Tag Archives: Darfur

WG: Memorial Day/summer kickoff

wg1This week’s Weekly Geeks questions (and there are quite a few) are:

  1. With Memorial Day in the U.S. this coming Monday, I thought it would be appropriate to focus on the military. Either share your favorite book on war or movie on war and why. Provide a clip from the movie if you’d like or a passage from the book that shows us why you it’s your favorite book or movie. Or do both. OR choose your own military theme, for example, if you have a relative or friend in the military and you would like to send them a video or a message of thanks, do that on your blog. OR do all three. The book and movie also don’t have to be “patriotic” necessarily. For example, one of my favorite fictional books on war is Johnny, Get Your Gun by Dalton Trumbo.
  2. Again with Memorial Day Weekend here in the U.S. starting traditionally on Friday evening, it also is unofficially the start of summer. You’ve probably been asked this in other meme groups in which you participate, but do your reading habits change over the summer? Do you choose lighter fare? What do you enjoy to take to the beach, for example? What is the ultimate summer book? OR what are your favorite travel guides — official or unofficial guides? Again, an example, I think of Holidays In Hell by P.J. O’Rourke, of places I’d rather not vacation. Along those lines, where do you vacation? Any places you recommend or even don’t recommend?

I think I consume more war movies than war books. Good war movies: Blackhawk Down. Hotel Rwanda. The Devil Came on Horseback. (Maybe I just don’t mentally classify the books I’ve read the same way, though.)

I like these war movies because they tell truth. They’re not fun or easy to watch, but I believe the message is important.

Oh! Just thought of some more, this time not set in Africa: Schindler’s List, The Pianist, Life is Beautiful. As these depict a different aspect of war, they have a different truth to convey.

Summer reading
My reading habits don’t really change with the seasons. I’m not in school, and I don’t have children, so my life is not impacted much by the school calendar. That also means I don’t get the whole summer off. We sometimes take vacation time for nontraditional time away from work.

Next month we’re traveling to Florida for a family reunion. Seeing the people and all will be well and good (my in-laws), but I’m not looking forward to the climate at all. I am very fair skinned. Even with heavy-duty sunscreen, I burn quickly in intense sun. I’ve been known to burn in 10 minutes here in Northwest Arkansas, so being further south doesn’t help that. Plus, so much of Florida is swamp-land, and my husband is allergic to mold. The last time we visited, he was on allergy meds and miserable the whole time. Oh, and when we visited then, it was February, but it was still plenty warm for me. 🙂 That’s pretty much the extent of our vacation this year, other than the vacation days we spent in January for my brother’s wedding. [Surely this Florida thing won’t be quite as bad as I’ve depicted it here; I like to keep my expectations low so I’m not disappointed.]


The Devil Came on Horseback

I finally watched the 2007 documentary The Devil Came on Horseback. I started it yesterday, while waiting for my plane, but the computer kept reporting errors in the disk. I intended to watch and review it during September, as part of Natasha’s campaign. She accepted a few days’ grace for her part, maybe she’ll extend a bit to me as well?

My brief review is here, my first at the site I mentioned awhile ago.

At a Save Darfur rally in the film, Brian Steidle said, “When I was in Darfur, my job was to take photographs of genocide. I took them every day. Every day for six months. Again and again and again. And we said never again, again and again and again. And yet we’re here again.”

Reading for Darfur campaign

Natasha at Maw Books is holding a Reading for Darfur campaign throughout September to raise awareness and funds to save Darfur.

So what exactly is Reading for Darfur? During September every book I read, every post I write, every comment left on this blog, and every book that you read about Darfur will make a difference. How? The difference will be you. This won’t work if I’m doing it all by myself. So I ask for everybody to get involved. There are a lot of different levels on which you can do just that, so choose the one that you are the most comfortable with.

Here’s her first video post about the campaign, along with all the nitty-gritty, what-am-I-getting-myself-into details about getting involved.

