SUDAN WATCH: Darfur's President Minnawi says 48 Darfur villages destroyed since May - Sudan's President Bashir lashes out at UN and NRF rebels

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Darfur's President Minnawi says 48 Darfur villages destroyed since May - Sudan's President Bashir lashes out at UN and NRF rebels

Are all janjaweed Arabs? Are all people from Darfur black Africans? I still don't get it. Maybe I'm a bit dim today. Aren't they all Sudanese? In 2003 there were Arabs living in Darfur, are any in IDP camps in Sudan and Chad? How can government forces tell who is Arab or African? Why can't the two get along together, is it a class distinction thing? Why does the media report Darfur as an Arab v African conflict? These questions sound naive. I live in England, far away from what's real in Africa.

Often I wonder about the millions of Sudanese people living and working in heavily populated areas like Khartoum and why they are so quiet about their own people fighting and killing each other in front of the world. Maybe tribal way of life is ingrained there, since the year dot. How can they let go of tribalism? How would sanctions help? Is Sudan governable? What do the people living there think?

The way I see it is this. Staging a rebellion seems a good ruse for lining many pockets with gold. Freedom fighters my foot. Non-uniformed people in Sudan carrying firearms are bandits, including Janjaweed. Arrest them all? No chance, nobody can - not even Khartoum+UN+NATO. I believe if Khartoum was capable of disarming the Janjaweed, it would have done so by now. The only thing that can change the situation is love, communication and political settlement. And the only people who can carry that out successfully are the Sudanese people themselves. Meanwhile they all deserve as much support as we can give. It'll take many years. Too many people in the wrong place. Things will get worse because drinking water shortage will get worse. In the end, water will be Sudan's greatest commodity - not oil. Thank goodness for all the peacemakers, aid workers and kind tax payers and donors outside of Sudan paying for it all.

Ordinary Sudanese folk don't speak out politically because of fear, I guess. Too risky, causes worry and trouble. The Sudanese government needs to embrace the Information Age as they're in it whether they like it or not. Hey Sudan, you are a beautiful country with great weather, art, scenery and friendly generous people but it's futile going against the flow. Open up and explain how your country and government works, ask Mr Bashir et al to get blogging! Tell us what life is really like for everyone Sudan!! Love your people, land, history and sunny weather! What did you all do today? Favourite spices and recipes for great national dishes? Do IDPs create art and pottery? Fabulous colour, fabrics and robes, where do they originate? Commerce must begin. Children must be educated. Law and order restored. Police trained. Roads built. Goods grown and taken to market. Drinking water must flow. Pumps and pipes to build. Training and employment created. Taxes to earn and pay. Surely communication is key. How would sanctions help? Sudan could become wealthy if it stepped into the modern world, educated itself in human rights and tourism and departed from its bygone era of primitive tribalism. Water is key to Sudan's future survival.

BBC report - Sudan's leader lashes out at UN - excerpt:
Sudan's president has accused the UN of making unreasonable demands on his government over Darfur and turning a blind eye to rebel activities there.

Earlier, UN chief Kofi Annan had said Omar al-Bashir's government had failed in its responsibility to protect its citizens in the war-torn region.

Mr Bashir said the rebel National Redemption Front, which rejects May's Darfur peace deal, was causing recent unrest.

Goal chief executive John O'Shea said they had no choice but to take the "difficult decision" after 13 aid workers had been killed in the past six months and several Goal vehicles hijacked.

"It is clear that the international community does not rate the lives of the 4 million in the region desperately in need of protection by the international community," he said.

The UN secretary general said on Thursday that the Sudanese government "may have to answer collectively and individually for what is happening in Darfur."

"I think we should be clear where the failure lies," he said.

But Mr Bashir, who rejects plans for a joint African Union (AU) and UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, dismissed such criticism.

"If there are any problems in Darfur, it is because of the activities of the National Redemption Front, which was formed after the Abuja agreement," Reuters news agency quotes him as saying at a press conference.

"This group is receiving huge support in terms of weapons, equipment and vehicles through the border [with Chad] and this has not been condemned."

Chad denies backing the Darfur rebels and in turn accuses Sudan of sending the Janjaweed across the border to destabilise Chad - charges denied by Sudan.

Earlier in the week former rebel leader Minni Minnawi - who joined the government after signing the peace deal in the Nigerian capital, Abuja - accused the Janjaweed of repeatedly violating the agreement.

He said the government was rearming the Janjaweed and 48 villages in Darfur had been destroyed since May.
Note, Irish aid agency GOAL has done a lot of work in Sudan. I'm surprised at the cheapshot by Goal chief executive John O'Shea: "It is clear that the international community does not rate the lives of the 4 million in the region desperately in need of protection by the international community," he said. Mr O'Shea is in the know of the situation in Sudan and for sure knows the situation is not that simplistic. But he is the head of an aid agency dependent on donors and byte sized news for maybe what he perceives as small brained tax payers. He must think we're too stupid to take in the truth - or be interested enough that we have to be thrown guilt, as if we were the criminals. What about the bandits carrying firearms in Darfur? Put the guilt on them NOT us! It is not our fault!

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