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Like the single white eyelash that graces her row of dark lashes--seen by her people as a mark of good fortune--Halima Bashir's story stands out. Tears of the Desert is the first memoir ever written by a woman caught up in the war in Darfur. It is a survivor's tale of a conflicted country, a resilient people, and the uncompromising spirit of a young woman who refused to be Like the single white eyelash that graces her row of dark lashes--seen by her people as a mark of good fortune--Halima Bashir's story stands out. Tears of the Desert is the first memoir ever written by a woman caught up in the war in Darfur. It is a survivor's tale of a conflicted country, a resilient people, and the uncompromising spirit of a young woman who refused to be silenced. Born into the Zaghawa tribe in the Sudanese desert, Halima was doted on by her father, a cattle herder, and kept in line by her formidable grandmother. A politically astute man, Halima's father saw to it that his daughter received a good education away from their rural surroundings. Halima excelled in her studies and exams, surpassing even the privileged Arab girls who looked down their noses at the black Africans. With her love of learning and her father's support, Halima went on to study medicine, and at twenty-four became her village's first formal doctor. Yet not even the symbol of good luck that dotted her eye could protect her from the encroaching conflict that would consume her land. Janjaweed Arab militias started savagely assaulting the Zaghawa, often with the backing of the Sudanese military. Then, in early 2004, the Janjaweed attacked Bashir's village and surrounding areas, raping forty-two schoolgirls and their teachers. Bashir, who treated the traumatized victims, some as young as eight years old, could no longer remain quiet. But breaking her silence ignited a horrifying turn of events. In this harrowing and heartbreaking account, Halima Bashir sheds light on the hundreds of thousands of innocent lives being eradicated by what is fast becoming one of the most terrifying genocides of the twenty-first century. Raw and riveting, Tears of the Desert is more than just a memoir--it is Halima Bashir's global call to action.


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Like the single white eyelash that graces her row of dark lashes--seen by her people as a mark of good fortune--Halima Bashir's story stands out. Tears of the Desert is the first memoir ever written by a woman caught up in the war in Darfur. It is a survivor's tale of a conflicted country, a resilient people, and the uncompromising spirit of a young woman who refused to be Like the single white eyelash that graces her row of dark lashes--seen by her people as a mark of good fortune--Halima Bashir's story stands out. Tears of the Desert is the first memoir ever written by a woman caught up in the war in Darfur. It is a survivor's tale of a conflicted country, a resilient people, and the uncompromising spirit of a young woman who refused to be silenced. Born into the Zaghawa tribe in the Sudanese desert, Halima was doted on by her father, a cattle herder, and kept in line by her formidable grandmother. A politically astute man, Halima's father saw to it that his daughter received a good education away from their rural surroundings. Halima excelled in her studies and exams, surpassing even the privileged Arab girls who looked down their noses at the black Africans. With her love of learning and her father's support, Halima went on to study medicine, and at twenty-four became her village's first formal doctor. Yet not even the symbol of good luck that dotted her eye could protect her from the encroaching conflict that would consume her land. Janjaweed Arab militias started savagely assaulting the Zaghawa, often with the backing of the Sudanese military. Then, in early 2004, the Janjaweed attacked Bashir's village and surrounding areas, raping forty-two schoolgirls and their teachers. Bashir, who treated the traumatized victims, some as young as eight years old, could no longer remain quiet. But breaking her silence ignited a horrifying turn of events. In this harrowing and heartbreaking account, Halima Bashir sheds light on the hundreds of thousands of innocent lives being eradicated by what is fast becoming one of the most terrifying genocides of the twenty-first century. Raw and riveting, Tears of the Desert is more than just a memoir--it is Halima Bashir's global call to action.

30 review for Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petra has deer,groundhogs & squirrels in the yard

