Thirty years ago Cambodia shocked me into realizing the brutal-ity of civil wars and their aftermath. At the time, I could only think of going there to help alleviate the trauma of the famine that followed. I now hold an entirely different perspective, one born of scholarly inquiry and more mellowed reasoning. But I still can’t shake the overarching conclusion that such levels of carnage are unwarranted and unnecessary, and that what we do matters. The images I saw then, of people ﬂeeing from war into camps or the countryside only to ﬁnd life precarious if not utterly bleak, I still see today in the Congo, Darfur, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. And I need look no further than the carnage in Iraq to say that today’s generation has its civil war. I started this book by asking what it would take to get you to take up arms against your government. I wanted you to think about how thin the line is that separates each of us from those people in the Congo or Sudan. On most dimensions, the Blacks of Darfur were just like you and me until resources started getting scarce, and until the competition for those resources began to get violent. We all strive to live life just as long and as fruitfully as we can, and this makes the person in Sudan not so very different from the person in New York. We learned long ago that the blood of a black man ﬂows effortlessly through the veins of a white one, and the heart of one works just as
well in the other. None of us anywhere in the world is completely immune from the trauma of civil war.