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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The loneliness of the whistleblower, 9 July 2013
A very readable, at times gripping and passionate, account of the process by which the former head of the UK Government's Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department, in the role of UN Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, came to the decision in March 2004 to break ranks with the UN hierarchy (and also the UK Government) to key speak out about the widespread village burnings, killings and human rights abuses in Darfur that had begun in 2003. This courageous stance effectively ended his ability to work again for both the UN and the UK Government. This is a fascinating account that reveals the personal values that led him to take this stance and the loneliness that is the experience of whistleblowers - even when they occupy top positions in large international organisations.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Apathy kills, 13 Nov. 2013
By 
Ian Smith (Cessy, France) - See all my reviews
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Mukesh is a truly extraordinary man, and this is a truly extraordinary book. It demands a truly extraordinary response, not just in Darfur and Nuba, but wherever rights are curtailed, people are exploited, and the violent reign. An extraordinary response from those who have the power to bring these abuses to an end. May they also read his words.

Yet I have mixed feelings, for this is a deeply disturbing yet also an intensely annoying read. So let's get the annoying out of the way. First, the sensationalist title (and the subtitle....oh yes, and the blurb on the front and back covers). And it isn’t helped by the vaguely ridiculous prologue - an attempted assassination with epoxy resin? Hard to swallow!

Mukesh (or more likely his ghost writer) employs extensive use of dialogue with his family, friends and foes to tell his story - a highly effective literary device that creates a compelling immediacy. But in doing so, he fatally compromises this important book. For in attempting to accurately recreate conversations from the past - an utterly unrealistic exercise - it is inevitable that much of the book is simply fabricated. Quite simply, this is journalism, not history. And once you begin to question the historical accuracy of the dialogue, the rest looks suspect. Which is why I am so annoyed. For the appalling neglect of Darfur by the so-called ’international community’ cost hundreds of thousands of lives, with millions more violently displaced, raped, and terrorised. There is little enough to be proud of in relation to Darfur, and the heroic efforts of those few who fought bravely for attention and action must be honoured and celebrated. It is the truth that must be told and heard, not a ’novel based on a true story’.

My final reason for annoyance is the somewhat artificial simplicity of the story. Every action is right or wrong. There is little room for ambiguity or complexity. People fall simply into three categories; family, friend or foe. There are no acquaintances. In his world, you are either deliberately kept in the dark (family), utterly loyal friends (most of his closest staff in Khartoum) or devious foes (just about everyone else, including several of the UN great and good; Kofi Annan, Mark Malloch Brown, Kieran Prendergast, to name but three).

Had I not known Mukesh, I would probably have given up at the prologue. I would have written it off as yet another example of self indulgent vanity publishing in which the writer positions himself (and it's nearly always him) as the hero at the centre of a major historical event.

But fortunately I got past page 14. And the more I read, the more I had to read. Not just because this is written with real honesty, but because this is truly a story that desperately needs to be heard. Putting aside my petty complaints, the overwhelming message of this important book comes through loud and clear. And it's deeply, very deeply, disturbing. I am sickened by the horrific accounts of rape, violence, mutilation, destruction, and genocide. I am disgusted by the complicity of the UN. I am filled with frustrated outrage that those who ordered and led these crimes against humanity still go free - and even continue to mutilate and destroy.

Which I was why I want everyone to read this book as a call to action. For apathy kills.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What Would You Have Done?, 15 May 2013
This memoir of Kapila's time as head of the UN in Sudan is brutal and tragic. It's also suspenseful and I stayed up late for several nights reading to see what would happen next. If you want to learn what happened in Darfur through the story of one man's involvement in that horrible mess, then this book is for you. I was left, though, still wondering why it all happened. From this account, it seems the government in Khartoum decided to kill thousands of people and drive them from their homes simply because they were black, which is possible, but I suspect there must also have been political or economic reasons.

I finished the book disgusted with the world's response to Darfur -- and especially with the United Nations. It left me puzzling over an organizational culture that apparently thought the right thing to do about the Khartoum-sponsored mass murders and mass rapes and mass displacements in Darfur was to keep quiet to avoid offending Khartoum. I can't see how this could ever be justified, but then I'm a journalist and therefore biased toward making things public. In any case, I'm glad Mukesh Kapila broke the code and alerted the press to what was going on.

