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Tears Of The Desert [Hardcover]

Halima Bashir
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 28 2008

Halima Bashir was born in the remote desert of Darfur, Sudan, and was raised in a loving family that was part of the black African Zaghawa tribe. In a rare privilege for a girl of her village, she attended junior and secondary school in a nearby town. Bashir proved herself academically gifted and went on to study medicine, becoming her tribe’s first qualified doctor, much to the pride of her father.
    But war had already broken out in Darfur when Dr. Bashir began her practice, and the violence perpetrated by Janjaweed Arab militias was spreading. In January 2004, the militia attacked a remote school and gang-raped 42 schoolgirls. Dr. Bashir was the only source of help in her nearby one-room medical clinic. When she dared to speak out about this atrocity to officials from the international community, she was arrested by the secret police, interrogated, tortured and herself raped. She escaped to her home village, but the violence followed her there, and her beloved father and many of her relatives were killed in reprisal. Desperate, Dr. Bashir was forced to flee Sudan in 2005 to seek a tenuous asylum in Britain. Once there, the hardship and loss caught up with her, leading to despair that only her new husband, also in exile, and her own strength of will could cure.
    Tears of the Desert is Halima’s tale, told in her own words and framed by her love for her new son. It is a wrenching portrait of a young girl’s innocence lost, of a family and a people destroyed, of the endemic discrimination against black African Sudanese by their Arab compatriots, and of the senseless violence that erupted and continues unabated today. It is Dr. Bashir’s belief that these words should be shared with readers so that the world will know about the conflict in Darfur and about the horrific violence that is occurring between fellow Muslims. This is Halima Bashir’s story, but it is also the story of a nation that is ripping itself to pieces.

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. —From Tears of the Desert

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From Publishers Weekly

Writing with BBC correspondent Lewis (Slave), Bashir, a physician and refugee living in London, offers a vivid personal portrait of life in the Darfur region of Sudan before the catastrophe. Doted on by her father, who bucked tradition to give his daughter an education, and feisty grandmother, who bequeathed a fierce independence, Bashir grew up in the vibrant culture of a close-knit Darfur village. (Its darker side emerges in her horrific account of undergoing a clitoridectomy at age eight.) She anticipated a bright future after medical school, but tensions between Sudan's Arab-dominated Islamist dictatorship and black African communities like her Zaghawa tribe finally exploded into conflict. The violence the author recounts is harrowing: the outspoken Bashir endured brutal gang-rapes by government soldiers, and her village was wiped out by marauding Arab horsemen and helicopter gunships. This is a vehement cri de coeur—I wanted to fight and kill every Arab, to slaughter them, to drive them out of the country, the author thought upon treating girls who had been raped and mutilated—but in showing what she suffered, and lost, Bashir makes it resonate. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


?This memoir helps keep the Darfur tragedy open as a wound not yet healed.? (Elie Wiesel, author of Night)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrific April 11 2010
By L.J.
This is an excellent book. Could not put it down until I finished it. This is one story of the tortures that took place in Darfur. Well written and a book that takes you away to a terrible place where mankind has lost its way. Dr. Bashir is a true hero in all of this hell. I wish her well. I learned a lot reading this book as I had no idea that Arabs were the ones causing all of these brutal rapes and killings. One of the best books I have read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent first person account Aug. 26 2011
By mozygrl
unlike books on sudan that are written by outsiders, this is an excellent first person account. the author does a good job first describing the normalcy of life in her village, with her family, and attending university - with the back drop of the country's conflict...the reader is very invested in the survival of her whole family by the time the conflict reaches them...an extremely powerful work...would also rec'd They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky by Deng, Deng and Ajak
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very personal and powerful June 21 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was written from a deeply personal point of view. Halima Bashir chronicles her life beginning with her childhood within a remote village in Darfur and it ends with her fleeing the geneocide of her people to seek asylum in England.
Skillfully, Halima interweaves all the subtlety and nuances of family and village culture into the story. She communicates in a balanced, yet powerful manner...her experiences of extreme pain within the context of the religious and socio-policital climate surrounding her development.
Despite the many social & political challenges, Halima accomplished her goal of becoming a medical doctor. She took joy in reaching this goal. Halima took great pride in serving anyone who needed her skill as a physician.

Sadly for Halima, it was through her professional calling that she experienced first hand the surges of what would become an overwhelming genocial tsumani. A tsumani of inhumanity which eventually wipe out her village and her family unit.

Miraculously, Halima survives and is she manages to escape the country to take seek asylum in England...only face many more heart breaking challenges along with other refugees.

This is a must read for any one who cares about what is happening in different parts of our world.
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