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Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfurby Halima Bashir
Synopses & Reviews
Like the single white eyelash that graces her row of dark lashes–seen by her people as a mark of good fortune–Halima Bashir’s story stands out. Tears of the Desert is the first memoir ever written by a woman caught up in the war in Darfur. It is a survivor’s tale of a conflicted country, a resilient people, and the uncompromising spirit of a young woman who refused to be silenced.
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 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 by what is fast becoming one of the most terrifying genocides 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.
A Sudanese doctor speaks out about the horrors of the civil war between black Africans and the Arab-led Sudanese government as she describes her outrage over the treatment of female prisoners of the Arab government, the retaliation she faced after speaking out, and her personal struggle for survival, in a harrowing memoir of courage, family, and hope. 75,000 first printing.
About the Author
Halima Bashir lives with her husband and son in England, where she continues to speak out about the violence in Sudan.
Damien Lewis has spent the last twenty years reporting from war zones in Africa, with a particular focus and expertise in Sudan. His reporting from Darfur won the BBC One World Award. He is the internationally bestselling co-author of Slave, winner of the Index on Censorship Book Award.
Table of Contents
1. CHILD OF THE DESERT. The naming — Grandma's trip to the Lost Valley — Moon-bone madness — Mo, Omer, and me — The cutting time — 2. SCHOOL OF THE DESERT. School days — Fight school — Resistance for Grandma — The white eyelash attack — Cousins in love — Dream to be — 3. DESERT OF FIRE. Med school — University of Jihad — Rumors of war — Medicine Woman — Accident and emergency — Mission to Mazkhabad — Rebel Doctor — Black dogs and slaves — They come for me — A long-distance wedding — The devil horsemen — A time of fear — 4. DESERT OF NO RETURN. Escape from Darfur — The hostel of despair — In London, in love — Breaking the silence — Will to live.
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