Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror, by Mahmoud Mamdani

Mamdani’s is an ambitious endeavour: to challenge the dominant narrative on Darfur, to offer an alternative explanation of the conflict and to associate its representations with the “war on terror”. He meets his objectives but the scope of the book makes it rather disjointed. The first section is the most interesting: he forensically demonstrates the deceit and exaggerations of the Save Darfur organisation. Later sections devoted to how colonial policy constructed ethnic categories which still frame internal conflicts – despite their inaccuracy – are familiar from elsewhere, while his account of Sudan’s history is detailed but confusing to the non-expert. SS

Pantheon Books; 2009; 416 pages

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