The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur

The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur

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Overview

The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari, Dennis Michael Burke, Megan M. McKenna

I am the translator who has taken journalists into dangerous Darfur. It is my intention now to take you there in this book, if you have the courage to come with me.

The young life of Daoud Hari–his friends call him David–has been one of bravery and mesmerizing adventure. He is a living witness to the brutal genocide under way in Darfur.

The Translator is a suspenseful, harrowing, and deeply moving memoir of how one person has made a difference in the world–an on-the-ground account of one of the biggest stories of our time. Using his high school knowledge of languages as his weapon–while others around him were taking up arms–Daoud Hari has helped inform the world about Darfur.

Hari, a Zaghawa tribesman, grew up in a village in the Darfur region of Sudan. As a child he saw colorful weddings, raced his camels across the desert, and played games in the moonlight after his work was done. In 2003, this traditional life was shattered when helicopter gunships appeared over Darfur’s villages, followed by Sudanese-government-backed militia groups attacking on horseback, raping and murdering citizens and burning villages. Ancient hatreds and greed for natural resources had collided, and the conflagration spread.

Though Hari’s village was attacked and destroyedhis family decimated and dispersed, he himself escaped. Roaming the battlefield deserts on camels, he and a group of his friends helped survivors find food, water, and the way to safety. When international aid groups and reporters arrived, Hari offered his services as a translator and guide. In doing so, he risked his life again and again, for the government of Sudan had outlawed journalists in the region, and death was the punishment for those who aided the “foreign spies.” And then, inevitably, his luck ran out and he was captured. . . .

The Translator tells the remarkable story of a man who came face-to-face with genocide– time and again risking his own life to fight injustice and save his people.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400067442
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/18/2008
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.81(w) x 8.47(h) x 0.97(d)

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 major news organizations including The New York Times, NBC, and the BBC, as well as the United Nations and other aid groups. He now lives in the United States and was part of SaveDarfur.org's Voices from Darfur tour.

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Translator 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Translator is a horrifying first-hand account of the modern-day holocaust in Sudan. Daoud Hari has seen wretched acts of cruelty that appear in ones only most gut-wrenching nightmares. Unfortunately, these heartbreaking stories are a harsh reality for those living it. Hari, a native to Darfur, a region in Sudan that is under constant attack, became determined to share the horror of his life with the world. In his eye-opening memoir, he does so. Hari became incredibly useful to organizations and journalists who were eager to help the war-stricken region. With his ability to speak English, Zaghawa, and Arabic, plus have a gifted knowledge of Darfur's terrain, he proved useful. Hari risked his life over and over to save the country that he once so dearly loved. In his story, he tells that tales of grief and the violence that swept Sudan. This is a book like no other, and we are incredibly fortunate to have it. The memoir brings tears to ones eyes- the graphic detail are absolutely heinous. All in all, this novel is nothing short of pure excellence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The complete title is as follows: The Translator: A Tribesman¿s Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari, as told to Dennis Burke and Megan M. McKenna, 2008, Random House. If this book only reported firsthand on the situation in Sudan, it would already be an excellent, highly recommended book, but Daoud Hari¿s uniquely penetrating, concise eyewitness account puts this book in a higher category: this is a necessary book. If you read no other book this year, at least read this one if you read 100 other books, read this one first. The descriptions of horror can make you weep or wretch, yet the book is infused with humanity, dignity, and even humor--a testimony to the worst and best humanity has to offer. Daoud Hari has witnessed utmost cruelties and survived unspeakable crimes which struck down his family, his village, the region of Darfur, and which continue to corrupt and cripple the nation of Sudan, as its tribal citizens are wiped off the face of the earth or turned into unwelcome refugees. Overwhelmed by the senseless loss of his brother, the escape of his aged mother into the wilderness to hide, the dangerous roaming of his aged, noble father, the author sought to do something meaningful in the wake of madness which engulfed everyone and everything he knew. Armed with his ability to speak Zaghawa, Arabic, and English, and with intimate knowledge of Darfur¿s geography, Hari became useful to aid organizations and journalists. He became determined to help bring to the outside world the stories of those who died, who killed them, how, and why. The courage and humanity of journalists and other individuals who gathered eyewitness accounts of the genocide in Sudan comprise an essential part of his story. He also supplies significant explanations into the historic and cultural contexts of the strife in his country. His frankness makes this catastrophe very real for us.
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
Finding accurate descriptors to relate this snapshot of a place and time as foreign to my experience as imaginable is a challenge. Heart-rending – there are moments detailed in this account of the war(s) in Sudan that left me feeling as if the oxygen had been sucked out of the room. Humorous – Mr. Hari’s gentle, welcoming spirit, tongue-in-cheek wit and “Gift of Gab” shine through on nearly every page. Frightening – to witness the rapid destruction of an ancient culture, even from the remoteness of reading it in a book, and realize how vulnerable even the most established society actually is cause for one’s anxiety to rise. Joyous – overhearing Mr. Hari’s family as they welcome each other amid the terror that surrounds them is to hear the voices of ones who: know what is valuable, practice the heritage of their ancestors with humility and invites all to celebrate their familial connections. Those four words are a poor start to relating the marvel of this book. Daoud Hari grew up in the close-knit, much extended Zaghawa tribe of Eastern Africa. This group has existed long before the concept of land “belonging” to people and the need for boundaries to define “countries” existed. His parents recognized his high intelligence and provided formal education to further develop his talents. This education combined with his ability to speak (at least) three languages fluently and his already large capacity to make friends made him highly sought as a translator after the various rebel groups (according to the author, these groups are actually supported by the government in a systematic effort at genocide) began a civil war and foreign journalists began arriving to cover the “action.” In the course of Sudan’s “Season of War,” Mr. Hari’s family, as have most of the population of that area, has suffered the loss of many of its members.  Entire villages have been attacked, its inhabitants slaughtered or forced from their lands, becoming refugees in the neighboring country of Chad. Mr. Hari’s position as translator made him a witness to many of the atrocities of this conflict, highly valued as a guide and deeply suspected by his government of being a spy. He speaks openly of the fear that was ever-present in his work, but he functioned from the perspective of “you have to be stronger than your fears if you want to get anything done in this life.” (p.11). His commitment to helping the journalists, who were reporting the carnage to the rest of the world, is rooted in his tribal heritage and the values taught him by his elders lead him to live the reality that “(you) must of course help everyone you can” (p.63). During his last job as guide and translator, he was arrested by one of the “rebel groups” and turned over to the government. His time as a prisoner was filled torture, interrogations, starvation, sleep deprivation and a heightened awareness that his Government cared more for power than it cared for justice or caring for its people. “The proof of a democracy is surely whether or not a government represents the hearts of its people” (p.86). The book is written to further educate the world about what is happening in Sudan, as the rulers of that country will not cease the genocide unless they are forced to do so by the outside world. Through all of the loss, torture, harassment and becoming a refugee himself, Mr. Hari remains hopeful – that the Zaghawa will return to the land without borders, that justice will prevail and that he may return home to his family.  May this wish become a reality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read-alot More than 1 year ago
This book really answered any questions I had about what is going on in Darfur.  Don't miss out on  reading the appendixes in the back of the book. They have some good info too.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
menomm26 More than 1 year ago
The Translator, written by Daoud Hari, is a memoir about Daoud’s own experiences with the genocide in Darfur. Hari, being Zaghawa and born and raised in Darfur, brings to light a whole new perspective on the atrocities occurring in Sudan. He describes his childhood spent in a peaceful Sudanese village, and how life for the tribesmen got turned upside down once the fighting and attacks broke out across his country. Suddenly neighboring villages that had lived in harmony since the beginning were killing, raping, and torturing each other. Daoud, the scholar of his family, had learned English, and therefore began offering his services to journalists and reporters across the globe. Time after time he would risk his life to shuttle these people across the Chad Sudan border and translate for them the tragic stories of the victims of this genocide. While each one was different and more terrible than the next, they all had a way of impacting all those who heard it. Daoud knew this, and knew that it was his responsibility to get these stories out into the world so that people would know what about what was happening in Darfur and that they might help. Eventually his luck caught up with him and while taking journalist Paul Salopek into the warzone which was Sudan they were captured by the rebel forces. Through friendships and determination that fought to stay alive so that one day that may tell their own stories. One major theme in this novel is that your relationship with your family and friends, family specifically, should be one of the most important and valued aspects of your life. Daoud, along with everyone else in his culture, has a very strong respect and love for his family. Family comes first, before everything and everyone else, no matter what. Another theme was that humanity should not discriminate against each other, we should always stick together regardless of race or ethnicity. Personally, I liked how, even though politics has a lot to do with the killings and attacks in Darfur, the book didn’t focus on that part too much, rather it focused on the flaws in humanity that allows all this to happen. I also liked how Daoud didn’t sugarcoat anything that happened to the people he interviewed; he told it exactly how it happened no matter how awful it may have been. The only dislike I had was that there were a lot of run on sentences, but other than that there was nothing I didn’t like content-wise. I definitely think this is a great book for anyone to read because it really makes you take a second look at your life and realize how lucky you are. I value my family and friends so much more after reading this. It’s so inspirational and hearing about these terribly awful things that happen to people makes you want to go out and help in any way you can. I haven’t finished this one yet, but I also recommend reading Tears of the Desert by Dr. Halima Bashir and Damien Lewis, which is also a memoir about Darfur.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ChariK More than 1 year ago
Very inspiring. This man took great risks in order to protect his beautiful country and reveal the atrocities going on within. Courage like this is hard to find. Beautiful story.
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This book was phenomenal! Very informative, heart felt account of what is occurring in the Darfur region today.
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balletlove More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up by chance while browsing at the bookstore. I have wanted to know more about the situation in Sudan and this book was quite helpful. Hari's writing style is simple, but gentle and genuine. Of course, the book depicts many of the horrific situations that Hari was witness to while serving as a translator for journalists writing about the refugee camps in Chad. Also, I appreciated the extra appendix chapter at the end of the book that more fully explained the history of the conflict in this region. Very helpful! Of course, reading this book makes me no expert on the situation, but at least now I am more informed about what's going on and am more aware that the Sudanese people need help!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very interesting, first hand information, current experiences, describes different curcumstances in Darfur and Sudan. Excellent for a study. Is topic for United Methodist Women study for this year
Anonymous More than 1 year ago