SUDAN WATCH: New York Times supplement on Sudan - U.S. military base in South Sudan is beneficial?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New York Times supplement on Sudan - U.S. military base in South Sudan is beneficial?

Today, a Sudan Watch reader emailed me a link to comments at a blog entry expressing outrage over a special advertising supplement published by the New York Times on March 20, 2006. The supplement featured Sudan and was paid for by the Sudanese government.

When I'd first read about the supplement a few days ago, my reaction was: how enterprising, international donors have pledged 4.5 billion US dollars to help develop South Sudan where peace has been achieved after more than 22 years of civil war costing two million lives. Sudan is up to its eyeballs in debt, its people need all the help and business they can get.

Sudan is the size of Europe. In many parts of war-torn southern Sudan there is nothing. Infrastructure needs to be built from scratch to provide millions of people with drinking water, schools, hospitals, roads, telecoms, education, training, skills and many other things we in the West take for granted.

NYT advertising supplement

Photo: NYT supplement courtesy Blogs of Zion

Sudan is a beautiful country, full of warm, friendly, hospitable people. It has a lot going for it. Westerners can provide some of the best help, enterprise, investment and expertise available anywhere in the world. International visitors and investors accustomed to Western standards will also need to be catered to and accommodated.

If you were responsible for a country the size of Europe and were about to receive 4.5 billion US dollars in development funding, wouldn't you engage PR agents and advertise in a leading international newspaper to attract business, investors, enterprise and expertise? I know I would. You'd be daft not to.

Don't you think Western companies should be encouraged to do business in the Sudan? I do. If British Petroleum had been in the Sudan in a big way over the past two years, they would have been in a position to be cajoled into helping the locals in Darfur and might have had leverage with the UN Security Council when it came to requesting well trained police forces to protect the defenceless women and children of Darfur.

Summit Communication's 8-page ad in NYT

Summit Communications has posted the 8 page advertisement it placed in the New York Times last week on its website - click into Coalition for Darfur for the PDF version and three other links leading to more information on the advert.
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U.S. base in south Sudan is beneficial - A comment

Further to Sudan Watch entry 1 Mar 2006 entitled New website Sudan Vision says "US military base in south Sudan, how pitiable, here is a copy of a comment by E. Agustino, a south Sudanese living in London, England, published at Sudan Vision sometime during the past month:

First of all, we southerners have suffered a lot under colonial imperialism then followed by Arab imperialism over us which is not much different from the colonial one. The reason for this being that we black Sudanese have always been perceived as inferior and lacking a viable thinking capacity and self confidence to achieve or challenge any other human being. So, Arabs have always looked down on southern Sudanese and other blacks. Whites also have the same or had the same view of us the original Sudanese or Africans in general as less capable human and unable to think on our own or achieve on our own, and we blacks always miss to think carefully about our future and putting in respect our interest for the present and future.

I want to say that we south Sudanese have been disadvantaged by history in a way that gave Arabs who invaded our land an upper hand in our own country and also an upper hand in the say of what our future should look like for us. When south Sudan first united with north Sudan, we southerners where clever and intelligent people but we never had the advance skills and requirements to understand the modern day political organization and how the world was changing into a place where only the strongest survives. When British left there were more educated northerners than southerners so this gave them advantage over us and Arabs took advantage of our politeness to take control over us.

We southerners wanted to have a peaceful, just and equal nation in which both the Arabs and the Africans can live and be happy with one another. We looked at the interest of Sudan government composed of two different races and religion but we forgot to look first at ourselves who are we, what are we looking for, and what we want in life for us and our people, our family, our village, our nation and our continent us blacks or African. We forgot our interests. Arab on the other hand was thinking the other way around. They wanted to control blacks and be the leaders and superiors. They wanted to promote and serve the interest of their race and their religion first and above all. The Arabs never even cared about south Sudanese or Africans. So to make a long story short we African Sudanese have always ignored our interest and failed to think about things from our own point of view. We always do or did things to please Arabs and that is how Arabs took advantage over us. They studied us southerners and know our weakness. That is, trusting and being polite to others and never put our interest first above all.

Now, going back to the American willingness to open military bases in south Sudan, I would like to say from our history and what we have been through it would be a big advantage for us southerners to have an American base on our land. It would help to inspire us and help us to accrue a lot from their ways and by that I mean the military tradition and the will to be on top of the world and not always at the bottom.

American base would shield us south Sudanese from our enemies, since all our enemies are strong and well established and would not hesitate to force their will on us. American would help to train our military and give us the confidence that we need to build our own nation to be like any other top nation in this world. American military base would be like a guide for us as we grow and build our capacity to government ourselves and develop our nation in the face of our enemies. I am not saying south Sudan should trust Americans 100% and give them access to everything in south Sudan, but I am mentioning the fact that we as a young growing nation would need a strong and powerful nation to be on our side. Otherwise, the road for us will not be easy, so back to my first paragraph, we south Sudanese needs to start thinking about our interests, what will serve us and be of advantage to us and not what will help Sudan unity, because millions of southerners perished under the name of united Sudan and the Arabs would not hesitate to oppress us again to control us if we make another foolish move to trust them again.

Now about the interest of the United States in south Sudan, of course, US will have interests as well. They want to secure their interest in the world and so we southerners want to secure our interests as well. We can have an equal deal since Americans are not going to take south Sudan's oil by force or without paying money. Therefore, Americans wants to secure south Sudan's oil for themselves. They don't want China or India or Arabia to take the oil from them. As south Sudanese, we want money to rebuild our country and develop our people, protect our interest both present and for the future, so we can let America have the oil and give us the money. We might also request to supply our army with technology since America is a leading nation in the world. It would be no difference if America entered south Sudan to protect the oil fields and to take the oil, as long as they pay for it and help south Sudan develops. We can have a fair deal with them.

At the moment, China is taking our oil and Chinese are reported to have military advisers and security advisors working with Arabs in Sudan to take our oil. They have been reported to be selling secret weapons to Khartoum government and backing the Arab government in the UN Security Council. Hence, if Arabs can make deals with China and India and others to serve their interest, why can't we south Sudanese make our own deal with other countries like America?

Are we southerners lacking self-confidence and feels inferior or are we less ambitious than other people? You have to think about these questions. South Sudanese have to start having self confidence and start thinking like any other advanced country and be ambitious and strong. America has military bases in German, Japan, South Korea and Italy. If you look and study these countries carefully, you will realize they are US allies and are at the same time the world's most advanced countries and well secured and stable. If American bases were a curst to these countries, they wouldn't have been what they are today. Don't forget America even though we will say is a white man's country, its one of the few countries in reality that stood with south Sudan in the struggle. They might have their interests but they helped us to reach our goals and are still standing with us, so give credit where it's worth. Americans are our Allies, not enemies.

Let us support American military bases in south Sudan to serve the interests of both nations and people to promote freedom and democracy in the world.

Other Comments

American base in south Sudan brings stability - by Okelo Okembia

US base guards southerners from the beast - Arab North - by Isaac

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