This month’s discussion piece, “The Activist,” is a critical look at one of the most renowned scholars of the turmoil in Sudan. Alex de Waal, a man with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the different factions, aspects, and issues surrounding the conflicts in Sudan, is profiled under a careful eye. De Waal, a competent critic—as McDonell notes who “takes pride in his competence, and he does not hesitate to criticize activists he deems inexpert”— has built a career on a meticulously researched understanding of the conflict. He honed that reputation through careful action, critical thinking, and a critical voice for actors who do not hold the same academic and experiential pedigree; namely, activists.

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