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Darfur Women Scarred By Fighting

Oct 23, 2008 (Tell Me More)

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Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur is the first memoir written by a woman caught in the war in Darfur.

The author, Halima Bashir, was born into the Zaghawa tribe in the Sudanese desert.

She received a good education away from her rural surroundings. Halima excelled in her studies and exams, surpassing even the privileged Arab girls. With her love of learning and support of her father, a cattle herder, Halima went on to study medicine, and at 24 became her village's first formal doctor.

Yet, that, nor anything else, was enough to protect her from the encroaching conflict that would consume her land. Janjaweed Arab militias started savagely assaulting the Zaghawa, often with the backing of the Sudanese military. Then, four years ago, the Janjaweed attacked Bashir's village and surrounding areas, raping 42 schoolgirls and their teachers.

After treating the traumatized victims — some as young as 8 years old — Bashir spoke out, igniting a horrifying turn of events.

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