This memoir helps keep the Darfur tragedy open as a wound not yet healed.”—Elie Wiesel, author of Night
“This is a brave book. And a valuable one. Halima’s story of the atrocities and immeasurable losses she has endured must be told. The world continues to turn a deaf ear to the cries from the Darfur region, and our failure to protect this tortured population is a measure of who we are as a global ‘community’. Still, Halima leaves us with hope and awe in the face of her courage.”—Mia Farrow, actor and advocate
“Halima Bashir has bared her soul to help stop the bleeding of her people in Darfur. Attention must be paid.”—John Prendergast, co-chair of the ENOUGH Project and co-author of Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond
“A harrowing and beautifully written tale of a rich life, untold suffering, and impossible hope told from the heart of a fellow African sister. Read this as the tragedy that has overcome our long-suffering country, Sudan.”—Mende Nazer, author of Slave
“Halima’s story is fantastic and exhausting, perhaps all the more so because I can see and hear and feel the people and places she describes. People need to be drawn into Darfur through stories like this, to cut through the statistics and the horror and to come back to the humanity–to families, love, hope, and courage and the normality of life in such abnormal circumstances.”—Lisa French Blaker, author of Heart of Darfur
“The genocide in Darfur has found its Anne Frank. The slaughter inflicted on the African peoples of western Sudan is one of modern Africa’s darkest episodes but one Darfuri woman, Halima Bashir, rips through diplomatic compromise and political double-speak to lay bear Darfur’s ghastly reality. A searingly frank testimonial of a war crime that deserves all our attention.'”—Tim Butcher, author of Blood River: A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart
“Bashir, a physician and refugee living in London, offers a vivid personal portrait of life in the Darfur region of Sudan before the catastrophe . . . This is a vehement cri de coeur, but in showing what she suffered, and lost, Bashir makes it resonate.”—Publishers Weekly
Tears of the Desert is that rarest of literary endeavors, not just a book you read but a book you experience. Halima Bashir's story of growing up in the Zaghawa tribe of Darfur is vivid, poignant and brutally candid. It is also, simply, brutal. When she describes (with the expert help of her co-writer) the life of her remote desert village, readers will not want to put the book down. When she turns to the violence that shattered her village, her family and her own life, readers will have to steel themselves to go on…No one who finishes Tears of the Desert will ever be able to say he or she has not been called as a witness to this genocide.
The Washington Post
This astounding memoir by Sudanese doctor Bashir relates the harrowing account of Janjaweed Arab militias that attacked her Zaghawa village of in 2004 and raped 42 school girls and their teachers. Bashir was left with the unimaginable task of treating every young girl and woman while trying to keep her anger in check for fear of retaliation. Bashir's stories are heartbreaking, and Rosalyn Landor captures the Sudanese dialect perfectly as well as the melancholy that abounds in Bashir's written account. Landor brilliantly steps into Bashir's shoes and assumes her identity so seamlessly that listeners will believe they are hearing it from the author herself. A One World hardcover (Reviews, June 6).(Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Author Bashir, a young Zaghawa woman, begins her account of the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan by sharing her early experiences of prejudice; these are graphically overshadowed by the 2004 Janjaweed raid on the rural village where she practices medicine, which galvanizes her to greater political awareness. Actress/narrator Rosalyn Landor masterfully captures the fears of this brave survivor and the incomparable sense of loss that too many of us are ignoring. A very troubling but necessary listen; highly recommended. [Audio clip available through library.brillianceaudio.com.-Ed.]
Eyewitness account of the systematic genocide inflicted on the black African tribes of Darfur province by Sudan's Arab government. Assisted by British broadcast journalist Lewis (co-author: Slave: My True Story, 2004), Bashir begins with her mostly happy childhood in a small village in the western desert. She does not whitewash the past, however: As a young girl she resisted the ritual facial scarification that was customary in her Zaghawa tribe, but could not escape genital mutilation (described in horrific detail). She was the daughter of a cattle herder prosperous enough to send her away to secondary school and to medical school in Khartoum, where she endured (and defied) Arab scorn and mistreatment. While the initial chapters charm with their fascinating portrait of tribal desert life, those that follow are grim. When government officials learned of the young doctor's determination to treat the wounded from both sides of the conflict destroying Darfur, Bashir was at first threatened and then detained and gang-raped. Following the burning of her village and the rape and slaughter of its inhabitants, she fled south and after some months was able, with the help of a paid agent, to board a plane leaving Sudan. The memoir's final portion recounts her life in England, where she entered a marriage arranged long-distance by her father. Bashir and her husband (a cousin from her village) repeatedly attempted to gain asylum as refugees, but they were nearly deported; thanks to publicity drummed up by the Aegis Trust, an NGO active in efforts to end the Darfur crisis, they were able to remain in England. Bashir still has no knowledge of the fate or whereabouts of her family in Sudan.An epilogue provides statistics about the extent of the killing and devastation in Darfur, the failed attempts of the international community to halt it and the enabling role of China, a major importer of Sudanese oil and principal supplier of its arms. Both heartrending and chilling. Agent: Felicity Bryan/Felicity Bryan Agency