27 July 2008

Emma's War

I enjoy reading historical works on modern times… with a touch of human drama…

Even though I lived in the 70s (for 4.5 months), the 80s and 90s… it seems the only thing I know about that time period… mainly from watching sitcoms… is that the U.S.S.R. and Iraq are evil and US is good…

I now live in Africa but I can’t even name all the countries on this continent… the capitals?

I don’t even try…

Reading books about the world I grew up in and never heard about from Tom Brokaw… or never paid attention to because I was waiting for the Dodger scores… now seems fascinating to me…

I recently read a book about a British relief worker who ended up marrying an African Warlord… this isn’t fiction… nor is it in line with Jane Austin’s writings…

In 1991 Emma McCune married Riek Machar, a lieutenant for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)… the southern Christian Sudan was at war against the northern Muslim Sudan… and some how oil, Chevron and Osama Lin Laden were involved too… mere months after marrying Emma… Riek Machar lead a rebellion against the leader of the SPLA John Garang that split the south… to many this split was known as “Emma’s War”…

The book was great… I won’t tell you who won… who died… or how the world responded…

If you would like to know you can read it yourself… Emma’s War by Deborah Scroggins…

What was interesting to me was the perspective on the humanitarian experiment in Africa… of the countless people who go to Africa dreaming that they might help but come back numb with disillusionment, yet forever marked…

Scroggins described Africa as a mirror in which westerners…caught in salvation fantasies… look into to see who they truly are…

Yeah… it isn’t a feel good story… but definitely thought provoking… and worth the read if you find yourself fascinated by Africa and interested in how you can help, save, fix or cure Africa… I found the book to be a mirror in which I could not look at without examining my own motives for being here… and also a mirror to see how Africa has changed me more than I might ever expect to change it…

So if you are looking for a summer read to fill you in on Sudan’s history in the late 80s and early 90s… look no further…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

learn all the countries (and capitals) in Africa at www.purposegames.com. It's easy and fun! Just search for "countries of Africa