Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pope says world must do more to end Darfur "horror"

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said last week that killing and rape in Darfur had increased in September and October and the region was descending into complete lawlessness.

Darfur is slipping yet deeper into catastrophe before the very eyes of an unmoved international community, writes Eric Reeves Nov 20, 2005.

Darfur ablaze

Pope Benedict XVI said Monday "stronger international resolve" is needed to halt the bloodshed in Darfur.

"The horror of events unfolding in Darfur, to which my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II referred on many occasions, points to the need for a stronger international resolve to ensure security and basic human rights," Benedict XVI said.

Pope says world must do more to end Darfur

Photo: Pope Benedict XVI

Click here to read the text of the speech of the Pope before the Sudanese delegation.
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Darfur rebel group 'attacks' town to earn spot in peace talks

According to the BBC, the Darfur rebels are 'united' for talks due to start in Nigeria's capital Abuja on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a Darfur rebel faction said it attacked a town in West Darfur state on Tuesday, killing 37 soldier and police, to push for its inclusion in peace talks.
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A Tolerable Genocide

Published: November 27, 2005

After two years of heartbreaking slaughter, rape and mayhem, the situation in Darfur is now spiraling downward.

To continue reading this article, click here [with thanks to Eric]
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Darfur: The New Rwanda

Published on 11/29/2005

The New York Times published this editorial on Monday, Nov. 28:

Who says George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have nothing in common? Just as President Clinton did on Rwanda, President Bush is doing precious little to try to stop a genocide in Darfur. Indeed, this entire generation of world leaders has a dismal record at intervening in this kind of wholesale murder, and now they are failing to stop the elimination of entire African tribes in the Sudan countryside.

Obviously, most of the blame here can be laid squarely at the door of Sudan's government. Sudan has armed and supplied the militia groups who have been going from village to village, hut to hut, and systematically raping and murdering women, men and even children.

The Times columnist Nicholas Kristof reports that last month, members of the janjaweed militia attacked the village of Tama in southern Darfur, killing 37 people, with another 12 still missing.

In one particularly gruesome case, the marauders yanked 2-year old Zahra Abdullah from the back of her mother, Fatima Omar Adam, as Fatima tried to escape with her children. They bludgeoned the little girl on the ground in front of her screaming mother and sister. Fatima eventually escaped with two of her children, but was forced to leave Zahra to die at the hands of the janjaweed.

In another column, Kristof wrote that Arab men in military uniforms gang-raped Noura Moussa, saying, "We cannot let black people live in this land." Noura said the men called her a slave and added, "We can kill any members of African tribes."

The shocking fact is, apparently they can. The Sudanese government is enabling them, and the rest of the world isn't doing much to stop it. It's the same old Rwanda story, with the same indifference from the world's governments. TheDay.com 29 Nov. 2005.
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Help Organize a Peace Envoy (H.O.P.E.) for Darfur

Human Rights First are campaigning to appoint a prominent envoy to reenergize the diplomatic process in Darfur. They say there is an urgent need to bring an end to the human rights emergency in Darfur.
"In the last two months the security situation has deteriorated dramatically. United Nations personnel have withdrawn from parts of the region because of increased violence, the humanitarian relief work of international nongovernmental organizations has been greatly restricted, and the civilian toll is again climbing."
The appointment of a high-level envoy will be a visible symbol of renewed political and diplomatic will to resolve the Darfur crisis. Read more at TPMCafe - Finding the political will. [with thanks to Eric at Passion of the Present]
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Note, in above article, Simon Deng, a Sudanese activist living in the U.S., quite rightly asks:

"Tell me why we have Milosevic and Saddam Hussein on trial for their crimes, but we do nothing in Sudan. When it comes to black people being slaughtered, do we look the other way?"
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And today, in response to comments at the weblog of Lord Soley of Hammersmith, I wrote this:
"Darfur is Rwanda in slow motion. The hand wringing began 19 months ago, when the death toll was at 10,000, and I bored everyone here about it. To date, more than 400,000 Darfuris have perished, half the number of Rwanda. There is still no news of what became of the five point plan Tony Blair personally delivered to Khartoum. Look at tv news and note how all the trouble in the world boils down to boys with their toys and the games they play. Men around the world really do not care about the suffering of millions of defenceless African women and children or about rape being used as a weapon of war. Not a lot of Africans are interested either. It is so sickening to witness, I have had to take a break from blogging Darfur because I am at a loss as to what to do or say about it anymore."
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Note, Tony Blair visited Khartoum 6 October 2004 to deliver a five point plan and called for a peace agreement to cover the WHOLE of Sudan by the end of 2004.

