentousness, favoring slam-bang episodes of suicidal behavior laced with doses of humor."
Angus and Kozel teamed up with Canadian Remy Quinter and Australian Tim Cope for a similar trek across Outer Mongolia and Siberia in 2001. Mulgrew and Angus documented this adventure in Lost in Mongolia: Rafting the World's Last Unchallenged River.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Books in Canada, November, 1988, Bruce Serafin, review of Unholy Terror: The Sikhs and International Terrorism, p. 36; November, 1990, David Wilson, review of Final Payoff: The True Price of Convicting Clifford Robert Olson, pp. 43-44.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2002, review of Amazon Extreme: Three Men, a Raft, and the World's Most Dangerous River, p. 26.
Library Journal, March 15, 2002, Joseph L. Carlson, review of Amazon Extreme, p. 100.
Maclean's, July 11, 1988, Jane O'Hara, review of Unholy Terror, p. 48.
Quill & Quire, September, 1988, Philip Plews, review of Unholy Terror, p. 74; October, 1990, Ted Mumford, review of Final Payoff, p. 20; March, 1991, Peter Robinson, review of Who Killed Cindy James?, p. 63.
Boating Channel,http://www.boatingchannel.com/ (June 6, 2002), review of Amazon Extreme.*