My Friend the Mercenary
James Brabazon, My Friend the Mercenary: A Memoir, (New York: Grove Press), 2010.
In general, I am poorly educated about the many different political and physical conflicts in Africa. After paying relatively close attention to the Republic of South Africa in the 1970's and having my interest in and consciousness of Sudan raised during the first decade of this century, I have not invested much time in learning about what is going on on that continent. I discovered James Brabazon when doing a bit of research about war, violence and what attracts people to participate in war. That is a story he tells well in this memoir.
His experiences are not ones that anyone would want to repeat, or if they are, I don't understand that kind of thinking. The book is frightening and even a bit painful to read, but it gives an insight into a world that I do not know - perhaps one what I do not wish to know. It was a struggle for me to keep up with the story. I don't want people to be the way some of the folks he meets are. I don't want the world to be the way he discovers it to be. I don't want things to turn out the way that they have. it is, however, an accurate account of one man's experience, of the incredible cruelty of which we humans are capable and of the distance we have to go before anything resembling peace can be achieved.
Perhaps we have to read books like this one in order to avoid living lives like those described in the book.