And so it goes on ... while the West pays for 200,000 Darfuris to be imprisoned in camps in Chad, not to mention the millions of others displaced in Darfur and dependent on aid.

Why wait on Darfur being included in a peace agreement covering the whole of Sudan? The UN Security Council could authorise cutting off Sudan's oil exports at Port Sudan. Of course, it won't happen, not while the regime in Khartoum makes itself useful to the West by rounding up extremist suspects - maybe even in connection with OBL, thus avoiding sanctions and prosecution by the ICC - which is why this blog is probably a complete waste of time.

Further reading from Sudan Watch archives:

Oct 11 2005 U.S.: Bolton blocks UN briefing on atrocities in Darfur Sudan

Oct 3 2005 Message to Sudan: What happened to Tony Blair's 5-point plan?

Aug 23 2005 U.S. has to lift sanctions against Sudan - U.S. ready to cooperate with Sudan

June 20 2005 Al-Qaeda said angry at Sudan for passing data to U.S.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

CIA met Gaddafi - Sudan rounded up extremist suspects for questioning by CIA

Khaleej Times 20 Nov 2005 reports Deputy Director of CIA, Vice-Admiral Albert M. Calland III, visited Tripoli this month for secret meetings with top Lybian officials including Muammar Gaddafi. Note, the report says:
"In April, the CIA sent a plane to Khartoum to bring Maj. Gen. Salah Abdallah Gosh, Sudan's intelligence chief, to the U.S. for meetings at the agency's headquarters.

Sudan, accused by the Bush administration of conducting genocide in the Darfur region, has rounded up extremist suspects for questioning by the CIA and detained foreign militants transiting through the country on their way to join Iraqi insurgents."
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Dallaire in Darfur - 85 killed, 10,000 flee

Dallaire in Darfur

Former UN commander during the Rwanda genocide, Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, looks on as Africa Union armoured vehicles deploy in Sudan's Darfur region town of el-Fasher, November 18, 2005.

Armoured vehicles began arriving in Darfur on Friday, a move officials said would significantly improve the capabilities of African Union forces trying to cope with spiralling violence as infighting amongst rebels and Arab militias in the past week claimed up to 85 lives and forced 10,000 people from their homes in many parts of the vast region the size of France, a U.N. report said. Picture taken November 18, 2005. Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Darfur sliding into anarchy says UN - Darfur death toll 400,000 - ICC has 51 Darfur war criminals on its list

To date, 400,000 people have died from all causes in Darfur. This is roughly half the total of deaths in Rwanda.

On 5 November 2005, the Scotsman noted once again that Darfur has deteriorated back into a state of anarchy and bloodshed, hampering humanitarian work, according to senior United Nations officials. Excerpt:
"Thousands of people have arrived at the region's sprawling aid camps after rebels and government-backed Janjaweed militia stepped up attacks during the past six weeks.

And the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) is warning that November's harvest will be disrupted if the violence continues."
Regular readers here at Sudan Watch may recall the afternoon of 7 April 2005 when International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Deputy Prosecutor (investigations) Serge Brammertz, Deputy Prosecutor (prosecutions) Fatou Bensouda and Chef de Cabinet Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi in a meeting at the site of the ICC opened a sealed list of 51 individuals named by the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry as suspects of grave international crimes in Darfur.

Surely, to keep fear of war crimes trials real and effective, it really is necessary to prosecute these people along with the Tojos, Milosovichs, and Saddams of this world. See why, in this post by Curzon at ComingAnarchy.com and be sure to read the 26 comments:

"In yesterday's war crimes post (thanks for so many great comments), I suggested that war crimes tribunals could be counterproductive to ending war:

The threat of war crimes trials could even encourage violence, or a stubborn refusal to surrender, if the leaders know they will be tried, executed, and relegated to perpetual historical infamy if they lose.

