SUDAN WATCH: Darfuris recall ending disputes at Ramadan banquets - Saudi Arabia launches iftar program for Darfur

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Darfuris recall ending disputes at Ramadan banquets - Saudi Arabia launches iftar program for Darfur

Wouldn't it be great if all the warring parties in Sudan could settle down to their disputes peacefully at collective itfar banquets?

Many Darfuris have marked Ramadan this year recalling how the holy month acted as a chance for warring parties to settle down their disputes peacefully at collective iftar banquets.

Local inhabitants have waited for collective iftar banquets to break their daylong fast also creating a conductive atmosphere for ending hostilities in the turbulent western Sudanese region.

“Collective Iftar banquets make up the old tradition of defusing tribal tension at table, especially between shepherds and farmers (clashing over green pastures),” said Issa Jales, leader of the African Bergid tribes - the largest in Darfur.

Jales told how the 30 days of the holy month were exploited to bury the hatchet whatever complex it was, not to mention paying blood money for killing crimes to end a tribal feud that could have taken a long time to end.

“These iftar meeting had been always capped with sealing reconciliation deals, after which the two sides put their disputes behind their backs and went to Tarawih prayers altogether,” he added.

Jales said the house of the tribe chief has witnessed a buzz of activity by these meetings. He said ending disputes at Ramadan has become part of what he calls happy old days.

The tribe chief said the foreign interference into the situation in Darfur turned things more complex that tribal disputes could not be longer settled on an iftar meal.

He accused the Darfur rebels, emboldened by the foreign intervention into the crisis, of having a far-fetched complex agenda.

“Ramadan has given the hope for convincing rebels in Darfur to lay down weapons and sit for talks with the Khartoum government. Now things slipped out of control following the foreign intervention,” said Jales, a former security official for 35 years.

[Note, the report states "Darfur is known for having large potential reserves of oil and other natural resources."]
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Saudi Arabia launches iftar program for Darfur

Saudi Arabia has launched a project to provide iftar [breakfast] for the displaced population in camps in Darfur. A cargo plane left Riyadh on October 14 carrying 60,000 food baskets for this purpose.

Nice idea but what about the 200,000 Sudanese refugees sitting helplessly in camps in Chad? 10,000 a month are dying in camps. 1.5 million are reported as being displaced. Why is Saudi Arabia not more generous, does anybody know?


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