    If you are a pc sort of person, this book is going to piss you off no end. No nation or religious group is allowed to be blamed for anything its members might do unless the national or religious designation is qualified with the words, "fundamentalist", "extremist" or similar, so that we all may know that the other nationals or co-religionists are not themselves terrorists and do not support such actions). This applies even when we know they do by their attendance at rallies, their votes for pol If you are a pc sort of person, this book is going to piss you off no end. No nation or religious group is allowed to be blamed for anything its members might do unless the national or religious designation is qualified with the words, "fundamentalist", "extremist" or similar, so that we all may know that the other nationals or co-religionists are not themselves terrorists and do not support such actions). This applies even when we know they do by their attendance at rallies, their votes for politicians who do support terrorism and their vast donations to 'the cause' whatever that might be. No, we want to be seen as fair, even if that will cause us to be mocked, that attitude exploited and will ultimately be to our own detriment. An example of a pc person: someone who agrees that there must be no racial-profiling allowed in security screenings at airports. That the security companies do not search people with Muslim names and Middle-Eastern or African appearance more than anyone else despite the fact that people with, for instance, Swedish names and of Nordic appearance do not actually figure in the present statistics of those who do blow up planes (and take credit for it). If you agree with this policy, then this book will press all your buttons. Everyone in the book is a Muslim. It's the Arab Government and its supporters versus the Black Africans who are the victims. There are other victims in Sudan and Chad, especially in Darfur, who are Christians or Animists who suffer equally but they do not figure in Tears in the Desert. It does prove however that this civil war, this policy of enslavement and removal from ancestral lands is an entirely racially-based aggression. For those who think that pc-doublespeak does us any favours at all, a rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but calling shit, 'excreta', 'night soil', 'waste products' or even 'faeces' might take the offence away of the unacceptable word SHIT, but it doesn't stop it stinking or - uncontained - spreading disease. And Halima Bashir has no hesitation in saying it is the Arabs who are ordering the rape of children, the burning of babies, the destruction of villages of the Black Africans, purely because they are Africans and in possession of the land and livestock the Arabs want. Financing this serious attempt at genocide are the Chinese. They are quite impartial ignorers of human rights at home and abroad, all they want to do is buy the oil and sell weapons and this gives the Arab government of Sudan the ability to ignore international and UN censure. The British Government do support the UN on this in theory, but the book is very scathing about their policy towards Black Sudanese asylum seekers (see Mende Nazer's Slave for more on that). The book doesn't deserve five-stars for writing, it does rather go on in parts about the idyllic childhood existence of pastoral life, but this is common to almost all the books on this subject - the aforementioned book, Slave, or the model Alek Wek's equally amazing autobiography as well as Francis Bok's "Escape from Slavery". What is does deserve 5 stars for is content. Its not an intellectual or political book but one of an educated woman (the author is a doctor) who has sadly, lived through the most terrible circumstances that could befall anyone, genital mutilations, gang rape, torture, murder, loss of her entire family and right until the end, no safe place of asylum. Its a book worth reading, at times its too gripping to put down, its not at all heavy, but could never be described as 'enjoyable'. A book to learn from.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    This is not for the faint-hearted. An autobiographical account of the war in the Darfur region of Sudan, seen through the eyes of a woman who becomes a doctor. The book starts very gently, depicting the beautiful community in which Halima grows up. Her village is filled with characters and steeped in her Zaghawa culture. The community collectively raise children, neighbours and relatives are all closely involved in everyone's life. Perhaps in the west we would find this intrusive but it is portra This is not for the faint-hearted. An autobiographical account of the war in the Darfur region of Sudan, seen through the eyes of a woman who becomes a doctor. The book starts very gently, depicting the beautiful community in which Halima grows up. Her village is filled with characters and steeped in her Zaghawa culture. The community collectively raise children, neighbours and relatives are all closely involved in everyone's life. Perhaps in the west we would find this intrusive but it is portrayed clearly showing both the good and the negative - ie Halima is disapproved of by some, as she is at medical school rather than married. Yet each family is watched over and given food and assistance as needed. As the war comes closer Halima is drawn into caring for fighters who come down to her village to have their injuries tended to - this places her in the firing line with the government forces. Without giving away the main parts of the story, Halima has to flee following terrible events and makes her way to London, where she has to battle not to be sent back. An eye-opening read on yet not another confllict where the world failed to act on behalf of innocent people.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    When I really enjoy a book I will add a passage into my little review as I will do here. "The war continued on during my final year at university (she is studying to become a medical doctor -- rare for a black African "from the bush" in her country) and war seemed to have overridden everything, making years of study seem somehow so irrelevant. My final-year tutor tried to encourage me. I had attended each and every one of my lectures and he knew that I stood to do well. Those students who skippe When I really enjoy a book I will add a passage into my little review as I will do here. "The war continued on during my final year at university (she is studying to become a medical doctor -- rare for a black African "from the bush" in her country) and war seemed to have overridden everything, making years of study seem somehow so irrelevant. My final-year tutor tried to encourage me. I had attended each and every one of my lectures and he knew that I stood to do well. Those students who skipped lectures used to rely on me to copy their lecture notes from. The three weeks of final examinations were hell but I felt confident that I had done well. All that remained now was for me to pass my oral exam -- my viva. The viva is a one-on-one interview, and I knew it could make all the difference in getting a top mark. As I stood before my tutor and the outside examiner, I felt confident that they would back me with a strong recommendation. The external examiner asked me a few easily answered questions and then turned to my tutor to ask how my attendance had been at lectures. "I'm afraid that's the one area wherein this pupil has failed to excel," he remarked. "If truth be told, there were many times where she failed to attend. As her tutor I have looked into this, and I understand that she had a similarly poor record with all lectures." I stood there in shock, refusing to believe what I had just heard. Barely a month ago my tutor had been congratulating me on my perfect attendance. Yet here he was telling the external examiner a pack of lies. The examiner fixed me with a stern eye but I could detect just a hint of an amused sneer. "Failure to attend lectures is a serious matter. Your studies are about saving a human life. I cannot think of another degree qualification that carries such onerous responsibility." "I did attend. I attended everything...all of my studies. In fact, I can't think of a single lecture that I missed..." I saw the examiner scribble a note onto my viva. "Your duty as a doctor is not only to uphold life," he remarked, without glancing up at me. "It is also to be truthful...your viva is over. You may go now." I turned to leave the room and as I reached for the door handle I felt hot tears of rage prickling my eyes. Just as soon as I stepped out of my room my friends were asking me what had happened. Rania wiped my tears from my face, as she tried to comfort me. "The tutor is a coward," she told me as she gave me a reassuring hug."A coward and a liar. No one has a better attendance than you and everyone knows it. You know what this is all about? It's their way to make sure that you don't get a top mark. The examiner's been put there by the government and the tutor is scared of him." Several of the other students agreed. With Darfuris rebelling across the country, how could they let me, a Darfuri, come in at the top of the year? I had been marked down as a shirker and a liar in my viva -- that's how they got me in the end. I felt so cheated and betrayed, as if the system and the country itself were against me. (Can you imagine this happening to someone where you live and all just because of the color of their skin?) I'm not even done reading this book but for some reason I had to stop and get this down. It's an interesting look at the life of Halima Bashir who is lucky to belong to a family full of love (and reading about them has made me laugh out loud several times) and happiness. The war is just starting though so I am scared to find out what may happen in the end. So far, I think it will be a 5-star-rating but I still have the second half to read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    William

