Against a Tide of Evil:
How One Man Became the Whistleblower to the First Mass Murder of the Twenty-First Century
About the Author
Mukesh Kapila is a medical doctor, humanitarian expert and international aid diplomat. Currently a professor at Manchester University, he has experience in over 130 countries serving in senior positions in the British government and at the United Nations, World Health Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. His dealings with many dictators and despots across the world’s trouble spots have led him to focus on the prevention of genocide and the other most horrible crimes against humanity, as special representative of the Aegis Trust.
- Paperback: 298 pages
- Publisher: Pegasusbooks (November 29, 2013)
The personal angle makes it read like a real-life thriller. Once started, I could not lay it down as I could feel Kapila’s desparation and determination, identified with these feelings and admired him for it. This is one of the strongest components of the book.
However, this personal approach – in which Kapila provides almost exclusively his own perspective on the matter – also makes it difficult to envisage alternative perpectives or courses of actions in light of the decision-making dilemmas he was facing. It triggered my curiousity in gainining insight in the point of view of the counterparts at the UN he most notably criticizes (i.e. Kofi Annan). Why was Annan not more responsive to the plight of the people of Darfur? What constraints did he face?
I therefore think the book would have benefitted from a more balanced approach in terms of trying to understand the political context of the UN at the time, and the constraints, interests and perspectives of the actors in it. As good and sincere as Kapila’s intentions were (almost the exclusive justification for the decisions he took), as a reader interested in international relations I would have found it very interesting to read his reflections -perhaps in hindsight- on how he could have – if at all – better capitalized on his drivers within the UN and with an understanding of the constraints that the system poses.
Nevertheless, I can only recommend this book as it is touching, shocking, and insightful, and also motivating and encouraging in terms of contributing to conflict resolution. This is even more the case if you keep asking yourself what you would have done had you been in his position.