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Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfurby Halima Bashir
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Halima Bashir was born into the Zaghawa tribe, whose customs have remained unchanged for centuries, in the remote western deserts of Sudan in the region of South Darfur. Halimaa (TM)s father named his daughter after the traditional medicine woman of the village, and she grew up in a happy and close-knit childhood environment. Her father became a wealthy man by his tribea (TM)s standards, so he could afford to send Halima to school and university. Halima went on to study medicine, and at twenty-four she returned to her tribe and began practicing as their first ever qualified doctor.
But shortly thereafter Janjaweed Arab militias began savagely assaulting the Zaghawa, often with the backing of the Sudan military. At first, Halima tried not to get involved. But in January 2004 the Janjaweed attacked her area, raping 42 schoolgirls and their teachers. Halima treated the traumatized rape victims, some of whom were as young as eight years old, then spoke up about what she had witnessed in Sudanese newspaper and to the UN charities. But the secret police came for her and Halima was interrogated and subjected to unspeakable torture and multiple rapes. She managed to escape into hiding in her home village, but Janjaweed raiders backed by helicopter gunships attacked her home. Halimaa (TM)s father was killed, her village turned into a smoking ruin. She knew that she had to leave for good.
Taking what little money her mother could spare her, Halima set out on an epic journey to escape the hell of Darfur. With little idea how she might get there, she chose to head for England, where a long-lost childhood cousin was waiting to marry her. Now she is determined to share her story with theworld in hopes that her tale will help shed light on the hundreds of thousands of innocent and beautiful lives being snuffed out by what is quickly becoming one of the most terrible genocides of the 21st century.
In this first memoir of its kind from a woman affected by the war in Darfur, a female doctor in Sudan shares her harrowing tale of courage, hope, family, and survival. Unabridged. 11 CDs.
Born into the Zaghawa tribe in the Sudanese desert, Halima was doted on by her father, a cattle herder, and kept in line by her formidable grandmother. A politically astute man, Halima's father saw to it that his daughter received a good education away from their rural surroundings. Halima excelled in her studies and exams, surpassing even the privileged Arab girls who looked down their noses at the black Africans. With her love of learning and her father's support, Halima went on to study medicine, and at twenty-four she became her village's first formal doctor.Yet not even the symbol of good luck that dotted her eye could protect her from the encroaching conflict that would consume her land. Janjaweed Arab militias started savagely assaulting the Zaghawa, often with the backing of the Sudanese military. Then, in early 2004, the Janjaweed attacked Bashir's village and surrounding areas, raping forty-two schoolgirls and their teachers. Bashir, who treated the traumatized victims, some as young as eight years old, could no longer remain quiet. But breaking her silence ignited a horrifying turn of events.In this harrowing and heartbreaking account, Halima Bashir sheds light on the hundreds of thousands of innocent lives being eradicated in what has surely become the most terrifying genocide of the twenty-first century. Raw and riveting, Tears of the Desert is more than just a memoir ? it is Halima Bashir's global call to action.
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