The Translator

The Translator

A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur

Book - 2008
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Random House, Inc.
I am the translator who has taken journalists into dangerous Darfur. It is my intention now to take you there in this book, if you have the courage to come with me.

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. As a child he saw colorful weddings, raced his camels across the desert, and played games in the moonlight after his work was done. In 2003, this traditional life was shattered when helicopter gunships appeared over Darfur’s villages, followed by Sudanese-government-backed militia groups attacking on horseback, raping and murdering citizens and burning villages. Ancient hatreds and greed for natural resources had collided, and the conflagration spread.

Though Hari’s village was attacked and destroyedhis family decimated and dispersed, he himself escaped. Roaming the battlefield deserts on camels, he and a group of his friends helped survivors find food, water, and the way to safety. When international aid groups and reporters arrived, Hari offered his services as a translator and guide. In doing so, 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.

Baker & Taylor
A young Zaghawa tribesman from the Darfur region of the Sudan describes his escape from the attack that destroyed his village, his struggle for survival, his role as a translator and the dangers he confronted, his ultimate capture, and his new life.

Book News
Hari is a Zaghawa tribesman who grew up in a village in the Darfur region of Sudan. When the most recent Darfur conflict erupted in 2003, Hari escaped to refugee camps in Chad, where he became a translator for major news organizations and aid groups, including the The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NBC, BBC, and the United Nations. Now a resident of Boston, he is one of only four Darfuris who has reportedly been granted refugee status in the U.S. in the past four years. His memoir offers general readers an inside look at the conflict in Darfur and will further increase global awareness about the ongoing atrocities in the Sudan. Included in the appendices are a primer on the history of the Darfur region and current situation, and the text of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. No subject index. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

A young Zaghawa tribesman from the Darfur region of the Sudan describes his escape from the attack that destroyed his village, his struggle for survival, role as a translator for international aid groups and journalists, the dangers he confronted in his role, his ultimate capture, and his new life, in an eyewitness account of the brutal genocide in the Sudan. 150,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400067442
Characteristics: xii, 204 p. ; 22 cm


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Nov 18, 2014

Having been to South Sudan several times I found this book extremely interesting. It is well written and held my attention throughout. Although there were some extremely horrific situations they were tempered by Daoud's indomitable spirit and he often made me smile with his little humorous thoughts/comments. I greatly admire Daoud as well as many of the friends he made during his time as a translator. I pray for peace and healing for his people. I encourage others to read/listen to the story. You will come away wiser for having done so. -- Debra R

Jan 02, 2013

Smooth read, very informative.

May 01, 2012

This book provides background to the horrible situation in Sudan. The translator is kidnapped with a journalist and driver, and eventually escapes to the US. He remains a human being.

Jun 16, 2010

Excellent book! A good way to get to understand the conflict in Sudan and Daoud Hari is an inspiring person.

Oct 09, 2008

avoid that place, poor guy

Jul 07, 2008

In 2003, the Sudanese government began systematically terrorizing, attacking and destroying rural villages in the Darfur region. Witnessing the slaughter of family and friends, Daoud Hari, a young Zaghawa tribesman, escaped across the western border to neighboring Chad. Well-educated by Sudanese standards and fluent in English, Arabic and Zaghawa, Hari then began his selfless work as a translator, sneaking international journalists back across the border into Sudan, all of them risking their lives in order to document the genocidal war in Darfur.

Hari's experiences are told in gentle, simple prose, like that of a favorite storyteller. His story is horrific, heartbreaking and inspiring.

May 27, 2008

Daoud Hari belongs to the Zaghawa tribe from Darfur (Sudan). After his village was destroyed by the Sudan military and rebels he escaped to a refuge camp in Chad. There he put his limited English and fluent Arabic and Zaghawa to work, risking his life to act as a translator for journalists and aid groups from all over the world wanting to interview people still alive in villages in Darfur.
A very thought provoking, very readable, eyewitness account about a disturbing current event.


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