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The Translator

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,559 ratings  ·  400 reviews
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, harro
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 18th 2008 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 2008)
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Let's get the controversial stuff out of the way first, shall we?

I feel that this book panders to soft-hearted Americans. There are numerous times Hari mentions how "good" the American people are. It is not that we aren't or that we are, or that Hari shouldn't be grateful (for, after all, Americans played a large part in saving his life and he now lives here), but this book as a whole doesn't read so much as a "memoir" as a causal glance backward, a highlight of a horrific scene here, a laugh th
In late August, 2006, the National Geographic submitted this press release to news organizations: Paul Salopek, who was traveling in Africa to report on the culture and history of the Sahel [a semi-arid region between the Sahara Desert to the north and tropical forests to the south:] for National Geographic magazine, was detained by Sudanese authorities and on Aug. 26 charged with espionage in a North Darfur court in El Fashir, Sudan. National Geographic magazine vigorously protests this accusat ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Daoud Hari is a Zaghawa tribesman from the region known as Darfur in west Sudan. In 2003 his peaceful village life is shattered when government helicopters arrive, gunning down the villagers where they stand, followed by government-backed Arab militia on horses who murder, rape and burn their homes. The desired effect is achieved: the tribespeople are driven from their lands. Some make the long trek into neighbouring Chad, also Darfur territory, while others relocate, becoming "internally displa ...more
Daoud Hari has written a painful, unglossed but also celebratory novel of the Darfur region of Western Sudan, and with his understated approach, genuine character, and very unexpected humor, reminds us that Darfur was a place well before it was a tragedy.

This approach allows Hari to engage his readers on a personal level: he asks them to consider their response to losing their cities and their children; he reminds them of the simple connecting power of cellular telephones, and the vital necessit
Thomas Holbrook
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 remotenes ...more
I've borrowed this book from my office's library.

Although its fun games during the launch, i've sceptically thought that this library will only loaded by some work field reports and thesis from the interns whom have their studies here. Then a few months ago, Perang Eropa III by P.K. Ojong was laying on the desk of someone which then said it was one of the library collection.

Darn!! I straight out went upstairs, to the library and facinated by the lines of fine books in its shelfs. Not just book
A short, simply written and compelling book. Something hard to rate but good for everyone to read. Here is an excerpt:

"It is interesting how many ways there are for people to be hurt and killed, and for villages to be terrorized and burned, and for children to die in deserts, and for young mothers to suffer. I would say that these ways to die and suffer are unspeakable, and yet they were spoken: we interviewed 1,134 human beings over the next weeks; their stories swirled through my near-sleeples
Daoud Hari is from Darfur and as war came to his village his family encouraged him to fight not with a gun but with his education. With his ability to translate, Daoud worked to help as many journalist and government officials as possible tell the story of what was happening to his people and his country despite the very real threat to his own life. Yet I doubt that any reporter could tell the world the heartbreaking truth of the genocide that has and is occurring in Darfur as eloquently as Daou ...more
This book is heartbreaking. It's hard to imagine anyone having to endure this kind of suffering. But, of course, that's why this book was written. Daoud Hari wants to help us understand.

I complain when I have a bad day, when I have to wait 6 minutes for the Metro instead of 2, or when a book I want from the library is checked out. But, c'mon, I don't have really bad days. After reading his book you'll see that you probably don't really have bad days either.
Tariq Mahmood
The book starts off very well, with a lot of details of the rural life of Sudan with a good description of the Arab and African native populations living side by side. The absolutely horrifying details of atrocities by the Sudanese and Arab militias made me cry. Ethnic cleansing is not an African issue as it has happened in Europe repeatedly as well. So there is a real purpose in the author's story which comes across well, until the long and tedious passages which detail his own incarceration by ...more
I listened to the audio book, which is brilliantly read by Mirron Willis. The book conveys in the rawest terms the violence and human tragedy of Darfur. Hari helps us understand the ways of life in Darfur, both before the genocide, when he lived a traditional tribal life with his family, and after, when government troops and their allies lawlessly spread death and destruction and created refugees, living in squalid camps in Chad, of the survivors. This story also demonstrates how difficult it is ...more
The horrors of Darfur. Why do such things happen? And they have continued to happen throughout my life. The world just can't seem to prevent them.

