Excerpt from Not on Our Watch by Don Cheadle, John Prendergast, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Not on Our Watch

The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond

By Don Cheadle, John Prendergast

Not on Our Watch
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback: May 2007,
    192 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Before the genocide, Darfur was one of the poorest regions of Sudan, and the Saharan climate made eking out a living an extreme challenge. But these difficulties only made Darfurians hardier and more self-reliant, mixing farming and livestock rearing in a complex strategy of survival that involved migration, intercommunal trade, and resource sharing.

It had been over a year since the genocide began, so Samantha and I expected certain evidence of mass destruction. And we were indeed witness to burned villages where livestock, homes, and grain stocks had been utterly destroyed, confirming stories we had heard from Darfurians at refugee camps in Chad.

Yet no amount of time in Sudan or work on genocide ever prepares anyone sufficiently for what Samantha and I saw in a ravine deep in the Darfur desert—bodies of nearly two dozen young men lined up in ditches, eerily preserved by the 130-degree desert heat. One month before, they had been civilians, forced to walk up a hill to be executed by Sudanese government forces. Harrowingly, this scene was repeated throughout the targeted areas of Darfur.

We heard more refugees in Chad describe family and friends being stuffed into wells by the Janjaweed in a twisted and successful attempt to poison the water supply. When we searched for these wells in Darfur, we found them in the exact locations described. The only difference was now these wells were covered in sand in an effort to cover the perpetrators’ bloody tracks. With each subsequent trip to Darfur, I have found the sands of the Saharan Desert slowly swallowing more of the evidence of the twenty-first century’s first genocide.

To us, Darfur has been Rwanda in slow motion. Perhaps 400,000 have died during three and a half years of slaughter, over two and a quarter million have been rendered homeless, and, in a particularly gruesome subplot, thousands of women have been systematically raped. During 2006, the genocide began to metastasize, spreading across the border into Chad, where Chadian villagers (and Darfurian refugees) have been butchered and even more women raped by marauding militias supported by the Sudanese government.

Sadly, the international response has also unfolded in slow motion. With crimes against humanity like the genocide in Darfur, the caring world is inevitably in a deadly race with time to save and protect as many lives as possible. In the fall of 2004, after his visit to Sudan, Secretary Powell officially invoked the term “genocide.”* He was followed shortly thereafter by President Bush.* This represented the first time an ongoing genocide was called its rightful name by a sitting U.S. president. And yet in Darfur, as in most of these crises, the international community, including the United States, responded principally by calling for cease-fires and sending humanitarian aid. These are important gestures to be sure, but they do not stop the killing.

We believe it is our collective responsibility to re-sanctify the sacred post-Holocaust phrase “Never Again”—to make it something meaningful and vital. Not just for the genocide that is unfolding today in Darfur, but also for the next attempted genocide or cases of mass atrocities.

And there are other cases, to be sure.

Right now, we need to do all we can for the people of northern Uganda, of Somalia, and of Congo. Though genocide is not being perpetrated in these countries, horrible abuses of human rights are occurring, in some ways comparable to those in Darfur. Militias are targeting civilians, rape is used as a tool of war, and life-saving aid is obstructed or stolen by warring parties. Furthermore, by the time you pick up this book, another part of the world could have caught on fire, and crimes against humanity may be being perpetrated. We need to do all we can to organize ourselves to uphold international human rights law and to prevent these most heinous crimes from ever occurring.

Excerpted from NOT ON OUR WATCH by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast. Copyright 2007 Don Cheadle and John Prendergast. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.