Review of Tears of the Desertby Halima Bashir is a poignant memoir capable of producing copious empathetic tears. During the first part of the book, the author recounts her childhood and family life growing up in a village in South Dafur. She establishes a beautiful picture of the Zaghawa tribe culture, her feelings, her aspirations and how she relates to all family members. An extended family surrounds her, most importantly, a father who adores her and her feisty Grandma Sumah, a traditionalist with an iron will. As the pleasant images of her upbringing unfold there are also some which are considered barbaric in other cultures. However, involving the reader in this way she makes you a captive caring companion to her feelings and ideas.
During the next part of the story, she shares the tragic atrocities that were inflicted upon her. She details her eyewitness account of horrors of death and suffering in her village and country. Several times during the retelling of her brutal beating and gang rape by the Sudanese Government supported army, Halima prays for death, prays for an end to her suffering. She would rather die than live. A Memoir of Survival in Darfur, the book’s subtitle really is her survival from despair, hopelessness, and the dark depths of depression. She now believes she survived to be a messenger, to be able to share her personal tragedy with the world community.
As the book concludes, you reflect on this story of survival, courage and tenacity of will few of us can even fathom. The atrocities she witnessed and the torture she endured are graphic and uncensored. This is a reality that every world citizen must face. Her hope is that her story will shed more light on the situation in Darfur so that the international community will help end the pain, suffering and genocide.
Readers will find the epilogue with the details of the history and causes for the current situation in Darfur informative. Organizations are listed for those looking for ways to assist the people of Darfur.
I was moved to tears by this memoir of Halima Bashir. There were difficult moments while reading where I just couldn’t even comprehend the sick savage inhumane treatment inflicted upon Ms. Bashir. I hope that she will find her family and continue to have the will to fight the fight as Grandma Sumah would have. Highly recommended.
Cross posted on Library Thing (loves2read)