Dauod Hari har vært tolk i Darfur for hjelpearbeidere og journalister, og har sett så mye at myndighetene vil ha ham drept. Han er kommet til Paris. Om noen dager foreligger boken The Translator, en av de første øyenvitneskildringene fra Darfur. Dauod er en innfødt, han kan fortelle innsiden og derfor står selvsagt Khartoum ham etter livet.

Faren la merke til Dauods intelligens og sendte ham på skole i nærmeste by. Han oppdaget Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre og Treasure Island, forberedelser til hans tid som oversetter.

The book offers a poignant glimpse of Hari’s village before the killing began, when Arabs and nonArabs coexisted peacefully in a time of colourful weddings, camel races and children’s games in the moonlight.

That world was obliterated by bullets and rocket fire when Arab nomad horsemen allied to the government – the so-called janjaweed militias – destroyed the village and scores like it, killing Ahmed and several other family members in 2003.

Hari roamed the desert with a group of friends, trying to help others escape to Chad. He saw places where the sands were littered with human bones, some «still wearing their clothes and leathery skin». He found three small children dead under a tree.

Their mother had hanged herself from a branch with her shawl. «We took her down, gently, and buried her alongside her children,» said Hari. «The moment has haunted my memory every day since then.»

He met a man deranged by grief. A soldier had bayoneted his four-year-old daughter for sport. The devastated father told Hari: «He [the soldier] was all red with the blood of my little girl and was dancing. What was he – a human being? A demon?»

Hari began to work as a guide for journalists and his help in publicising the killing in newspapers made him one of the most wanted men in Sudan, whose leaders have largely kept the press out of Darfur.

Tribesman tells of risks he took as a translator in Darfur