The scene that was hard to shake out of my mind was when the author and a group of BBC reporters come upon a massacre of over 80 men and boys. They were hacked to death by machetes, so body part are everywhere. The reporters break down and cry. Some have to leave and seek professional help to deal with what they have just found.

European colonialist c
The translator, Daoud Hari takes humanitarians and journalists into Darfur, using every skill and contact he has to keep them alive to tell of what they see. In the same way he takes the reader through the chaos and violence, and you must trust something of yourself to him as you follow Hari through the harrowing scenes of war. Fortunately his voice is warm with humour and he notices beauty wherever it can be found - the bright colours of clothing, bird song, family bonds and human kindness. Thi ...more
This is an intriguing book - simple prose that belies the horror of what's described, namely the many acts that add up to genocide. Hari manages to retain love, compassion and integrity despite the devastating consequences of civil conflict, the complete loss of humanity and the collapse of moral reason and action. Hari has experienced much, and survived, and through his commitment of bearing witness relentlessly works to ensure the world knows the truth of Darfur. All this for the simple hope t ...more
I just finished this book. All that I can think is - how can we human beings be so terrible?! And yet there are some, a few, that show we needn't continue behaving so badly. Some humans are capable of great courage, bravery and compassion. This book shows both sides. How can the trend be turned so that despicable behavior is no longer so easily accepted? Is it through education? Or is compassion genetically imprinted in just some of us? I have no answers. Genocide has occured and is continuing t ...more
Jul 07, 2008 Kerry rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in war zones or translation issues
This book put a whole new perspective on the position of a translator in a war zone. In particular, the skills and challenges that a native speaker faces dealing with outsiders, international journalists, rebel groups, the army and border crossings.

I really enjoyed this account of one man's experience becoming and serving as a translator in Darfur. His own account of the suffering and impetus for his decisions is really compelling. This is a quick read and insightful without being too arduous t
Ramesh Prabhu
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tells it best:

"The Witness Next Door"

Published: May 14, 2007

One of the most unusual people in New Jersey these days is a tall 34-year-old black man named Daoud Hari. Others may lose their tempers at traffic jams on the turnpike, but he’s just glad he’s no longer being tortured.

Mr. Hari has just arrived in the U.S. from Chad and Darfur, where he says he was beaten and told repeatedly he was going to be executed. He is one of just a h
This book told in a plainspoken way, which really lets the reader get into Hari's Journey from and back to his homeland of Dafur on the western side of Sudan, his people are called the Zaghawa, who are traditional tribal herdsmen who live in permanent villages. Dar (means land) and Fur ( are tribes people further south who are mainly farmers).
In 2003 Daoud, goes back home after studying, in El Fasher, and working and being jailed in neighboring countries, to see if his family is OK amidst the ki
Fabíola Maciel
Tantas (demasiadas) são as vezes em que nos queixamos da nossa vida. Tantas são as vezes em que pensamos que é impossível corrigir um mal-entendido. Coisas pequenas. Insignificantes.

Não ter comida. Não ter um local para dormir. Não saber se estará vivo nas próximas 24 horas. É para esta realidade que Daoud Hari nos transporta. Habituado à pobreza e à guerra, Hari é um lutador. Viu homens, mulheres e crianças a morrer à sua frente.

Hari não é um simples sobrevivente, é o homem que decide mostrar a
Remarkable man who living through some of the worst experiences a human can, remains focused on aiding and caring for others. Having read other books on the topic, I felt this pulled it's punches and withheld a lot of very horrid events. On the other hand the humane aspect of life comes across strongly. Red appendixes.