This is so important. You’ll probably see at least one more post about this campaign in this space — I plan to view and post about the Darfur documentary (The Devil Came on Horseback) that’s here, just waiting for me to watch it. And really, it’s just that simple to get involved in Natasha’s effort. She’s donating money for everyone who reads/views any of these Darfur pieces (who lets her know about it, of course), and she’s adding to that donation if the reader posts about it on their blog.

Not on Our Watch

Natasha recently posted a lengthy review of a book about the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan. The book? Not On Our Watch, The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast (2007). She’s giving 4 winners 2 books each mainly to help get the word out about what’s going on and what we can do. I urge you to read her post. I thought, yeah, that’s something I believe in, so here goes:

1. Spell out the following number: 7 (this should send the comment into moderation) seven
2. Name one of the five criteria used to define genocide. Oh heck, I’m just going to list them all. This is important. Killing, causing serious bodily or mental harm, deliberately inflicting “conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures to prevent births, forcibly transferring children from a targeted group
3. In which country is Darfur located? Sudan
4. How many years has the genocide been going for? 5-plus years (it’ll be 5.5 next month)
5. Fill in the blank from the Elie Wiesel quote in the book’s preface: Remember: Silence helps the killer, never his victims.
6. Name three of the six strategies for effective change? Again, I’m listing all six. There are a ton of ideas that stem out from these in the book (apparently) as well as in Natasha’s post, so don’t think of this as the end-all source of information. I’m just scratching the surface. Raise awareness, raise funds, write letters, call for divestment, join an organization, and lobby the government.
7. What are the three P’s of genocide prevention? Protecting the people, punishing the perpetrators, and promoting the peace.
8. What is at least one thing from the suggested ideas that you can commit to do? I commit to help raise awareness.
9. Leave a comment on that post stating what it is that you are committing to do. Done.
10. Am I planning a fundraising/awareness campaign on this blog come September? Yes.

This is so important. Join me, won’t you, in taking up the banner. Check on your senators’ and representative’s records on Darfur.

Here are previous posts on this blog that reference Darfur.

Released today: The Translator

From Shelf Awareness:

Book Review: The Translator

The Translator: A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari (Random House, $23, 9781400067442/1400067448/, March 18, 2008)

Daoud Hari’s wrenching memoir, The Translator, is graceful, honest, spare and restrained, with occasional flashes of helpless rage. The narrator’s irrepressible sense of humor and bottomless compassion make what could have been a gallery of horrors into a vibrant crucible for the human spirit. Hari is the native guide who led Western film crews, including the BBC, into the genocide of Darfur, and he’s such a generous, well-meaning, good-natured guy that you willingly go with him into the heart of darkness. He wins over everyone he meets–well, except for his government torturers.

In the face of the appalling, unspeakable evil sweeping down on his family and his homeland, Hari notices the unexpected flares of goodness and the dignity of people bravely suffering and facing death in a country with no doctors. His compassion extends to the enemy as well, who is often nothing more than scared 14-year-old boys with big guns.

The book certainly contains a few eye-popping horrors, though never unnecessarily, and if the occasional violent image is nightmarish, it’s because Hari is a haunted man simply sharing his ghosts with you. He’s also a delightful narrator, with his love of camels (he thinks they’re beautiful) and his fear of crossing over water.

As far as sheer writing goes, Dr. John and Ali, the two men who accompany Daoud on the final third of the memoir, are as sharply defined as any characters in a good novel, and their battering odyssey together cancelled all my plans, since I was unable to leave my armchair during the final nail-biting 70 pages.

It’s taken me several days to recover from the book. As a writer and as a man, Daoud Hari is my personal hero. No one can tell you what is happening in Darfur better than he can.—Nick DiMartino

Sounds like quite a book. A bit different than the recent memoirs news, eh? Hopefully an effective tool to communicate the true situation in Darfur. Maybe soon leaders will begin taking action.

Edit: The book is available at Amazon, among others.