February 2013

Out of Exile

Craig Walzer, compiler, Out of Exile: Narratives from the Abducted and Displaced People of Sudan (San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books, 2009).

Walzer - Out of Exile
This project may be the beginning of the Voices of Witness project for McSweeneys. At least telling the narratives of the people of Sudan has been a high priority for the publishing house for a long time. I’m not sure why it took me six years from the publication of the book to get around to reading it, but I should not have delayed. As is true with other voices of witness books that I have read, there is no substitute for people telling their own stories in their own words. This book also indicates where translation has been employed and where the individual was interviewed. It is a very valuable tool in understanding the situation in Sudan and the people whose lives are so deeply affected by violence and injustice. It is enough to make one question the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Certainly there is more we might do to provide for relief for the victims of such situations.

Decades of conflict and persecution have produced some poignant stories. But they have also produced some genuine heroes and some very resilient people. I am grateful that I got to read their stories.