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The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur Paperback – 5 Jun 2008
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The age of the African chronicler lives on in Daoud Hari's ground-level account of turmoil in Darfur. So much more than a history book, The Translator is a work of lyrical beauty, a moving elegy to the otherwise overlooked victims of a modern genocide (Tim Butcher, author of Blood River)
If you read nothing else about Africa this year read this book (Terry Waite)
About the Author
Daoud Hari was born in the Darfur region of Sudan. After escaping an attack on his village, he entered the refugee camps in Chad and began serving as a translator for the BBC, New York Times and other media, and for various NGOs. He now lives in the US, where he is a spokesperson for www.SaveDarfur.org.
Top customer reviews
The book is speckled with little gems of wisdom like these:
... You have to be stronger than your fears if you want to get anything done in this life.
... You have to find a way to laugh a little bit each day despite everything, or your heart will simply run out of the joy that makes it go.
Daoud Hari has seen his village desecrated, many friends and relatives needlessly killed and his family exiled as refugees in neighbouring Chad, - all because the government of Sudan is turning Arab against native African to clear the land ready to develop it for oil.
These people were friends, they ate in each other's huts - and now they are killing one another, manipulated like characters in a computer game.
This scenario has been repeated hundreds, even thousands of times throughout the villages and towns of Darfur. Young lads are becoming rebels because they have nowhere else to go; the rebel armies replace their lost families and quench their thirst for revenge.
Daoud Hari uses his skills in languages and his many contacts, as his weapons in the fight against this genocide.
He travels into Darfur to escort journalists and NGO representatives. His mission is to show this devastation to the world, in the hope that we can do something to stop it. He has risked his life many times. Ultimately he had to leave and continue his fight in America, where he now tours with savedarfour.org on the 'Voices from Darfour' tour.
Read this book - pass it around - speak out.
This genocide needs to be stopped - NOW.
Daoud has an engaging, inclusive writing style, sometimes laconic, sometimes invoking his faith or the international community, to undo or correct the gross injustice and unspeakable cruelties against his people. In many chapters he also turns briefly to his readers with rhetorical questions or explanations. And the way he describes his Zaghawa people and its five sultanates is quite engaging. In the rest of Darfur and Chad they are seen as smarter than good for them, better planners, risk spreaders, networkers and businessmen than most. Readers will soon notice his mentioning his many cousins and nieces in London, Cairo, Ndjamena, etc: the Zaghawa diaspora. Did they remain united when attacked from the air and were ethnically cleansed on the ground by Sudan’s military and Darfur Arabs’ Janjaweed killers and looters?
This reader has spent some 18 very pleasant months in Darfur when it was peaceful and bustling with trade, ethnic diversity and optimism. That world is gone, most probably and regrettably, forever.
Daoud soon became an object of interest to Chad’s internal security, then Sudan’s as well and miraculously survived arrest in Sudan, was extricated from there to Chad, then to Ghana and the US, where he wrote this account. His book has several messages. First, deal quickly in law courts with acts of genocide as in Rwanda or Darfur, lest the practice spreads. Secondly, he predicts that given the Sudan government’s policy of clearing oil- or gold-rich areas of its people, it will continue the empty rural Darfur by fuelling conflict among traditional pastoral Arab tribes in Darfur. Many years later, Daoud’s predictions seem to have come true about strife about tribal borders. The Sudan government today claims to control gold prospecting and hopes to become Africa's second-largest gold pruducer within years.
This review is only a pale endorsement for the rich testimony Daoud Hari wrote about his struggle for justice on behalf of the victims of the scandal called Darfur
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