Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tears of the Desert - Book Review

Tears of the Desert
By Halima Bashir
Harper Colllins 2008

This is the story of a Sudanese girl from Darfur. She tells the story of how she grew up in a village, was educated at school, was sent to Khartoum to attend university and then later medical school. And it is her story of how she was raped and her family killed.

When the Darfur war broke out it was arabs against blacks and Halima is black. The problem is that Halima does not even mention the year she graduated from school or University, or the year she was raped or the year the fighting started. With no details like this, I am unable to confirm anything.

Yes she was raped. Noone can describe a rape in details like she does without having gone through it. I seriously doubt however that she, a village girl, was ever from a rich enough family, to be sent away to medical school.

It is a good story, but there are a lot details missing that do not make it seem real. Also she even admits that the name Halima Bashir is a nom-de-plume, so if she can lie about her name (supposedly to protect her family) then she can lie about everything else.

Halima eventually escaped to England. She is a real person but I think she is living a lie and is all wrapped in to prevent others from poking holes in her story.

Bashir is an Arab name. If you think you have heard it before, then you are right. Siddig el-Fadil, was an actor on the TV series Star Trek Deep Space Nine. His character's name on the show was Dr Julian Bashir. His father was Sudanese Arab, and his mother English. Siddig later changed his name to Alexander Siddig. He was raised in England.

I read this book for the Well Seasoned Readers Challenge.

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