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Saviors and survivors : Darfur, politics, and the War on terror
Mahmood Mamdani
Adult Nonfiction DT159.6.D27 M36 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Mamdani (Good Muslim, Bad Muslim) continues to challenge political and intellectual orthodoxies in his latest book, a bold, near brilliant re-examination of the conflict in Darfur. While acknowledging the "horrendous violence" committed in the region, Mamdani contends that Darfur is not the site of genocide but rather a "site where the language of genocide has been used as an instrument." The author believes that the "war on terror" provided an international political context in which the perpetrators of violence in Darfur could be categorized as "Arabs" seeking to eradicate "black" Africans in the region. Challenging these racial distinctions, Mamdani traces the history of Sudan and the origins of the current conflict back past the 10th century to demonstrate how the divide between Arab and non-Arab ethnic groups is political rather than racial in nature. The author persuasively argues that the conflict in Darfur is a political problem, with a historical basis, requiring a political solution-facilitated not by the U.N. or a global community but rather by the African Union and other African states. The book's introductory and closing chapters are essential reading for those interested in the topic. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Highlighted by the International Criminal Court's recent indictment of Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the turmoil in the Darfur region of the Sudan continues to evoke both impassioned advocacy and controversy. The latter stems primarily from the power inherent in one word-genocide-and whether or not it should be applied to events in the region. The World and Darfur, edited by Grzyb (information & media studies, Univ. of Western Ontario), uniquely encompasses a diversity of scholarship by both social scientists and scholars in the humanities (all genocide scholars), who examine the West's response (or lack thereof) to Darfur. The essays from humanities scholars are especially powerful, ranging from the deconstruction of language used by Western and Sudanese politicians to the messages conveyed in art drawn by children in Darfur refugee camps. The message is clear: genocide occurred and continues to occur in Darfur, and Western nations-stalled by bureaucracy and politics-have a moral and legal obligation to intervene. In stark contrast, Mamdani (Good Muslim, Bad Muslim) argues that calling the events in Darfur genocide is inaccurate and irresponsible. In his sweeping history of Darfur, Mamdani claims that the political and cultural complexities of the region have brought about events that are indeed tumultuous but do not constitute genocide. He believes that the West's concern with Darfur is a preferred distraction from the failed U.S. occupation in Iraq, offering Western citizens a means to reclaim the moral high ground. At the core of Mamdani's argument is an explicit fear that the claim of genocide and call for justice is a thinly veiled attempt to recolonize Africa. These books offer strikingly disparate interpretations of Darfur, each stamped as truth. At times, the in-depth academic analyses betray a certain level of detachment from the human experience in Darfur that can be a bit disheartening. That aside, both books provide valuable historical and cultural background to recent events in Darfur and the sure-to-continue scholarly debate on genocide.-Veronica Arellano, Univ. of Houston Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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