Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Translator, a tribesman's memoir of Darfur - Daoud Hari

I picked this completely by chance. Most of the times, when I'm shelving books in work, I find books than catch my attention and I file them under my mental wishlist. This time, instead, I decided to just borrow it (and later buy it) and read it straight away.
I'm ashamed to say I didn't know anything about what happened in Darfur. I don't like reading newspapers daily because they depress me and they take a long time, too. I prefer to go into more depth by reading books like this one.
I was surprised to notice how readable it was. The writing was urgent, with no frills, but it was also lyrical at times. I'm guessing the editors had a bigger role than usual, but it's ok. It's the subject that matters.
Hari's voice is easy to follow and to like. He managed to strike some deep chords with me, while he talked about his family, how he returned to his village learning that it might be attacked in few days and how he led his people to safety. I saw how his tribe shared everything, even when they had nothing. It made me re-think about the extreme poverty of Frank McCourt in Angela's Ashes, and how lonely it compares to this.
But the atrocities they had to suffer are incomparable. It was a genocide and they let it happened. I was appalled to see just how little the International governments did to help them
But to hear how much Oxfam, Amnesty and other charities, made a difference, from someone who can testify in person, having witnessed the lack of basic resources that thousands of refugees endured, I decided I wanted to contribute as well. Just a little, but so I know I'm doing something. So as a new year's resolution, I'm going to donate monthly to Amnesty and, possibly to Emergency.

I recommend this book to anyone, but in particular to those like me who want an introduction to what is the Darfur's genocide, and those who like to hear things from people who experienced them firsthand.

other reviews:
Trish's reading nook
Natasha at Maw Books
Debi at Nothing of Importance
Wendy of Caribousmom
Literary Feline at Musings of a Bookish Kitty
3M at 1 More Chapter
Megan of Leafing through Life
Somer at SomeReads
Chris at Stuff As Dreams Are Made On

4 comments:

Melody said...

I've this book sitting in my pile for quite some time... I'm hoping to read this in the coming year! Thanks for your insightful review, Valentina!

Hope you've a wonderful New Year ahead! :)

Nymeth said...

This has been waiting for me on the shelf for a very long time. I know it will be an incredibly sad book, but I want to read it. I want to know.

I think it's great the book inspired you do donate monthly to Amnesty. Daoud Hari would be proud.

Trish said...

Until this book I didn't know anything about Darfur either. It was a powerful one and definitely eye-opening!

valentina said...

Melody, happy new year to you too!
I'm looking forward to your review!

Nymeth, it was an incredibly sad book, and a true eye-opener, but there's beauty as well, especially in the writing, and in the love and care that the author puts into talking about his land.

Trish, it was really. Parts of me now would like to read more, but other parts are shrinking away from all those atrocities. It's just so cruel.