The film Hotel Rwanda suggests otherwise, at least in regard to the boots on the ground in control of the situation. See the abridged clip here:

Hotel Rwanda

In the scene, hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina is in the process of bribing a general and must return to his hotel to be with his family and more than 1,200 refugees he is hiding. The general is reluctant - he wants to get to his headquarters and hide until the chaos dies down. He's neither a war criminal nor a hero, just a military man in a position of power who doesn't want to stick his neck out.

Rusesabagina hands the last of his whiskey to bribe the general, only to see him have second thoughts. Let's just go to my headquarters, he says. Rusesabagina has nothing left to bargain with and is at the mercy of this general. Desperate, he tells him the only thing that will scare him into action:

You are a marked man, sir... You are on a list. The Americans have you on their list as a war criminal... Are you stupid, General? How do you think these people operate? You sit here with five stars on your chest. Who do you think they are coming after?

The threatened general is a cosmopolitan man who enjoys real malt whiskey, European travel, and golf on the highlands of Scotland. The threat of war crimes prosecution genuinely terrified him, and helped keep Rusesabagina alive, along with his family and more than a thousand refugees.

To keep that fear real and effective, perhaps it really is necessary to prosecute the Tojos, Milosovichs, and Saddams of this world."

Further reading

Haris Aziz posts review of talk on the London Bombings: An Islamic Perspective, 19 October 2005 Warwick University, UK - excerpt:

"... in Islam, no Muslim is allowed to take the law in his own hands. Even in the case of a murder, the murderer has to go through a trial. Indiscriminate killing to make a political statement is then the exact anti-thesis of Islam. Aided by supporting references in the Holy Quran and Sunnah (example of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him), he explained that suicide is forbidden in Islam. He then questioned that how the last action of a true Muslim can be one which is most abhorred by God Almighty.

The theme was on the moderate nature of Islam. He stressed that Islam is the middle path and the Quran designates Muslims as the ummatan wasata - the middle community. Any form of extremism is to be utterly and completely rejected. He also pointed out that anger is forbidden in Islam."

Geek of All Trades says civil war is anything but.
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Upgrading of Sudan's slavery watch status angers activists

The State Department, headed by Rice, has upgraded Sudan's slavery watch status from Tier 3 to Tier 2, meaning the problems with enslavement in the country will be monitored on the same scale as Switzerland, Israel, Chile, Hungary and Greece. The upgrading came as a result of the nation's promise to end aspects of slavery, according to a Sept. 21 State Department memorandum explaining the president's determination. [via whatsakyer? with thanks]

The Secret Darfur Genocide Archive - Sudan 'Ceasefire' CD: Emmanuel Jal, Abdel Gadir Salim

Inspiration for the 'Ceasefire' title of a newly released CD came when Emmanuel Jal, a rapper from south Sudan (one of two Sudanese artists featured on the CD) sang at the signing of Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement on January 9, 2005.

Click here to read an informative review by British blogger Simon at Under The Green Hill blog.

Ceasefire CD
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New York Times
The Secret Genocide Archive
February 23, 2005 - excerpt:
This child had his face bashed in, presumably with a rifle butt, during a massacre in Hamada in January 2005.

Darfur:  The Secret Genocide Archive

The photo above was taken in the village of Hamada on Jan. 15, 2005 right after a Sudanese government-backed militia, the janjaweed, attacked it and killed 107 people. One of them was this little boy.

Kristof writes: "I'm not showing the photo of his older brother, about 5 years old, who lay beside him because the brother had been beaten so badly that nothing was left of his face. And alongside the two boys was the corpse of their mother."

The Secret Darfur Genocide Archive

Photo: This man was castrated and then shot in the head. This is a common fate of male prisoners taken by the Janjaweed.

Darfur:  The Secret Genocide Archive

Photo: Here's Zahra again. After her husband and sons were murdered, the Janjaweed carried her and her sisters off and gang-raped them. The sisters were murdered, and Zahra was finally released, naked, after the Janjaweed slashed her leg to mark her forever.