    If ever there was a book that fit the description "life changing" than this is that book. Dr. Bashir writes elegantly about her idealic (almost too fantasticly perfect) youth and upbringing in the as yet war torn southern Sudan. Her peaceful, intelligent and wealthy father. Her quiet and nurturing mother and her traditional and fierce, warrior of a grandmother all live in harmony with nature and each other. Then like a sudden thunderbolt her peace is shattered not by war but the insiduous tradit If ever there was a book that fit the description "life changing" than this is that book. Dr. Bashir writes elegantly about her idealic (almost too fantasticly perfect) youth and upbringing in the as yet war torn southern Sudan. Her peaceful, intelligent and wealthy father. Her quiet and nurturing mother and her traditional and fierce, warrior of a grandmother all live in harmony with nature and each other. Then like a sudden thunderbolt her peace is shattered not by war but the insiduous traditional custom of female circumcision..which is really a euphemision for genital mutilation...I had a tough time getting through these explicit passages..where once I may have wavered in my condemnation of the practice....in deference to African tribal and religious traditions..any such excuses escape me now. That the female elders of the village, who had themselves endured it, were the enforcers of the practice says a lot about the sometimes destructive power of traditional ingrained notions and attitudes toward sex and gender. But as life somehow returns to normal for them, each days readings becomes more filled with trepidation for me because I already know that these very vividly drawn people are going to come to a malevolent end. And they do..and it rips your heart out if you have any human compassion...That Dr. Bashir somehow escaped does not make up for the lost lives and destruction and famine unleashed in the name of religious and ethnic intolerance. Why humans continue to pat themselves on the back for their civilization while allowing unbridled genocide and racism (because it is Arab-African racism at the heart of the conflict) free riegn I'll never understand.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    I highly recommend this book to all those wishing to know more about the Darfur Conflict / Darfur Genocide that began in 2003. The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) accuse the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese, i.e. the black Africans of Sudan. When Britain left Sudan they left it in the hands of the Arabs. The guerrilla conflict is between the blacks and the Arabs of Sudan. The Arabs had been a nomadic people, the blacks were farmers. With the support of the Sudanese government, I highly recommend this book to all those wishing to know more about the Darfur Conflict / Darfur Genocide that began in 2003. The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) accuse the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese, i.e. the black Africans of Sudan. When Britain left Sudan they left it in the hands of the Arabs. The guerrilla conflict is between the blacks and the Arabs of Sudan. The Arabs had been a nomadic people, the blacks were farmers. With the support of the Sudanese government, the Janjaweed, a Sudanese militia group recruited primarily from the Arabized indigenous Africans, have murdered, raped and burned black African villages throughout Darfur. This book is about one woman, a Black Muslim who grew up in a village of Darfur. She has lived through this genocide. The book was published in 2008. The conflict remained unresolved art this time. The number killed, by disease, starvation and direct violence, is disputed, but most likely it significantly exceeds 450,000. You learn both about the genocide and the traditions and customs of the black villagers, the people of the Zaghawa tribe. Halima Bashir, the author, was educated in Sudan and became a doctor. Her own dreadful female circumcision influenced her wish to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. This book, describing her experiences and her life story, is hard to put down.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    The writing skills are more than adequate but not at a 5 star level, but little else could push me to cut this one from the full load reward. Good Earth, and Snowflower and the Secret Fan territory here. Halima tells her own life's story in this non-fiction memoir of her girlhood in Darfur and the events she experienced until 2011. No spoilers, and that is no easy feat. But this book holds incredible honesty from the heart AND from the intellect. Reading like an Anthropology Ethnography of her Zag The writing skills are more than adequate but not at a 5 star level, but little else could push me to cut this one from the full load reward. Good Earth, and Snowflower and the Secret Fan territory here. Halima tells her own life's story in this non-fiction memoir of her girlhood in Darfur and the events she experienced until 2011. No spoilers, and that is no easy feat. But this book holds incredible honesty from the heart AND from the intellect. Reading like an Anthropology Ethnography of her Zaghawa tribe from the Sudanese desert, it yet reveals stupendous levels of detail and base cognition of her own world. Not only hers, but that of her clan (3 basic clans make up the whole of the Zaghawa). The deep nuance achieved for her Grandmother, Father, brothers- that alone is enough to sustain interest. Not just in personality, but in the onus of their "eyes" to connection, daily actions and future plans, but absolutely in the belief of what they "know" about themselves, as well. This all in a family unit that lives in close quarters and within a mesh of 24/7 economic, educational, aspirational, physical entwining. Few secrets remain. Her connection with and support and love by her Father is explained and celebrated to the point it deserves. A fair and savvy man in herding, trading and with intelligent good intent as his base, his character became Halima's support and empowerment. The honesty and bravery in telling this factual story, right now in this era of double talk and generic labeling to cause or blame! With all that she has been through, I believe the most courage will be needed in what comes ahead for Halima. If reality of life for girls who experience genitalia mutilation, called female circumcision, is impossible for your perusal, than you will have difficulty with some aspects here. Put it on a scale, at least, to the foot breaking in "Snowflower". But consider that 140 million women on this Earth live this and have not just read about it. Nearly all of those on the scale of Halima's complete removal, and almost entirely within the continent of Africa. Halima has a white eyelash from birth, which makes her lucky and special. She is the only child of her parents for 5 years and becomes her father's heart. Her love of learning inspires her Father to support her in a course to become, eventually, a medical doctor. Her travails in schools and in transport are a delightful book in itself. Schooling