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Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide Hardcover – February 1, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'My deepest conviction is that we have both a responsibility to remember and a responsibility to protect. Genocide is not inevitable or unstoppable - unless we choose to let it happen.' - Mia Farrow, from the Foreword 'Rebecca Hamilton is the model of an 'upstander,' one who raises her voice and acts when people - whether near or far, Western or African - are most in need of help.' - LGen. the Honourable Romeo A. Dallaire, author of Shake Hands with the Devil 'A masterful feat of original research and reporting, Fighting for Darfur is an authoritative account of the impact of the first sustained citizens' movement against genocide. With Hamilton's fierce determination to get beyond self-congratulatory slogans and taken-for-granted assumptions about what is required to save lives at risk, she provides insights that will be invaluable for concerned citizens, human rights advocates and policymakers alike for years and years to come. Essential reading for anyone who wants to help build a better world.' -Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines

About the Author

Rebecca Hamilton is a special correspondent for The Washington Post in Sudan with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and a fellow at the New America Foundation. In 2007 she was selected as a Global Young Leader on genocide Prevention for spearheading the campaign for Harvard University to divest from companies doing business with Sudan and working with internally displaced populations in Sudan. She worked for the prosecution at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, including work on their historic Darfur cases. Currently a resident of New York, Hamilton is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School, as a former Open Society fellow.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230100228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230100220
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,503,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a book about the popular movement in support of Darfur, and as such is pertinent to all those who marched in a rallies, wrote letters to their representatives, formed clubs or in other ways advocated around issues of Darfur, human rights, prevention of genocide or promotion of peace. The book is a very accessible read, rather than an dense academic study such as the works of Alex De Waal. It takes a hard look at the rapid if at times chaotic creation of a mass advocacy movement to address what the US government had determined to be genocide, a movement which despite achieving impressive ability to persuade Congress was unsuccessful at helping to end the conflict which inspired it.

The history of the development of the movement and of events in Sudan is well told. One of Hamilton's strengths was clearly her access to political decision makers in the US, the UN and in Sudan. The book is very good at bringing out the individuals in historical events, such as the description of how Colin Powell made the genocide call, or President Bush's agreement to refer Sudan to the International Criminal Court.

There are a lot of tough subjects in the book for advocacy campaigners to mull over. One such challenge is how to sustain a mass movement which is not able to absorb detailed information about evolving events. Another subject is the costs and benefits of the international court's indictment of President Bashir, an issue referred to as justice vs. peace. Coming from a humanitarian background myself I have long thought that humanitarian costs should be added to this list.

The book points out that as a shiny new organization, one of the biggest flaws of the Save Darfur movement was its lack understanding of Sudanese politics.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Fighting for Darfur, author Bec Hamilton, combines inquisition and an investigative eye for complexities of the Darfur crisis in Sudan. With exemplary clarity and thoroughness, Ms. Hamilton offers an incisive historical account and examination of the genocidal crisis in Darfur and the causes and effects of the crisis. This is a remarkably comprehensive engagement and a timely call on our conscience to better understand how we can deal with ethnic conflicts, genocide, and policy choices that have resulted in devastating catastrophe. Ms. Hamilton's exclusive interviews are quite revealing and provocative as she tackles the and debates the issues of nationalism, governance, food security; while placing those debates by theorizing about Sudan's future in lieu of its past and present. I have read several books about the Sudan and I covered the region quite a bit as a journalist in the 1990s. This text is one of the most successful contribution to the literature and it shows Hamilton's great adaptability and versatility in covering the region and country as special correspondent for major national media and think tanks.

The reviewer, YUSUF KALYANGO, is an Africanist and an international media scholar. He teaches at Ohio University in the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism. He is the author of a book titled "African Media and Democratization: Public Opinion, Ownership and Rule of Law" (2011).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a must-read for "movement builders" in any field - and any foreign policy professional.

It is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the US government's decision-making process on Sudan and at the genesis of the mass movement that made Darfur a domestic policy issue in America.

Hamilton challenges her former academic mentor (and Pulitzer Prize-winning author) Samantha Power's assertion that a lack of domestic political will for involvement is the barrier to stopping genocide abroad by outlining the growth and influence of the Darfur mass movement and contrasting it with outcomes - or lack thereof - on the ground in Sudan.

For those who believe that building a movement is enough - or that every action has an equal and opposite reaction in the world of international politics - this book serves as a necessary deconstruction to those notions, while also providing advocates and policymakers alike with examples of what does and does not actually create real change on the ground.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Fighting for Darfur" chronicles the story of the Darfur advocacy movement from its inception to its rise as the one of the most powerful social movements of the previous decade. Hamilton uses her extraordinary access to everyone from former Secretary of State Colin Powell to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's chief advisers to supply insider accounts from the U.S. government, the U.N., the International Criminal Court, the Sudanese government, and advocacy organizations like Save Darfur and the Genocide Intervention Network.

"Fighting for Darfur" is much more than a blow-by-blow account of the movement, however. Throughout the book, Hamilton incisively analyzes the options available to both activists and those in power. It is often sobering. Activists who lacked even a basic knowledge of Sudan's history and politics consistently prioritized peacekeepers over creating conditions for a political settlement that would ensure peacekeepers could actually protect civilians. In the end, they got neither.

Although Samantha Power's "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide" posited that a domestic constituency for international human rights issues could ensure their peaceful resolution, Hamilton persuasively argues that although such a constituency is necessary for bringing such conflicts to the fore, they are insufficient in world where BRIC countries and others provide alternatives to American economic and political support.

As someone who participated in the movement, this book is a painful but necessary corrective to the often blithely self-celebratory narratives that activists of all kinds tell themselves, which all but preclude the possibility of effective action in the future.
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