Unfortunately, it sounds like all the publicity -- and the UN Security Council action and International Criminal Court indictments of Khartoum leaders -- that followed hasn't stopped the killing in Sudan. Maybe the people involved in raising awareness about Khartoum's crimes and providing succor for Khartoum's victims should instead (or also) be raising money to quietly hire a Blackwater-like military contractor to enforce no-fly zones in the parts of Sudan that Khartoum continues to brutalize. And perhaps provide arms and training to the anti-Khartoum forces in those areas so they can defend themselves. Sure, it'd be illegal, but who's going to oppose it with more than just angry rhetoric?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Testament to the Power of the Individual and the Failings of the Many, 10 Nov. 2014
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Essential reading for anyone who cares about Sudan, the UN and international development. It's also for anyone who has ever pondered our own responsibility to stand against evil wherever we may find it and the difference one committed individual can make. The genocide in Darfur unfolded swiftly and silently even as the international community still echoed to cries of 'never again' about the Rwandan genocide. Dr Kapila provides an unique insight into the political machinations that stopped the UN and its member states from identifying the genocide as soon as they were aware of the atrocities unfolding. He is to be applauded for his tenacity in the face of political reluctance but the book also clearly illustrates the mistakes that still haunt him.

As the UN's new man in Sudan, he could have been considered ill-equipped to balance the North/South peace process as the tragedy in Darfur gathered pace but his energy and commitment carried him through what could be considered the darkest period of recent world politics.

The book is easy to read and intersperses the crisis in Sudan with incidents from Dr Kapila's past, showing how they contributed to his steadfast commitment that he must act even if it cost him his post and career.

There are lessons to be learnt here for the international community, but on this insight, it is to be feared that international political wrangling will always trump saving lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating - but somewhat depressing - reading, 28 Mar. 2013
This is a shocking account of something which should never have happened. To tell the story at all is incredibly brave, but to have lived it and to have dealt with the continued stonewalling encountered at every turn must have been truly awful. My heart goes to the Sudanese people of Daufur, and to the writer(s). Thanks for doing this difficult and painful work. It's a book everyone should read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 26 Mar. 2013
By 
Mergen Davaapil "Mergs" (Geneva Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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perhaps not an easy beach read but the quick paced narrative is both informative and exciting.
it's a shame that it took so long for the world to recognize the horrific events and still we sit idle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A 'must read' for everybody with the trace of a social conscience!, 11 Jun. 2013
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An outstanding book. One of the hardest reads of my life because of the content and the unspeakable things mankind (personkind) continues to inflict on mankind. One of the easiest reads of my life because as the reviews indicated it 'reads like an international thriller' - it is not, what it is a wake up call to us all. It's a 'wake up call' to governments across the world and a 'wake up call' to the UN.

Well done for having the courage to write it Mukesh, and more than well done for bringing this tide of evil to the attention of the world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can we learn to be courageous?, 24 April 2013
I was truly touched by Against A Tide of Evil! In addition to being extremely well written and surprisingly entertaining for a work of non-fiction - and covering the horrendous topic it does(!!) - it also made me reflect on a personal level. It made me wonder if and how one can train in every-day life to enhance our ability to take the right decisions and not to be guided by fear. Can we learn to be courageous?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Against the tide of evil, 7 July 2013
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This review is from: Against a Tide of Evil: How One Man Became the Whistleblower to the First Mass Murder of the Twenty-First Century (Kindle Edition)
A excellent book which demonstrates moral courage against those around you to do what is right. A thoroughly emotive and inspirational read. Thank you Dr Kapila.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Empowering, shocking, life changing., 25 Nov. 2013
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It's absolutely absorbing, inspiring, empowering, shocking, eyes-opening, thank you for this life-changing testimony. I'm sure it will change many many more lives and empower many around the world.

Elena Ghizzo
Project Coordinator at Italians for Darfur
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