Book advice and internet links

  • post Type / Young Humanists International
  • Date / 26 July 2008

Waris Dirie “Desertflower”

By age 6, Waris Dirie was herding her family’s sheep and goats, fending off hyenas and wild dogs as the family carved a path through Africa. She was just twice that age when she ran off into the vast furnace of the Somali desert to escape an arranged marriage to a much older man.

Travelling for days without food and water, she made her way to Mogadishu and later to London as a servant to her uncle, the Somalian ambassador. There she wrestled with culture shock and got her first taste of the modelling life that eventually brought her into the public eye. Dirie is resilient, having survived drought, hunger, and the ritual female genital mutilation that marks a step toward womanhood among some traditional Moslems but, argue critics, steals or ruins many girls’ lives. “As we travelled throughout Somalia,” says Dirie, “we met families and I played with their daughters.

When we visited them again, the girls were missing. No one spoke the truth about their absence or even spoke of them at all.” As a special ambassador to the United Nations, Dirie has spoken out loudly on this subject and championed environmental causes, too. How much of her sometimes breathless story is gospel truth and how much embellished is hard to say. Like Dirie herself, though, the combination is intriguing, powerful, and unique. Francesca Coltrera

Village Voice
“Succeeds not just as a polemic against [female genital mutilation] and its attendant horrors, but as a classic chronicle of immigrant hardship and triumph.”

Dr. Nafis Sadik, executive director, United Nations Population Fund
“Waris Dirie is a remarkable and courageous person. Her story is an inspiration. Not only did Waris overcome obstacles that would defeat most people, but as UNFPA Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation, she will serve as a leader in the struggle to end all forms of discrimination against women.”

Elton John
“Waris’s story is one of remarkable courage. From the deserts of
Somalia to the world of high fashion, she battles against oppression and emerges a real champion. She is the most beautiful inspiration to anyone.”

Publishers Weekly
“A striking account of a personal odyssey.”

Desert Flower will be published simultaneously in eleven languages throughout the world and is currently being produced as a feature film by Rocket Pictures UK.

About the Author
Waris Dirie ran away from her oppressive life in the African desert when she was barely in her teens, illiterate and impoverished, with nothing to her name but a tattered shawl. Today she lives in New York City, pursuing an extraordinary dual career as a supermodel whose face is internationally familiar and a United Nations special ambassador who travels the world as an articulate and passionate advocate of human rights–and now, in this insightful and important book, she offers an irresistible first-person account of her dramatic and inspiring odyssey. Cathleen Miller wrote Desert Flower after recording over one hundred hours of interviews with co-author Waris Dirie. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Washington Post, the San Francisco Examiner, The Times-Picayune, the Denver Post, The Cimarron Review, Old House Journal, and the anthology, Travelers’ Tales San Francisco. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Nonfiction at Penn State, where she taught writing for three years. She lives in Napa, California with her husband. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0688172377/ref=dp_proddesc_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books Internet websites: * http://www.atheistnexus.org/ We are a social network for atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and others worldwide who have a naturalistic worldview. * http://www.infidels.org

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