This podcast is usually devoted to book written about the past. The authors may be historians, or political scientists, or anthropologists, or even a...

This podcast is usually devoted to book written about the past. The authors may be historians, or political scientists, or anthropologists, or even a member of the human rights community. But we’re almost always talking about a mass atrocity that took place ‘before.’

Sam Totten‘s new book Sudan’s Nuba Mountains People Under Siege: Accounts by Humanitarians in the Battle Zone (McFarland, 2017) is different. The book is a compilation of first hand accounts of people currently working in a crisis area. Some of are doctors, some journalists, some aid workers. Their contributions to the book are intensely personal, recounting experiences caring for the sick, communicating the truth, or simply trying to deliver food amidst the scorching heat and poor roads of the Nuba Mountains. Many are harrowing to read. All inspire a profound respect.

But collectively they raise interesting questions. What does it mean to study genocide while being an activist? How can activists raise the visibility of conflicts in far-away places. What level of response elevates one above the level of a ‘bystander?’ Is everyone called to risk life and limb? Or is it enough to speak for the living and the dead? And who gets to decide?

Sam will be continuing his efforts to deliver food to the Nuba. If you would like to learn more about the project or about how you can help, you can e-mail him [email protected].


Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University. He’s the author of four modules in the Reacting to the Past series, including The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994.

 

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial