Friday, September 21, 2007

UN chief rings Japanese Peace Bell

Friday 21 September 2007, is the International Day of Peace. At UN Headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will open the day with the ringing of the Japanese Peace Bell in the morning accompanied by the UN Messengers of Peace. The Secretary-General will observe a minute of silence, and will call on the world to observe a minute of silence at noon local time in commemoration of the day. In his message, the Secretary-General noted that "Peace is one of humanity’s most precious needs. It is also the United Nations’ highest calling." - UN Pulse

The Japanese Peace Bell

Photo: The Japanese Peace Bell (UN)

“On this International Day, let us promise to make peace not just a priority, but a passion,” the Secretary-General has said. “Let us pledge to do more, wherever we are in whatever way we can, to make every day a day of peace.” - UN


Photo: UN SG Ban Ki-moon waves to the crowd as he visits internally displaced persons at the Al Salam camp in El Fasher, W Sudan Sept 6, 2007 (AFP)

Sep 19, 2007 POTP - France calls for protection force in Darfur neighbours.

Sep 20, 2007 VOA - Chad rebels cautiously await EU peacekeepers.

Sep 20, 2007 (UK's No 10) PM promises "tireless" work on Darfur - The situation in Sudan is "one of the great tragedies of our time", Gordon Brown said as he pledged technical support for peacekeepers due to go to Darfur.
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Sep 20, 2007 Los Angeles Times report by Maggie Farley entitled Darfur shows limits of diplomacy - UN envoy struggles to bring warring parties and allied nations to Sudan peace talks.

Love this snippet from the report:
"... After stopping to admire a baby and converse through an interpreter with a fruit seller, he [UN envoy Jan Eliasson] found himself in the middle of a circle with a Sufi mystic who had been leading a prayer. The mystic presented Eliasson to the crowd.

"This is the man who has come to bring peace to Darfur. Let us pray for him. Let us pray for peace," the mystic said, with his arms uplifted. As people in the crowd lifted their arms and chanted, Eliasson lowered his head and clasped his hands in front of him.

"Pray for peace!" the mystic said. "And pray for rain!"

That afternoon, as Eliasson's small plane lifted off the runway, the rain came. Soon, Eliasson hoped, so would peace."

UN peace negotiator Jan Eliasson meets with tribal leaders in Nyala in the Darfur region of Sudan

Photo: [Sep ? 2007] UN peace negotiator Jan Eliasson meets with tribal leaders in Nyala in the Darfur region of Sudan, where he encourages them to get their representatives to join in the upcoming negotiations. His pitch to one leader: “Take the chance now! The whole world wants peace in Darfur!” (Photographer Carolyn Cole/
I say, Sudanese people sound like such good fun - when they're not killing each other! Here's an idea that's just occurred to me: they could pull together and request World Heritage Status, for Sudan to be conserved, preserved and protected as a Great Wonder of the World to save it from droughts and pollution. If they disarmed to start building instead of fighting, Sudan could end up with systems more advanced than most other countries.

God help the children. Little do they know, time is not on their side. Within ten years, Sudan will start running out of water. Take a look at these two photos - and the other seven at the Guardian's photo gallery on "Climate change: 9 pictures") - Lake Chad has lost 90% of its surface area in 30 years. If, God forbid, Sudan becomes a failed state, the only solution I can think of is assisted migration and 51 beds in The Hague.


Photo: Sea ice, polar bears' natural habitat, has been steadily receding, leaving their long-term future in doubt (Ty Milford/Getty Images/Aurora Creative/Guardian)


Photo: A young boy takes water from Lake Chad to drink, in Koudouboul, Chad, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2006. The lake that once provided adequate livelihoods for 20 million people in west-central Africa, from Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, has lost 90 per cent of its surface area in 30 years. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena/Guardian)
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BBC World Service Trust Wins Radio For Peacebuilding Award

Congrats. Great work by Darfur Lifeline. The BBC World Service Trust's humanitarian radio service in Sudan has won first prize for its children’s programme Ursom ala el ard makaanak (Draw Your Place On Earth) in the Youth category of the Radio For Peacebuilding Awards. The prize is awarded by Radio For Peacebuilding Africa. -
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The future is in our hands

UN SG Ban Ki-moon will seek to advance the global agenda on climate change when he meets with heads of state and other top officials from more than 150 countries at UN HQ September 24, 2007. 15 bloggers will be live blogging the event.



