From one of the world's greatest humanitarian activists comes a searing personal memoir that is also an urgent call to confront suffering in all its many forms.
Having seen things we hope never to see, confronted suffering and dispassion and evil we hope never to encounter, and faced deep personal torment, James Orbinski still believes in "the good we can be if we so choose." His chosen medium for revealing this is stories from his own experience--a doctor's indelible testimony from the front lines in Peru, Somalia, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Zaire--embodied in which are warnings, hope, and lessons in how we can inject humanitarian activity into our lives. Being political, he has discovered, is not only reserved for politicians; admitting imperfection is essential to compassion. With an eye for detail like that of the finest journalist and the empathy of the most committed doctor, Orbinski's powerful voice is matched by the urgency of his message. At a time of great political and moral uncertainty, An Imperfect Offering is invaluable reading for anyone who wants to make a difference.
"This book is a series of stories in which I ask, again and again, 'how to be in relation to the suffering of others.' It is a personal narrative about the political journey I have taken over the last twenty years as a humanitarian doctor, as a citizen, and as a man. It is about the mutuality that can exist between us, if we so choose. I have come to see humanitarianism not as separate from politics, but in relation to it, and as a challenge to political choices that too often kill or allow others to be killed. At its best, politics is an imperfect human project. It is at its worst when we delude ourselves into thinking it can be perfect. Speaking is the first political act. It is the first act of liberty, and it always implicitly involves another. In speaking, one inherently recognizes that "I am and I am not alone." In this space lies our humanity." (a composite from chapter 1)
In 1957, Ryszard Kapuscinski arrived in Africa to witness the beginning of the end of colonial rule as the first African correspondent of Poland's state newspaper. From the early days of independence in Ghana to the ongoing ethnic genocide in Rwanda, Kapuscinski has crisscrossed vast distances pursuing the swift, and often violent, events that followed liberation. Kapuscinski hitchhikes with caravans, wanders the Sahara with nomads, and lives in the poverty-stricken slums of Nigeria. He wrestles a king cobra to the death and suffers through a bout of malaria. What emerges is an extraordinary depiction of Africa--not as a group of nations or geographic locations--but as a vibrant and frequently joyous montage of peoples, cultures, and encounters. Kapuscinski's trenchant observations, wry analysis and overwhelming humanity paint a remarkable portrait of the continent and its people. His unorthodox approach and profound respect for the people he meets challenge conventional understandings of the modern problems faced by Africa at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
The village of Nambonkaha in the Ivory Coast is a place where electricity hasn't yet arrived, where sorcerers still conjure magic, where the tok-tok sound of women pounding corn fills the morning air like a drumbeat. As Sarah Erdman enters the social fold of the village as a Peace Corps volunteer, she finds that Nambonkaha is also a place where AIDS threatens and poverty is constant, where women suffer the indignities of patriarchal customs, and where children work like adults while still managing to dream. Lyrical and topical, Erdman's beautiful debut captures the astonishing spirit of an unforgettable community.
From the maverick author of the international bestseller Who Killed Daniel Pearl? -- "a gripping blend of reportage and philosophy," according to The New York Times -- comes another startlingly original work of literature.In WAR, EVIL AND THE END OF HISTORY, Bernard-Henri L vy continues his daring investigation into the breeding grounds of terrorism with a series of riveting first-person reports from five of the world's most horrific "forgotten" war zones. In Sri Lanka, he conducts a clandestine interview with a terrified young woman escaped from a suicide-bomber training camp . . . he journeys, blindfolded, into the Colombian jungle to interview a psychotic drug lord who considers himself the successor to Che Guevara and fronts a bloodthirsty "guerilla" army . . . L vy surreptitiously observes the nameless slaves working the diamond mines that fund an endless war in Angola . . . airdrops into a rebel stronghold in the blockaded Nuba mountains of the Sudan . . . and reports on the ongoing carnage in Burundi between Hutus and Tutsis. But L vy is more than just a journalist: as France's leading philosopher, he follows the reports with a series of intensely personal and probing "reflections" considering how, in an enlightened, cultured, and well-informed society, these wars have acquired such a perverse "non-meaning." He considers war literature from Stendhal, Hemingway, Proust and others, and issues an excoriating response to those who have glorified it. He reconsiders his own background as a student revolutionary in Paris in May 1968, and as a 22-year-old war reporter in Bangladesh. And, in one of the book's most moving passages, he recounts his travels with Ahmad Massoud, the anti-Taliban Afghan leader assassinated hours before the September 11 attacks. Already a huge bestseller in Europe, WAR, EVIL, AND THE END OF HISTORY is the work of a scintillating intellect at the height of its powers. Bernard-Henri L vy's previous book foresaw today's headlines about Pakistan's secret trading of nuclear technology and the nexus of terrorist groups behind the murder of Daniel Pearl. WAR, EVIL, AND THE END OF HISTORY is his brilliant foray into the next danger zones.
