By Gordon Lambie
In some ways, Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt’s new memoir, Peacekeeper’s Daughter is the work of a lifetime.
“I’ve been working on this book for 20 years,” the author said. “I started right after 9/11, when the American administration declared the war on terror because I realized I had a story to tell.”
In this case, that story revolves around Bellehumeur-Allatt’s experiences as a 12 year old girl living for a year first in Israel and then in Lebanon while her father worked as a Peacekeeper in the Middle-East for the United Nations. Although parts of the experience have been shared in the past as standalone essays, this book marks the first time that they have been collected together in chronological order.
Bellehumeur-Allatt grew up in a military family, moving from place to place as her father was given different assignments.
“It was while we were living in Yellowknife that my dad volunteered with the United Nations to be a peacekeeper and to serve in the Middle East,” she said, explaining that in the early days of 1982, the region was in a state of relative peace so the idea seemed like an adventure and a nice change from life in the north. “We didn’t see it as a dangerous thing,” she added.
In June of that year, however, the calm in the region came apart as Israel invaded southern Lebanon and Bellehumeur-Allatt saw her life change in a way that has been with her ever since.
“My book is about the five months that we were in Israel, and the seven months we were in Lebanon,” she said. “It was a tough time for me. My childhood ended when the war began.”