• Melodie P.

Book Review: Tears of the desert: A memoir of survival in darfur

“Darfur. I know to you this must be a word soaked in suffering and blood. A name that conjures up terrible images of a dark horror and an evil without end. Pain and cruelty on a magnitude inconceivable in most of the civilized world. But to me Darfur means something quite different: It was and is that irreplaceable, unfathomable joy that is home.” -Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur, Halima Bashir

Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur was recommended to me by a dear friend who, after reading Halima Bashir’s tragic story, decided to continue her education to pursue immigration law. Bashir’s recount of the inhumane experiences she lived through will bring you to tears and rip your heart to shreds. Her will to live and her outspokenness against the violence and genocide of Darfur is a powerful message to the international community and individuals who have lived through the horrors of a dark, evil place.

Halima Bashir was born into the Zaghawa tribe in the western part of Sudan. The story follows her throughout her childhood experiences where the culture and traditions valued by the Zaghawa people are carefully intertwined throughout the narrative. After overcoming her first encounters of prejudice and struggle, Bashir becomes the first formal doctor from her village. Shortly after, violence breaks out between the Sudanese Arabs and the black African Sudanese and Halima finds herself in the midst of caring for the war victims. Her story continues as she experiences the systemic sexual violence and torture that is too horribly common for those who have survived the inhumane events of Darfur. She escapes to Europe and documents her efforts seeking asylum in England.

Katie and I recommend reading Bashir’s story because it draws attention to the injustice in the region that continues to be unresolved to this day. Her story is proof that in dark times love will prevail. In times of war, identity is held onto and tradition is overlooked to save one’s honor. Halima’s story is one of courage, and truly worth reading.

Halima Bashir is currently living in England where she has become a voice for Darfuri survivors by traveling and speaking. Katie and I recommend purchasing her autobiography as a portion of the proceeds will go to the Aegis Trust, a charity that works to prevent genocide worldwide. To learn more about the Aegis Trust or how to become involved visit: www.fund4darfur.com and www.aegistrust.org.

We would be honored to hear your thoughts while reading Halima’s story or your reflections on the conflict and road to peace in Sudan. Contact us via the contact box on our website or at proseforpeace@gmail.com.

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