is SO different in various cultures, that all of these years were enjoyable to read about. Her groups of friends, and divisions of competitions- never a "whole". Cultural clash in essence exists predominantly in each aspect of life. Style, gender relationships, self-identity, neighborhood style and interaction, electrical or mechanical use, food- you name it. (And believe me, not any different than areas holding 4 or 5 ethnic and racial divides on the South and West sides of Chicago in this and the last century.) Over some years Janjaweed (Arabic Islamic Jihad) topples the short lived democratic government and Halima's life becomes more difficult. It little matters that her people are also Muslim, because they are considered "Black slaves and dogs". The last quarter of the book tells of her girl school's raid and her doctoring of the victims, her village's fate of her witness, and the aftermath to her escape out of Africa. (She and all of her relatives are on a hit list as prime enemies, but absolutely in connection to her, herself.) So they must completely separate. Her Mother and sister going to Chad cousins. Some known details are written up in after notes. As of 2011, she is still not knowing locations or even if they or her brothers are alive. Her exact legal processing to become an English citizen is also in the last parts of the book. Horror! Oh yes, horror of war and genocide. But there is far, far more in this memoir. And that's why I had to give it a 5 star. It will remain in my memory. The clouds of locust, the "bad" goat- all of it. But most of all it is her moral core, levels of supreme honesty and bravery that I will remember. I sure hope her message is heard. The world ignores the beheadings of children and burning of babies, as someone else's problem. Opening her difficult and so deeply revealing life's story, may help the world to know what cores the tragedy that is prevailing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Gosh, it's appears kind of disrespectful to give stars for enjoying this book. It is a harrowing read but is beautifully told and I have nothing but admiration for this young lady. How can fellow human beings be so unkind? Thank you for having the courage to share and I hope you have found the peace that you deserve. Warning, this book contains graphic details on torture, rape and FGM. Gosh, it's appears kind of disrespectful to give stars for enjoying this book. It is a harrowing read but is beautifully told and I have nothing but admiration for this young lady. How can fellow human beings be so unkind? Thank you for having the courage to share and I hope you have found the peace that you deserve. Warning, this book contains graphic details on torture, rape and FGM.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Better to have died and preserved one's dignity, than to have suffered the soul death of rape-that's what the Massalit and the Zaghawa, believed. At least God, let me die quickly. Please God, let it be painless. Please God, don't let them torture my soul. Better to have died and preserved one's dignity, than to have suffered the soul death of rape-that's what the Massalit and the Zaghawa, believed. At least God, let me die quickly. Please God, let it be painless. Please God, don't let them torture my soul.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    i knew little about darfur and the conflict there before i read this book. i would say it's an easy way to learn about the general relations and cause of conflict in the country, tied up in a very disturbing and personal account of one woman's life before and during the genocide. i cannot imagine the amount of courage it must have taken halima bashir to write this book. you cannot help but be moved by this book. not only will it shock you when you read what human beings are capable of doing to e i knew little about darfur and the conflict there before i read this book. i would say it's an easy way to learn about the general relations and cause of conflict in the country, tied up in a very disturbing and personal account of one woman's life before and during the genocide. i cannot imagine the amount of courage it must have taken halima bashir to write this book. you cannot help but be moved by this book. not only will it shock you when you read what human beings are capable of doing to each other, but it will also make you realize how strong the human spirit can be in the face of adversity like this. bashir is a brave woman, and i pray that her country will one day be restored to peace.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Another portion of history that I’m woefully ignorant of. It’s been a long time since a book moved me the way Bashir’s has. I read most of it in a doctor’s waiting room and had to remind myself to stifle my sniffles, lest the receptionist think I was upset about my appointment.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have a review due tomorrow morning and I'm stuck because I know that there is nothing that I can say that will do this memoir justice. I finished this three days ago and have been walking around with this story resonating in my soul like a bell tone that refuses to fade. The book is beautifully written, when Bashir tells of her life in Sudan before the genocide began you can not only see Africa, but hear and smell it as well. The Darfur of Bashir's childhood, while not easy by our standards, I have a review due tomorrow morning and I'm stuck because I know that there is nothing that I can say that will do this memoir justice. I finished this three days ago and have been walking around with this story resonating in my soul like a bell tone that refuses to fade. The book is beautifully written, when Bashir tells of her life in Sudan before the genocide began you can not only see Africa, but hear and smell it as well. The Darfur of Bashir's childhood, while not easy by our standards, was a beautiful, magical, loving place and the reader feels as if they are there. In turn, this makes the retelling of the horrors of the following genocide, of torture and rape, feel personal. This book is not for the faint of heart. I cried. I felt physically ill a number of time while reading this. From the retelling of providing treatment to raped schoolgirls, Bashir is a medical doctor, and of her own subsequent rape, a punishment for said medical care, to the massacre of her village, the horrors of the genocide in Darfur rise from the pages of the memoir with a life of their own. In a way, I wish I hadn't read this. I wish I didn't know how beautiful and simple and free life was for the Zaghawa before the genocide. I wish this horror and sadness and pain of the genocide was not rolling around in my head. But then, that may be why so many turn their heads from the tragedy that is Darfur. It is so horrible, so painful, and so wrong, that to even think on it causes pain. Some books are just books. Some change how you see yourself, how you see the world. Halima Bashir and her Tears of the Desert have changed how I see and they will never leave me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ksab

