Kathleen Hagen's Reviews > Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur

Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir
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Jan 06, 2009

bookshelves: 2008-audio-books, 2008-nonfiction
Read in November, 2008

Tears of the Desert: Memoir of a Survivor from Darfur.
Halima Bashir, Damien Lewis.
Narrated by Rosalind Landers. Produced by Brilliance Audio, downloaded from audible.com.

Publisher’s note:
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. Halima'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 tribe's standards, so he could afford to send Halima to school and university. Halima went on to study
medicine, and at 24 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. Halima'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 ideaWith no idea where she was headed, having given all her earthly values to an agent to get her out of the country, , she ended up in England, where a long-lost childhood cousin was waiting to marry her. It took her much time to find him, as she was repeatedly denied asylum by the Home Office in England. Finally, she and her husband and child were able to become British citizens because she was instrumental in letting the public know about the holocaust inflicted on the women of Darfur. Now she is determined to share her story with the world
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.


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