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9780812979176

The Translator A Memoir

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780812979176

  • ISBN10:

    0812979176

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-01-13
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks

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Summary

The young life of Daoud Harihis friends call him Davidhas been one of bravery and mesmerizing adventure.The Translatoris a suspenseful, harrowing, and deeply moving memoir of how one person has made a difference in the world, an on-the-ground account of one of the biggest stories of our time: the brutal genocide under way in Darfur. In 2003, Daoud Hari, a Zaghawa tribesman, was among the hundreds of thousands of villagers attacked and driven from their homes by Sudanese-government-backed militia groups. Though Hari's village was burned to the ground, his family decimated and dispersed, he himself escaped, eventually finding safety across the border. With his high school knowledge of languages, Hari offered his services as a translator and guide. In doing so, however, he had to return to the heart of darknessand he has risked his life again and again to help ensure that the story of his people is told while there is still time to save them.

Author Biography

Daoud Hari was born in the Darfur region of Sudan. After escaping an attack on his village, he entered the refugee camps in Chad and began serving as a translator for major news organizations including The New York Times, NBC, and the BBC, as well as the United Nations and other aid groups. He now lives in the United States and was part of SaveDarfur.org's Voices from Darfur tour.


From the Hardcover edition.

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

Excerpts

Chapter One

A Call from the Road

I am sure you know how important it can be to get a good phone signal. We were speeding through the hot African desert in a scratched and muddy Land Cruiser that had been much whiter a week earlier. Our driver, a Darfur tribesman like me, was swerving through thorny acacia bushes, working the gears expertly in the deep sands of another and always another ravine, which we call a wadi, and sailing over the bumps in the land–there are no roads to speak of. In the backseat, a young news filmmaker from Britain, Philip Cox, was holding on as we bounced and as our supplies thumped and clanked and sloshed around. A veteran of these deserts, he was in good humor–even after a long week of dusty travel and so many emotionally difficult interviews. Survivors told us of villages surrounded at night by men with torches and machine guns, the killing of men, women, and children, the burning of people alive in the grass huts of Darfur. They told us of the rape and mutilation of young girls, of execution by machete of young men–sometimes eighty at a time in long lines.

You cannot be a human being and remain unmoved, yet if it is your job to get these stories out to the world, you keep going. So we did that.

I was Philip’s translator and guide, and it was my job tokeep us alive. Several times each hour I was calling militarycommanders from rebel groups or from the Chad National Army to ask if we should go this way or that way to avoid battles or other trouble.My great collection of phone numbers was the reason many reporters trusted me to take them intoDarfur. I don’t know how Philip got my cell number in the first place–maybe from the U.S. Embassy, or the U.S. State Department, or the British Embassy, or from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, or from one of the aid organizations or a resistance group. It seemed that everyone had my cell phone number now. He certainly did not get my number from the government of Sudan, whose soldiers would kill me if they caught me bringing in a reporter.

These satellite phone calls–and often just cell phonecalls–frequently were to commanders who said,No, you willdie if you come here, because we are fighting so-and-so today.We would then find another way.

If one rebel group hears that you have been calling another group, they might think you are a spy, even though you are only doing this for the journalist and for the story–you give the rebels nothing in return. I had to be careful about such things if I wanted to get my reporters out of Darfur alive, and so more stories could go out to the world. Since the attack on my own village, that had become my reason, and really my only reason, for living. I was feeling mostly dead inside and wanted only to make my remaining days count for something. You have perhaps felt this way at some time. Most of the young men I had grown up with were now dead or fighting in the resistance; I, too, had chosen to risk myself, but was using my English instead of a gun.

We needed to arrive at our destination before sundown or risk attack by the Sudanese Army, or by Darfur rebels aligned with government, or by other rebels who didn’t know who we were and who might kill us just to be safe. So we didn’t like what happened next.

Our Land Cruiser was suddenly blocked by six trucks that emerged from a maze of desert bushes. These were Land Cruisers, too, but with their roofs cut off completely so men could pile in and out instantly, as when they have to escape a losing battle or get out before a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) reaches them. Dusty men with Kalashnikov rifles piled out. On the order of their commander, they pointed their guns at us. When so many guns are pulled ready at the same time, the crunching sound is memorable. We moved slowly out of our vehicle with our
hands raised.

These men were clea

Excerpted from The Translator: A Memoir by Daoud Hari
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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