As a humanitarian UN worker currently working with Darfur refugees on the Chadian border, I sometimes wonder what could have been avoided to bring theAs a humanitarian UN worker currently working with Darfur refugees on the Chadian border, I sometimes wonder what could have been avoided to bring the more than 300,000 Darfuri refugees to be living so close (physically), yet so far (political solution to the crisis) to their homeland. This book brings part of the answers.
I have read most of the reviews and will avoid repeating what has been said about the Darfur story itself. I tend to agree with the commentators that have written that the analysis needed more depth as the book approached was seemed a little too "black-and-white"/"right-or-wrong" approach. I found this to be the weak side of the book. I believe that it is because of this over-generalization that the UN as an institution is heavily criticized throughout.
However, what I truly enjoyed was the angle of the story of a man that believes profoundly in what he is doing. Dr. Kapila does a great job retracing the story of why he chose to work as a humanitarian and how this desire is strongly attached to this roots. He exposes quite poetically how his parents were themselves saved by humanitarians (Red Cross) and his story as a young doctor traveling to Sudan for the very first time. He also recounts his involvement in other humanitarian situations in the world, for example his work in Rwanda during the events of 1994, and how this experience provoked in him a sense that something like that should never happen ever again.
I quite enjoyed the depictions of his childhood in India, as he grew up watching the international community providing humanitarian aid to his country. He felt that a country such as his, witch such a great millennial culture, was in some sorts humiliated receiving humanitarian aid. This is, probably, one of his strongest message throughout the book: that humanitarian aid is quite harmful to a people's dignity and self-respect in the long run.
His second strongest message is that political solutions to crisis such as Darfur's should be sought out as early as possible, so that a situation such as his first message mentioned above, can be avoided.
Quite recommend this book for anyone wanting to understand more of the Darfur crisis....more