Survey III, Linskens, Per 8
Luck in the Desert
Tears of the Desert is an incredible real life tale documenting the gruesome experiences of which the black African inhabitants of Darfur, Sudan suffer through. From the events witnessed, experienced, and recorded by the author and main character, Halima Bashir, we see the world through the eyes of a Zaghawa survivor of the most nightmarish terrors imaginable. Though Bashir was pushed to the brink of death, and her life has been filled to the brim with obstacles and adversity, she proves herself time and time again to be an extremely lucky individual.
From early on in her youth, Bashir noticed the discrepancy in wealth between other families of her village and her own. She comments on the wealth possessed by her father, Abdul, by noting the quantity of animals he owned, a status symbol in her culture. "My father was a relatively rich man in our village, as he owned many cattle, sheep, and goats, and dozens of prized camels." (Bashir 6). His fortune enabled the Bashir family to live with a cushion of comfort their neighbors would be without. As Bashir's father was blessed with good fortune, he was also capable of financing her desire to attend school in far-away Hashma. None but she had such luxuries, not even her best friend Kadiga. "Like most families in our village, Kadiga's parents couldn't afford to send her away to the big school." (Bashir 60). The financial stability of the Bashir family, along with the splendor of city schooling, put the author one step further than any of the members of her village.
A venture such as this is laughable in the Zaghawa culture, however, due to the social norms and the gender roles played by women. Women of Bashir's culture were often asked to be married at a very young age. A cousin of Bashir's asked her father for her hand, only to be promptly denied. Angered and greatly insulted, his family responded to Abdul with their idea of a stereotypical...