Jebel Marra By Michelle Green
In 2005, the poet Michelle Green spent six months working for a humanitarian aid agency in West Darfur. Her job was to navigate a complex web of government regulations and domestic logistics so that her colleagues, Sudanese and international, could do their jobs with minimal bureaucratic friction. Upon returning to the UK, she encountered in newspapers and television the familiar portraits of distant war: the refugee with the empty bowl, the anonymous soldier, the heroic aid worker and so on, usually with little context or complication. Inevitably, these incomplete images were soon gone from the front pages. This collection of short stories explores some of the complexities of the ongoing war in Darfur, and draws upon some of Green's own experiences as witness as well as her subsequent research. Though the stories are fictional, they are all rooted in a particular time and place, and informed by the day-to-day realities of life in a time of chaos and horror. They are stories of local traders, aid workers, soldiers, politicians, parents and children all living in the middle of what was called by the UN, way back in 2004, the world's worst humanitarian crisis .