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From the author of the highly praised Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, the first analysis of the crisis in Darfur that considers the events of the last few years within the broad context of the history of Sudan, as well as examines the efficacy of the world’s response to the crisis.
Illuminating the deeply rooted causes of the current conflict, Mahmood Mamdani explains how it began as a civil war (1987-89) triggered by a severe drought, its effects shaped by the way British colonial officials had tribalized Darfur, dividing its population between “native” and “settler” tribes, thereby creating homelands for the former at the expense of the latter; how the war was reignited in the 1990s when the government tried to address this problem, unsuccessfully, by creating homelands for dispossessed tribes; how the involvement of opposition parties gave rise in 2003 to two rebel movements, leading to a brutal insurgency and a horrific counterinsurgency but not genocide, as the West has declared. Mamdani explains, too, how the Cold War exacerbated the forty-year civil war in Chad, powerfully impacting upon neighboring Darfur. By 2003, the conflict involved national, regional, and global forces, including the powerful Western lobby calling for military involvement dressed up as “humanitarian intervention.”
Incisive and authoritative, Saviors and Survivors will radically alter our understanding of the crisis in Darfur.
“Mamdani traces the path to the Darfur tragedy through its historical and colonial roots to the current situation, where drought and desertification have led to conflict over land among local tribes, rebellion, and finally to the brutal involvement of the forces of the state and to the efforts of the United Nations and others to help the victims and stop the violence. His radical reevaluation of the Darfur problem is a major contribution to understanding and, it is to be hoped, to ending a shocking human disaster.” –Sir Brian Urquhart, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
“An incisive and challenging analysis. Framing both Darfur’s war and the ‘Save Darfur’ movement within the paradigm of the West’s historic colonial encounter with Africa, Mahmood Mamdani challenges the reader to reconsider whether Darfur’s crisis is ‘genocide’ warranting foreign military intervention.” –Alex de Waal, Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and author of War in Darfur
“Mahmood Mamdani has turned his fearless independence of mind on Darfur, Sudan, and the so-called ‘War on Terror,’ producing a book that is as passionate and well-informed as it is intelligent and (for those used only to surface orthodoxies) challenging.” –Conor Gearty, Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics
“A brilliantly argued and profoundly challenging critique of liberal support for humanitarian intervention in Darfur. Beyond this, Mamdani sets forth an alternative approach to such catastrophic situations. This book should be required reading for the Obama foreign policy team.” –Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur and Professor Emeritus, Princeton University
“A bold, near brilliant re-examination of the conflict in Darfur . . . Essential reading for those interested in the topic.” –Publishers Weekly
“A necessary contribution to the literature surrounding both humanitarian aid and African geopolitics.” –Kirkus Reviews
“By providing broader context, Mamdani brings fresh perspective to conflict in this troubled region.” –Booklist