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Saviors and survivors lays the foundation for a welcome interrogation of the identity, motivations and actions of members of the United States’ Save Darfur Coalition, the self­styled ‘saviours’ of the book’s title. Mahmood Mamdani argues that America’s domestic determination to define and intervene in the supposed Darfur genocide is based not on knowledge, but rather on historically unfounded assumptions reproduced and solidified in light of contemporary geopolitics. More contro­versially perhaps, Mamdani suggests that a failure to understand the complexities of the conflict ‘has turned the movement to Save Darfur into the humanitarian face of the War on Terror’ (p. 6). Nonetheless, Mamdani rightly demands the historical contextualization of the conflict, dedicating five of eight chapters to tracing the pre­colonial, colonial and post­colonial development of Darfuri land and tribal politics, and noting the extent to which contemporary violence is a continuation of long­standing struggles over access to and use of land.

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Book review


Blackwell Publishers Ltd / The Royal Institute of International Affairs

Publication Date



85 (6)


1282 - 1283