    Wow-Another story of our AFrican brothers and sisters killing each other!1 This was a poignant first person account of Bashir's middle class-albeit village(her Dad had houses in the nearby town-hundreds of livestock,a Landrover-the first TV in the village)idealistic-family oriented upbring-A feisty young lady bestowed with a lucky charm of a white eyelash-Halima was the first girl in her village to attend elementary school and highschool in the city. This book showed that many Muslim societies i Wow-Another story of our AFrican brothers and sisters killing each other!1 This was a poignant first person account of Bashir's middle class-albeit village(her Dad had houses in the nearby town-hundreds of livestock,a Landrover-the first TV in the village)idealistic-family oriented upbring-A feisty young lady bestowed with a lucky charm of a white eyelash-Halima was the first girl in her village to attend elementary school and highschool in the city. This book showed that many Muslim societies in the last and present century encourage their womwn to be educated. Halim attends University in Darfur and becomes a doctor-However-again the minorityArabs-bequeathed rulership by the exiting British colonialists-have always hated and looked down on the Black African majority.Halima is sexually and physically abused for speaking to international aid groups as well as tending to the wounds of her tribesman who are guerilla fighters-Halima flees to her village-which is soon decimated by a swarm of bombing Arab helicopters as well as infantry-Talk about a Diaspora!! As of present Halima-her husband(who she married in absentia) and small children are in exile in England. This is a very powerful story-It is real-Reading this book will bring the Genocide in the Darfur Region of the Sudan-HOME to your heart,mind, and conscience!!!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    One of those books that should inspire me to volunteer with the local refugees. This is a horrendous story of the life of a Darfuri survivor who's only desire is to become a doctor to help people in her village. Instead she is lied to, cheated, threatened, forcibly moved, beaten, raped, and hunted. It is an incredibly infuriating story that embarassingly brings hatred to my life. It would be a strong person indeed who could read this book and not be moved. After blowing the rest of the female st One of those books that should inspire me to volunteer with the local refugees. This is a horrendous story of the life of a Darfuri survivor who's only desire is to become a doctor to help people in her village. Instead she is lied to, cheated, threatened, forcibly moved, beaten, raped, and hunted. It is an incredibly infuriating story that embarassingly brings hatred to my life. It would be a strong person indeed who could read this book and not be moved. After blowing the rest of the female students out of the water academically in the city school Halima is fortunate enough, and wealthy enough, to be sent to the university to become a medical doctor. During those six years a civil war had been brewing and came to a head. Only trouble followed that ended with Halima initially being denied asylum in England after finally finding her husband; losing her father; not knowing where her brothers, sister, or mother are; being hunted, literally by the government; and selling her entire families gold to escape the country. I can't say enough about this book. I hope every takes the challenge to read it, become educated about what's going on around them, and pass that motivation to read on to others.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Parri

    This is a difficult book to read, but if you want an insiders view of what has transpired in the Darfur region of Sudan over the last decade, this is it. I was so truly touched by the simplicity of life in Halima Bashir's tribal village ... and so taken back and personally devastated by the government-backed genocide that wiped out her village and brought brutality into her world that no one should ever know It's appalling that genocide like this still exists today and while these types of books This is a difficult book to read, but if you want an insiders view of what has transpired in the Darfur region of Sudan over the last decade, this is it. I was so truly touched by the simplicity of life in Halima Bashir's tribal village ... and so taken back and personally devastated by the government-backed genocide that wiped out her village and brought brutality into her world that no one should ever know It's appalling that genocide like this still exists today and while these types of books are emotionally harrowing experiences, I do believe in experiencing these stories, which propel one to take a stand and personally get involved. This is a story of a courageous woman and a belief that one voice can make a difference. As a medical doctor, she defied the authorities and refused to abandon her people. She treated them (often in secret), including victims of a brutal attack on a village school (gang-raping and beatings of elementary school children). Her courage to treat these children led to her being horribly brutalized herself and becoming a hunted woman who needed to seek asylum in another country. Read this book. Get involved. And join the millions of people who promised after WWII, "never again."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carly Fritts

    To everyone who gave this a one star review....you must be such a blessed person that you can’t sympathize with the events in this book. After living through what this woman lived through and saw what she saw, you can’t expect her to also write a shaking literary piece that caters to disconnected academia. This is a real story of a real person who lived through a real hell that we should be reacting to and work to prevent in the future rather than critiquing the writing. That’s not what this boo To everyone who gave this a one star review....you must be such a blessed person that you can’t sympathize with the events in this book. After living through what this woman lived through and saw what she saw, you can’t expect her to also write a shaking literary piece that caters to disconnected academia. This is a real story of a real person who lived through a real hell that we should be reacting to and work to prevent in the future rather than critiquing the writing. That’s not what this book is about.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina Rutter

    Words escape me right now. This woman's story is one of the most tragic I have ever read in my life. My God, human endurance knows no bounds...All I can say is read this book! Words escape me right now. This woman's story is one of the most tragic I have ever read in my life. My God, human endurance knows no bounds...All I can say is read this book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This is such a great memoir. What Halima has to go through from her nearly idyllic childhood, at least until having to endure the tradition of female circumcision through her teen years on into university to become a medical doctor and afterwards. What she and millions of others had to go through during the genocide in Darfur. It is remarkable that she stayed so strong throughout the ordeal. My only complaint with this book was that it could have been better edited. There were several word and p This is such a great memoir. What Halima has to go through from her nearly idyllic childhood, at least until having to endure the tradition of female circumcision through her teen years on into university to become a medical doctor and afterwards. What she and millions of others had to go through during the genocide in Darfur. It is remarkable that she stayed so strong throughout the ordeal. My only complaint with this book was that it could have been better edited. There were several word and phrases that should have been proofread and corrected; for this I almost gave it 4 stars, but after thinking about what to write in my review, I reconsidered and gave it 5 stars on Goodreads, pushing it back to 4.5 stars.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sookie

    I started the year 2018 reading: Mende Nazer's - The True Story of a Girl's Lost Childhood and Her Fight for Survival and its fitting to finish the year with Tears. The author, Dr. Bashir, sees all the misfortunes to fall upon her country first hand and undergoes personal horror during peak of mass genocide. With close to half a million people dead since then, not just due to conflict but the aftermath as well, this book gives a deep background on the commonality of Darfur's inhabitants, its cul I started the year 2018 reading: Mende Nazer's - The True Story of a Girl's Lost Childhood and Her Fight for Survival and its fitting to finish the year with Tears. The author, Dr. Bashir, sees all the misfortunes to fall upon her country first hand and undergoes personal horror during peak of mass genocide. With close to half a million people dead since then, not just due to conflict but the aftermath as well, this book gives a deep background on the commonality of Darfur's inhabitants, its culture and its (violent) political history. Resilience is truly a marvelous thing. Her sense of morality is something else.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    A terrible tale of survival in the midst of catastrophe. Halima is a clever girl from a close knit village family who qualifies as a doctor before war tears her country apart. Racial hatred isn’tjust a black / white affair when the lines are drawn between Arab Sudanese, black Sudanese, tribes and religion. The added complicity of the Chinese in arming the Sudanese government is not really touched on, but money is always at the bottom of these genocidal conflicts. Halma has survived to tell the w A terrible tale of survival in the midst of catastrophe. Halima is a clever girl from a close knit village family who qualifies as a doctor before war tears her country apart. Racial hatred isn’tjust a black / white affair when the lines are drawn between Arab Sudanese, black Sudanese, tribes and religion. The added complicity of the Chinese in arming the Sudanese government is not really touched on, but money is always at the bottom of these genocidal conflicts. Halma has survived to tell the world, but I am not sure anyone is listening.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lianne

