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Saviors & Survivors: Darfur, Politics & the War on Terror
Date Friday April 10
Time 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Location Details
Berkeley Arts & Letters at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave in Berkeley
Event Type Speaker
Organizer/AuthorNunu Kidane
Priority Africa Network (PAN)
Contact: PriorityAfrica [at]
This and all Africa events in the Bay available at:

Friday, April 10
7:30 pm

Mahmood Mamdani, The Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and of Anthropology at Columbia University

Reads from his newly released book: Saviors & Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror

at the

Berkeley Arts & Letters at the Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave in Berkeley

Saviors and Survivors invites the reader to rethink the lesson of Rwanda in light of Darfur. It is a warning to those who would act first and understand later.

Part One discusses the nature of Save Darfur advocacy. Like the War on Terror from which it has borrowed its assumptions and coordinates, Save Darfur has turned into a lavishly funded and massive ad campaign spreading and sustaining a lethal illusion, consistently exaggerating the level of mortality and racializing the reasons for it. Why has Save Darfur not lost credibility even though its information is increasingly divorced from reality? A part of the answer lies in its ability to turn activism around Darfur into a domestic "feel good" issue while obscuring the context of the violence in Darfur.

Part Two of the book explains this context, starting with correcting the widely-held assumption that Arab tribes of Sudan are settlers from the Middle East, when they actually comprise local tribes that adopted the Arabic language and identity in the course of forming local states. The book locates the roots of the current conflict in colonialism, ecology, and the Cold War: colonialism introduced into Darfur a system of local discrimination based on tribal identity; an ongoing ecological crisis has led to the expansion of the Sahara by a hundred kilometers in four decades, igniting a conflict between nomadic and peasant tribes over fertile land in the mountains of the south; and, finally, the Cold War confrontation in Chad between Gaddafi (with Soviet support) and the Reagan administration (allied with France and Israel) spilled over into Darfur and militarized the conflict.

Part Three explains the Darfur crisis. Rather than a willful attempt by the government to eliminate particular groups--genocide--the present phase of the conflict stems from a land-based ecological confrontation at the local level and a struggle for power at the central level, exacerbated by the ongoing War on Terror. The urgent need today is not to punish those responsible for the mass killings of 2003-04 but to arrive at a political solution that will reform the land system in Darfur and political power in Sudan.

Priority Africa Network
Mailing Address: P O Box 2528
Berkeley CA 94702
Office: AFSC Office/PAN
1730 Franklin St. Ste 212
Oakland CA 94612
Tel: (510) 238 8080 ext. 309
Fax: (510) 238 8088
PriorityAfrica [at]
Added to the calendar on Tuesday Mar 17th, 2009 5:20 PM

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