Thursday, September 20, 2007

New (and Different) Hostilities in Darfur (by Alex de Waal)

Here is a copy of another must-read: Alex de Waal's excellent commentary, dated Sep 19, 2007 at SSRC blog Making Sense of Darfur (hat tip POTP):
"The last few weeks have seen the first significant armed hostilities between the Sudan government and rebel forces since September 2006. What is the significance of this?

The latest round of fighting began with a joint JEM/SLA-Unity military operation in Adila, south-east Darfur, which was followed by a rebel incursion into Kordofan and an army/airforce attack on Haskanita, in eastern Darfur.

Salient points to note are:

1. This is the first significant fighting between the army and rebels since two army offensives were defeated in North Darfur, in August and September 2006. But none of these battles are comparable in size to the hostilities that raged during the perioFebruary 2003-January 2005, or indeed on numerous occasions in Southern Sudan.

2. The fighting was initiated by the rebels. It was provocative, even reckless, and there has since been internal disagreement among rebel commanders over the wisdom of launching these raids, which began in a historically Arab part of Darfur, and then crossed the boundary into Kordofan.

3. The government response has relied on the army and airforce, and not the militia. In Adila, following government warnings that it intended to attack the town, most residents fled, and there were few civilian casualties. The aim of the attack on Haskanita may have been to try to kill the rebel leaders who had assembled there with their forces. In this case, civilian casualties were higher. It is not clear whether Khartoum’s decision to use the regular armed forces, and not militia, was taken for internal operational reasons, or because of international criticism over the abuses that invariably accompany militia actions.

4. Despite the army’s use of MiG fighter-bombers, helicopter gunships, and other heavy weaponry, the rebels got the better of the army. Four and a half years since the outbreak of major hostilities, the Sudan army is still not capable of operating effectively against an enemy that uses mobile desert-warfare tactics. In response to a series of defeats in 2003, the army turned to using the militia, and if the rebel attacks escalate, it will be tempted to abandon conventional military tactics and resort to militia-based counterinsurgency again."
Note, I have hyperlinked the word "Kordofan" mentioned above, as a tip for readers here to watch Kordofan and Abyei. Also, please note my postings today at Niger Watch and Ethiopia Watch (sister blogs of this site, Sudan Watch).

Further reading

Report from Sudan Watch archives dated April 28, 2006: Darfur's SLM/A rebels refuse to disarm until after end of six-year transition period

Qaeda’s Zawahri urges attacks on Darfur peacekeepers

Reuters report in full - via France based Sudan Tribune 20 September 2007:
September 20, 2007 (DUBAI) — Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri urged Sudanese Muslims in a video posted on Thursday to fight a force of African Union and U.N. peacekeepers set to deploy to Sudan’s volatile western region of Darfur.

In an 80-minute compilation video that touched on a several conflicts, Zawahri criticised Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s decision to accept a U.N. resolution that lays the ground for a 26,000-strong joint AU-U.N. operation.

"Bashir announced before that he would oppose the deployment of international troops to Darfur ... but this was a lie ... and he backtracked step by step until he had agreed to everything they imposed on him," Zawahri said in the tape.

Zawahri accused Bashir of abandoning his Muslim brothers to appease the United States and said he did not deserve the protection of Muslims.

"Therefore, I address the nation of Muslim mujahideen in Sudan and remind it that today’s is a great test and the free mujahideen sons of Sudan must organise jihad against the forces invading Darfur as their brothers organised the jihadi resistance in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia," Zawahri said.

Al Qaeda-linked groups have waged attacks on U.S.-led forces and their allies in Afghanistan and Iraq after the invasions of 2001 and 2003. In Somalia, Islamists the United States says are linked to al Qaeda have been waging a guerrilla campaign against a U.S.-supported transitional government.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Darfur earlier this month, promising to step up pressure for a political solution to the festering conflict.