See: An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century by J Orbinski, Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness by T Kidder, The Bite
A definite MUST-READ. This book totally moved me and motivated me to be a better, more proactive person. I definitely reccommend it to anyone unfamiliar with the conflict in Darfur or anyone at all interested in what is happening NOW in our world.
Autobiographical account of a Darfur-ian. He had some education in English, so he was able to act as a translator for reporters coming to report on the war/ethnic cleansing there. Even before it all started happening, he had an interesting life, moving from country to country trying to find work to send money back to his family--he ends up in an Egyptian prison for trying to sneak into Israel, where the wages are said to be higher. He mostly sticks to his own personal story, without too much pol ...more
Saving Darfur

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program.)

Daoud Hari was born to the Zaghawa tribe in Darfur, the westernmost region of Sudan. At the age of 13, Daoud’s father sent him to live in the city of El Fasher, located in North Darfur, to further his education – and distance his youngest son from the Sudanese military raids that were just beginning to foment the genocide in Darfur. Upon completion of his studies, Daoud t
Hari’s memoir offers a different peek into the Darfur genocide. He is not a boy solider nor a politician, but simply a tribesmen who translates for journalists. The traditional African culture just seeps through the pages of this memoir. His story, as told to Dennis Michael Burke and Megan M. McKenna, is fairly interesting, but the story is also thinly pieced together, and it the lack of connectivity started to detract from the memoir’s overall story almost from the very beginning. I lost focus ...more
A nicely done personal history of a large, sad tale

Unfortunately, the only thing that 99.999% of the world associates with the word "Darfur" is death, hate and tragedy. Daoud Hari's small memoir, The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur , reminds the reader that Darfur was once home to millions - a place of family, friends, play and work.

That is the strongest asset of this short work - it puts a human face on a large tragedy. Written in simple, elegant English and with a wry sense of humo
Harrowing is the best word to describe this. It is so matter of fact in many places where I could barely hold back tears reading it. From the telling, this is actually the most heart-breaking part of the Darfur genocide- that girls just assume getting raped on their way to get firewood is a part of life; that it's just normal to have lost half your family in some of the most grotesque ways I can imagine; that brutality and death and destruction are just the way it is. Reading that feels devastat ...more
Impresionante y estremecedor relato del mal. Un mal que no es coyuntural, sino que está en la misma estructura del hombre. Hace poco comentábamos la Guerra de las Galias, donde Julio César relataba con una frialdad que le daba tintes incluso cómicos al relato, las carnicerías cometidas con la excusa de la expansión del Imperio Romano.

Sin embargo, Daoud Hari nos relata el genocidio que se está cometiendo en nuestros días y en nuestro mundo. Asesinatos y violaciones cometidas hoy, con la impunidad
Marie desJardins
"The Translator" was chosen this year for the New Student Book Experience at the university where I teach (the University of Maryland Baltimore County). It generated a lot of very interesting discussion among the faculty in the preparation meeting and among the students at the group discussion sessions.

The author, Daoud Hari, is a Sudanese tribesman who worked as a translator for reporters traveling into the Darfur region of Sudan. The book's title refers not just to Daoud's literal role as a tr
The Translator: A Tribesman s Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari, as told to Dennis Burke and Megan M. McKenna, 2008, Random House.[return][return]If The Translator simply 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 an even 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, re ...more
Daoud Hari was born and raised in Sudan. As an adult, after a militia group attacks his village, he flees to neighboring Chad. When representatives from various news agencies arrive at the refugee camps desiring to interview the refugees, Daoud serves as a translator. Later, he serves as guide and translator when the reporters want to travel across the border into Sudan to view conditions and interview victims. It is dangerous work - not only for the conditions, but also because of his dual ide ...more
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“You have to find a way to laugh a little bit each day despite everything, or your heart will simply run out of the joy that makes it go.” 7 likes
“They are among the three hundred million Africans who earn less than a dollar a day, and who are often pushed out of the way or killed for such things as oil, water, metal ore, and diamonds.” 4 likes
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