    "But after all that I had been through I didn't care anymore. What could touch me? What could really hurt me or scare me? If we exploded in a fireball, what would I have lost? I had begged for death so many times, and death had failed to find me. What was there to fear if it did so now?" (p. 313) Wow. This book is filled with heartache and sorrow and despair. A story of hope despite suffering. Growth despite pain. I 100% recommend reading Halima's story. "But after all that I had been through I didn't care anymore. What could touch me? What could really hurt me or scare me? If we exploded in a fireball, what would I have lost? I had begged for death so many times, and death had failed to find me. What was there to fear if it did so now?" (p. 313) Wow. This book is filled with heartache and sorrow and despair. A story of hope despite suffering. Growth despite pain. I 100% recommend reading Halima's story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Docherty

    A heartbreaking account of Halima Bashir’s life and flight from Darfur. I loved reading about her idyllic childhood and how her father was determined that she had an education and become a doctor. The book details her FGM, her torture and rape which makes harrowing reading. She ultimately flees Sudan and seeks asylum in the UK where she tells the world about the genocide being carried out in her homeland. How can humans be so evil?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maja

    It's an emotional and touching personal story. It's an emotional and touching personal story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Halima Bashir is one of millions caught up in this tragedy. If not for the combination of her personal skills (academic excellence, fortitude, stamina) and her very supportive father this story would never have been told. Halima's girlhood is a stunning narrative, and worth a read in and of itself. This unique glimpse into village life has well defined characters and reflects a strong but changing culture. There is a stubborn grandmother who wants the old ways but accepts the radio. The successfu Halima Bashir is one of millions caught up in this tragedy. If not for the combination of her personal skills (academic excellence, fortitude, stamina) and her very supportive father this story would never have been told. Halima's girlhood is a stunning narrative, and worth a read in and of itself. This unique glimpse into village life has well defined characters and reflects a strong but changing culture. There is a stubborn grandmother who wants the old ways but accepts the radio. The successful father, ahead of his time, and supportive of Halima as he may be, does not protect her from "cutting". The dynamics of the family upon the return of their scholar/doctor are interesting as is the distance now placed between Halima and neighbors/patients, potential suitors and childhood friends. There is a good portrait of the educational experience in the third world. Students are beaten at the whim of those in control. Tuition paying families accept their daughters will clean the latrines/toilets. In medical school, students catch their own frogs for dissection. These difficult experiences pale when the war reaches this family. The upside down world has only loss and danger. There is no heroic rescue on the horizon, only the family "savings" that comes to Halima due to all the unique characteristics of her father, grandmother and mother. Circumstances and pluck bring Halima to England and with the help of caring refugee advocates is able to communicate the problem to the world. I hadn't understood the situation in Sudan until this book. There is little depth in what is presented in the US press. I had read The "Translator: A Memoir" which focuses on the violence through a number of narrow escapes and the guile of its writer. "Tears" gives a much richer portrait individuals and what is being destroyed. I do not think, as stated in the epilogue, that China's reliance on Sudan for oil necessarily means there has to be genocide. While my knowledge of this is shallow, the situation seems to be the product of racism fueled by petrodollars. Credit is due to Halima Bashir for telling her story and also to Damien Lewis of the BBC who made this a page turner.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Blane

    A difficult book to read in terms of content, I read it in one day (or night) so it is a fast read. The author did a really good job of setting up the context, explaining how peaceful her life and world were before the regime in Khartoum began the process of exterminating the black Africans in Darfur. At a point in the book she realized that the war against her people had to do with their being black Africans and not Arabs, President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum was a Muslim killing other Muslims. A difficult book to read in terms of content, I read it in one day (or night) so it is a fast read. The author did a really good job of setting up the context, explaining how peaceful her life and world were before the regime in Khartoum began the process of exterminating the black Africans in Darfur. At a point in the book she realized that the war against her people had to do with their being black Africans and not Arabs, President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum was a Muslim killing other Muslims....the killing was racially motivated and not religiously motivated. The book Emma's War by Deborah Scroggins was perhaps a harder book to read, it was of course written by an outsider, a journalist. Her book focused more on the tribal fighting in South Sudan, Tears of the Desert is most definitely about the genocide committed by an Arab regime against its black African citizens. I would recommend this book. I would also recommend that it not be the only book that a person would read about Sudan and South Sudan. This is definitely written about Darfur. It is critically important to raise awareness about the atrocities that were inflicted in Darfur. In my opinion for anyone interested in knowing more about Sudan/South Sudan is also critically important to read in-depth about the other atrocities in the two countries.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Janet Damon