There are thousands more of these photos. Many of them show attacks on children and are too horrific for a newspaper.

One wrenching photo in the archive shows the manacled hands of a teenager from the girls' school in Suleia who was burned alive. It's been common for the Sudanese militias to gang-rape teenage girls and then mutilate or kill them.

Another photo shows the body of a young girl, perhaps 10 years old, staring up from the ground where she was killed. Still another shows a man who was castrated and shot in the head.

This archive, including scores of reports by the monitors on the scene, underscores that this slaughter is waged by and with the support of the Sudanese government as it tries to clear the area of non-Arabs. Many of the photos show men in Sudanese Army uniforms pillaging and burning African villages. I hope the African Union will open its archive to demonstrate publicly just what is going on in Darfur.

The archive also includes an extraordinary document seized from a janjaweed official that apparently outlines genocidal policies. Dated last August, the document calls for the "execution of all directives from the president of the republic" and is directed to regional commanders and security officials.

"Change the demography of Darfur and make it void of African tribes," the document urges. It encourages "killing, burning villages and farms, terrorizing people, confiscating property from members of African tribes and forcing them from Darfur."

It's worth being skeptical of any document because forgeries are possible. But the African Union believes this document to be authentic. I also consulted a variety of experts on Sudan and shared it with some of them, and the consensus was that it appears to be real.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company/Nicholas D. Kristof (via Richard at Hyscience with thanks)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sudan Man's Insightful Baby Mogo Story

This story was written by a friend of Rob Haarsager, Richard Reesor, who just returned from a visit to a small village in Upper Nile, Southern Sudan (picture also courtesy of Richard):

Insightful Baby Magog Story

Baby Mogo, what will your eyes see?
You were born 5 months ago, the first baby born in your village after the signing of the peace treaty ending 22 years of war. Will you know a life of peace, or will the prospects of peace in your land only be a cruel mirage that evaporates in your eyes before your 5th birthday?

Will you live to your 5th birthday?
Or, will you succumb to the threats of malaria, malnutrition and unsafe drinking water because your village lacks access to a medical clinic. As your village chief warns, "Disease does not wait until morning and the 10 hour walk to the nearest clinic!"

Will you attend school?
Will your mind learn to recognize the letters and words your eyes see so you can read and write, so you can explore through books, the sciences, history, learn to reason and learn about other cultures and their understanding of God?

How will you earn your living?
Will you learn from a teacher about mysteries and vocations unknown to your village or will you learn only from your elders knowledge past down through the generations teaching you how to subsist by keeping livestock, fishing, cultivation, gathering wild foods and herbs and making petitions to the mysterious god NGO?

Will you marry?
Will you find a way to accumulate the bride price of 10 cows and 24 goats? Will you learn about other models of marital relationships or will you learn that your masculinity divines you the right to the family assets, including your wife, who will be responsible for providing food, water, firewood and comfort for you and your children?

Will you learn how to be a peacemaker?
Or, will you learn from your elders that your enemies are the Dinka, the Nuer and the Jalaaba and that your responsibility is to avenge the wrongs done to your ancestors when your eyes see the opportunity?

Baby Mogo, what will your eyes see?
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Sudan tells U.S. "We don't need you"

Last week, US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick met with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum. Mr Zoellick is responsible for overseeing disbursement of billions of dollars of development funds pledged for Sudan.

Zoellick with al-Beshir

On Nov 10, during his visit to southern Darfur, Mr Zoellick clashed with regional commissioner Sadiek Abdel Nabi who proclaims himself Bashir of the region.

Upon Mr Zoellick's return to the US, President Bashir gave local press a message to Zoellick (and the US) saying "we don't need you."

One can only guess Mr Zoellick reminded Khartoum of the 'peace' strings attached to the $4.5 billion pledged by the international community, and President Bashir's petulant message was a knee jerk reaction to being dictated to. Heh.

Meanwhile, instead of arresting any Janjaweed, Sudan praises bilateral relations with India and India's Exim Bank extends $450m loan to Sudan.