Me against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda: A Journalist Reports from the Battlefields of Africa

By Scott Peterson | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

Which are we: beasts because we make war, or angels because we so often seek to make it into something holy?

-Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites

There is a time and a place for everything “under the heavens, ” the Scriptures promise. And so for every foreign correspondent there is a first time for war. This was my first time, more than a decade ago in Africa, and I was nervous. Even by African standards, there were few more remote places than the Keren Front, lodged in the heart of Eritrea in northeast Africa, a moonscape laced with trenches that harkened back to the brutalities of World War I.

In the days before I had arrived, the Eritrean guerrillas- who had already been fighting for independence for a generation-had repulsed a major Ethiopian army offensive. There were said to be many enemy dead. Now I was on my way, though I had never seen a dead body in my life.

My journal records how I “grew more and more apprehensive as we neared the front.” I was afraid, and my last sleepless night was spent reading Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. I marveled again at its exquisite writing-“two pages long, ten light years deep, ” we used to joke in school-although there was little solace in the words: “'But man is not made for defeat, ' he said. 'A man can be destroyed, but not defeated.'” 1

We started marching to the front line at 4:30 am, before first light, but the time didn't matter to me. In my state of anxiety, I hadn't slept at all, nor did I feel the need. We had left at 1:30 am and had driven an impossible stony path with headlights shaded-the Eritreans made all their movements at night, to avoid bombing by Ethiopian planes. We arrived at the rear base, a cluster of underground bunkers that, inside, smelled of hard living.

Through my bleary eyes as dawn broke, the trail to the front took on a surreal quality. For one and one-half hours, we

-xi-

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Me against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan, and Rwanda: A Journalist Reports from the Battlefields of Africa
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Somalia 1a
  • Sudan 1g
  • Rwanda 1k
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Maps xxiii
  • Part I - Somalia 1
  • One - Laws of War 3
  • Two - "City of the Insane" 19
  • Three - A Land Forgotten by God 37
  • Four - “club Skinny-Dancers Wanted” 51
  • Five - “camp of the Murderers” 71
  • Six - The Fugitive 93
  • Seven - Bloody Monday 117
  • Eight - Mission Impossible 137
  • Nine - Back to Zero 157
  • Part II - Sudan 171
  • Ten - Divided by God 173
  • Eleven - War of the Cross 197
  • Twelve - The False Messiah 217
  • Thirteen - Darwin Deceived 229
  • Part III - Rwanda 245
  • Fourteen - A Holocaust 247
  • Fifteen - “dreadful Note of Preparation” 267
  • Sixteen - Genocide Denied 289
  • Seventeen - In Perpetuum 303
  • Epilogue 323
  • Notes 329
  • Index 351
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