Rough Crossings turns on a single huge question: if you were black in America at the start of the Revolutionary War, whom would you want to win? In response to a declaration by the last governor of Virginia that any rebel-owned slave who escaped and served the King would be emancipated, tens of thousands of slaves -- Americans who clung to the sentimental notion of British freedom -- escaped from farms, plantations and cities to try to reach the British camp. This mass movement lasted as long as the war did, and a military strategy originally designed to break the plantations of the American South had unleashed one of the great exoduses in American history.
With powerfully vivid storytelling, Schama details the odyssey of the escaped blacks through the fires of war and the terror of potential recapture at the war's end, into inhospitable Nova Scotia, where thousands who had served the Crown were betrayed and, in a little-known hegira of the slave epic, sent across the broad, stormy ocean to Sierra Leone.
Winner of the Sunday Times (South Africa) Alan Paton Award for Nonfiction Winner of the Herskovitz Award from the African Studies Association. 'The seed is mine. The ploughshares are mine. The span of oxen is mine. Everything is mine. Only the land is their's.'--Kas Maine A bold and innovative social history, The Seed Is Mine concerns the disenfranchised blacks who did so much to shape the destiny of South Africa. After years of interviews with Kas Maine and his neighbors, employers, friends, and family--a rare triumph of collaborative courage and dedication--Charles van Onselen has re-created the entire life of a man who struggled to maintain his family in a world dedicated to enriching whites and impoverishing blacks, while South Africa was tearing them apart.
Explores key themes in African music that have emerged in recent years-a subject usually neglected in country-by-country coverage
emphasizes the contexts of musical performance-unlike studies that offer static interpretations isolated from other performing traditions
presents the fresh insights and analyses of musicologists and anthropologists of diverse national origins-African, Asian, European, and American
cross-regional musical influences throughout Africa * Islam and its effect on African music * spread of guitar music * Kru mariners of Liberia * Latin American influences on African music * musical interchanges in local contexts * crossovers between popular and traditional practices. Audio CD included. Also includes nine maps and 96 music examples.
In an open cart Elspeth Huxley set off with her parents to travel to Thika in Kenya. As pioneering settlers, they built a house of grass, ate off a damask cloth spread over packing cases, and discovered--the hard way--the world of the African. With an extraordinary gift for detail and a keen sense of humor, Huxley recalls her childhood on the small farm at a time when Europeans waged their fortunes on a land that was as harsh as it was beautiful. For a young girl, it was a time of adventure and freedom, and Huxley paints an unforgettable portrait of growing up among the Masai and Kikuyu people, discovering both the beauty and the terrors of the jungle, and enduring the rugged realities of the pioneer life.
"I am the translator who has taken journalists into dangerous Darfur. It is my intention now to take you there in this book, if you have the courage to come with me."
The young life of Daoud Hari-his friends call him David-has been one of bravery and mesmerizing adventure. He is a living witness to the brutal genocide under way in Darfur.
"The Translator" is 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. Using his high school knowledge of languages as his weapon-while others around him were taking up arms-Daoud Hari has helped inform the world about Darfur.
Hari, a Zaghawa tribesman, grew up in a village in the Darfur region of Sudan. As a child he saw colorful weddings, raced his camels across the desert, and played games in the moonlight after his work was done. In 2003, this traditional life was shattered when helicopter gunships appeared over Darfur's villages, followed by Sudanese-government-backed militia groups attacking on horseback, raping and murdering citizens and burning villages. Ancient hatreds and greed for natural resources had collided, and the conflagration spread.
Though Hari's village was attacked and destroyedhis family decimated and dispersed, he himself escaped. Roaming the battlefield deserts on camels, he and a group of his friends helped survivors find food, water, and the way to safety. When international aid groups and reporters arrived, Hari offered his services as a translator and guide. In doing so, he risked his life again and again, for the government of Sudan had outlawed journalists in the region, and death was the punishment for those who aided the "foreign spies." And then, inevitably, his luck ran out and he was captured. . . .
"The Translator" tells the remarkable story of a man who came face-to-face with genocide- time and again risking his own life to fight injustice and save his people.
At the age of twenty-five, Kuki Gallman, divorced and badly injured in a devastating car accident, left Italy to convalesce in Africa with the man who would become her second husband. Enchanted by the land, they established a vast ranch on the Laikipia plateau in Kenya. But Africa's splendor came with a price. Filled with pain and joy, beauty and drama, Gallman's haunting memoir "captures perfectly the magic of Kenya" (The New York TImes Book Review).