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. In 2003, this traditional life was shattered when helicopter gunships appeared over Darfur’s villages, followed by Sudanese-government-backed militia groups raping and murdering citizens and burning villages.
Though Hari’s village was attacked and destroyed, he was able to escape and lead survivors to safety. When international aid groups and reporters arrived, Hari offered his services as a translator and guide. 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.
The book was written with Dennis Burke and Megan McKenna, based on hours of interviews with Daoud. Megan originally met Daoud in Darfur, where she had traveled as part of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, and she was one of the people who helped in the fight to bring Daoud to the United States. The author acknowledges with gratitude these contributions and also the efforts of other individuals – including several with direct experience of the events described – who reviewed portions of the book in manuscript. In Daoud's own words, “The story I am telling here is based on my memories of a time of great difficulty and confusion. I have done my best to capture the details of my experiences, and to set them down here accurately and to the utmost of my recollection, and I am grateful to those who have helped me focus and occasionally correct my account. Of course, no two people can view the same event in the same way, and I know that others will have their own tales to tell. Surely these collective tales will add up to the truth of the tragedy in Darfur.”