    This memoir by Halima Bashir is all about love, family, war, and survival both from the worst physical violence but also the psychological battles one faces. Beginning with a childhood so beautifully cultivated by an adoring father and mother, a fierce grandmother, and her fun loving siblings, cousins, and neighbors, I found myself laughing out loud at all tales of her childhood adventures. Soon my daughters wanted to hear the story and we enjoyed the first third of the book together. But no mor This memoir by Halima Bashir is all about love, family, war, and survival both from the worst physical violence but also the psychological battles one faces. Beginning with a childhood so beautifully cultivated by an adoring father and mother, a fierce grandmother, and her fun loving siblings, cousins, and neighbors, I found myself laughing out loud at all tales of her childhood adventures. Soon my daughters wanted to hear the story and we enjoyed the first third of the book together. But no more. This is a vivid and incredible story of her determination to become a doctor and to make her family, and especially her father proud. She overcomes a prejudice from lighter skinned Arabs who treat her and her tribe with growing hatred which eventually becomes the genocide that she must flee. The most inspiring memoir of a woman who survived at all cost and learned to love and live again.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristianne

    It seems like it takes popular authors like Dave Eggers to convince people to read books about Africa. Halima Bashir's memoir also takes place in Sudan and addresses the terrible reality of ethnic conflict, centering on the Darfur region where she spent her childhood. This is a difficult story for obvious reasons. Bashir presents us with the violence, rape, confusion and helplessness we would expect in the memoir of a woman from Darfur. But, she also manages to instill some hope simply in the st It seems like it takes popular authors like Dave Eggers to convince people to read books about Africa. Halima Bashir's memoir also takes place in Sudan and addresses the terrible reality of ethnic conflict, centering on the Darfur region where she spent her childhood. This is a difficult story for obvious reasons. Bashir presents us with the violence, rape, confusion and helplessness we would expect in the memoir of a woman from Darfur. But, she also manages to instill some hope simply in the story of her willful perseverance. Bashir tells her story for the very specific reason of drawing attention to the atrocities that are still ongoing in her home country. This is an important book to read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nykki

    An honest depiction of one woman's life in Darfur - going from her happy (albeit rough) childhood, to the wariness of the coming war, to torture, abuse, and rape, to her escape and struggle for asylum in England. "So they had come for my early. So what? The country was burning. Children were being gang raped. Evil stalked the land. Sooner or later all of us Zaghawa, Fur, Massalit - all of us black dogs and slaves - were going to suffer. You might be lucky and live. You might be luckless, and die. An honest depiction of one woman's life in Darfur - going from her happy (albeit rough) childhood, to the wariness of the coming war, to torture, abuse, and rape, to her escape and struggle for asylum in England. "So they had come for my early. So what? The country was burning. Children were being gang raped. Evil stalked the land. Sooner or later all of us Zaghawa, Fur, Massalit - all of us black dogs and slaves - were going to suffer. You might be lucky and live. You might be luckless, and die. It looked as if my luck had run out. So be it. At least God, let me die quickly. Please God, let it be painless. Please God, don't let them torture my soul." --Direct quote from: Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur by Halim Bashir.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    This is the story of a survivor of the government of Sudan's policy of genocide against the black Sudanese in Darfur. The government attacks with weapons bought from China and paid for with oil sold to China. The United Nations is powerless because of the influence of China. Over 400,00 people have died and 2.5 million suffer in refugee camps. Here 's Nicholas Kristof's article about the book in the New York Times. This is the story of a survivor of the government of Sudan's policy of genocide against the black Sudanese in Darfur. The government attacks with weapons bought from China and paid for with oil sold to China. The United Nations is powerless because of the influence of China. Over 400,00 people have died and 2.5 million suffer in refugee camps. Here 's Nicholas Kristof's article about the book in the New York Times.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lesblick17

    I really liked this book. She tells the story of her life growing up in a small village, going off to school to become a doctor, and how her life was impacted by the Darfur crisis. I find reading stories like this to learn about a political situation is easier than reading a full-fledged history book, which can sometimes be dry. However, I kind of wish she had included more political information in the book, so that we had a better sense for the various factions and issues involved, and how she I really liked this book. She tells the story of her life growing up in a small village, going off to school to become a doctor, and how her life was impacted by the Darfur crisis. I find reading stories like this to learn about a political situation is easier than reading a full-fledged history book, which can sometimes be dry. However, I kind of wish she had included more political information in the book, so that we had a better sense for the various factions and issues involved, and how she viewed them. Overall though, this was an excellent and heartbreaking read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    A beautifully done memoir about an African girl from a small village in Sundan, who becomes a medical doctor and if forced to flee during genocide. I'll admit, I didn't know a lot about the conflict in Sudan prior to reading this book, but it made me want to learn more. It's amazing how awful humans are to one another. But, the escape was only a small piece of Bashir's life, and a small piece of this wonderful story. A beautifully done memoir about an African girl from a small village in Sundan, who becomes a medical doctor and if forced to flee during genocide. I'll admit, I didn't know a lot about the conflict in Sudan prior to reading this book, but it made me want to learn more. It's amazing how awful humans are to one another. But, the escape was only a small piece of Bashir's life, and a small piece of this wonderful story.

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