Sudan, which hosted al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Secretary-General's address to the United Nations Association in Sudan

United Nations (New York)

5 September 2007
Posted to the web 5 September 2007

By Ban Ki-Moon

Khartoum, Sudan, 3 September 2007

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a very great pleasure to be with you today, here on my first trip to Khartoum as Secretary-General.

I am happy to have a chance to address the UN Association in Sudan. And I am pleased to see so many students at this gathering, as well as representatives of civil society. The fact that I am meeting with you this evening, having only just stepped off my flight from Europe, testifies to the importance that I attach to this visit, and to this particular audience -- you in this room.

Ultimately, it is you who will carry forward the work of building a lasting peace in Sudan. It is you who will need to work, hard, to bring unity and prosperity to your beautiful country.

I have a special attachment to this land, Sudan, both personally and officially. Officially, Sudan has recently been at the centre of the UN's agenda for restoring peace and security in the region.

Personally, this is the country where my daughter began her career as a young, junior officer with UNICEF.

For all these reasons, I urge you to think of the United Nations - and me, personally - as your friend, always by your side. I urge you to do everything you can to advance our common cause - building a better Sudan, and a better world, for yourselves and for future generations.

My friends,

Let me explain why I am here. For four long years – too many years – your country and fellow countrymen in Darfur have been torn by conflict. For too long the international community has stood by, as seemingly helpless witnesses to this tragedy.

That now is changing. As you all well know, in July the Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing the deployment of 26,000 multinational peacekeepers in Darfur, jointly run by the United Nations and the African Union. This unprecedented operation marks a new era in UN-AU cooperation. It is one of the largest and most complex peacekeeping missions the UN has ever undertaken. It reflects the international community's commitment to contribute to bringing peace to your country.

I should also say that this agreement comes after many months of very difficult diplomacy. Much of it was invisible, conducted across time zones and in quiet meetings in many capitals of the world. We all must seize this historic opportunity.

That is the first reason why I have come to Sudan. I want to see for myself the plight of those we seek to help, and the conditions under which our peacekeepers in Darfur will operate. But most of all, I want to see the foundations of a lasting peace laid down. My goal is to lock in the progress we have made so far. To build on it so that this terrible trauma may one day end.

Yet there must be a peace to keep. Peacekeeping must be accompanied by a political solution. That is the second reason I am here. It is so very important that we keep moving ahead with the Darfur political process. Everyone agrees there can be no military solution. We need a ceasefire now. The violence must stop. I want to see us begin a new and conclusive round of peace negotiations as soon as possible. My aim is to keep up the momentum, to push the peace among the parties with a view toward issuing invitations to a full-fledged peace conference as soon as possible.

During my visit, I will meet with President Omar al-Bashir and many other senior leaders. I look forward to a frank and constructive and fruitful discussions. The goodwill and cooperation of your Government has been instrumental in the progress we have made so far. I will also meet with First Vice-President Salva Kiir in southern Sudan, as well as opposition representatives.

At the same time, we also need to push ahead on a broader initiative, underscored by my visit to Juba. That's the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the north and the south. As you know well, this remains an essential -- and rather fragile -- cornerstone of peace across the whole of Sudan, well beyond Darfur.

The third reason for my visit involves humanitarian aid and development. Any real solution to Darfur's troubles involves something more – it requires sustained economic development and solutions that go to the root causes of the conflict. But we cannot effectively address development issues until there is a peaceful environment in Darfur and a political solution to the conflict.

Until then, the world's largest humanitarian operation, currently assisting more than 4.2 million people – must continue. I urge to you do your part to ensure an immediate end to violence and a rapid political solution.

Precisely what these development activities will entail is unclear. But we need to begin thinking about it, now. There must be money for new roads and communications, as well as health, education, sanitation and social reconstruction programmes. The international community needs to help organize these efforts, working with the Government of Sudan as well as the host of international aid agencies and NGOs working so heroically on the ground, in very difficult circumstances.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In your very kind invitation, you asked me to speak a bit about how I see the UN and its role in a changing world, particularly in this part of the world.

Let me say, here, something about who I am. I am not a philosopher. I have never put much stock in grand rhetoric – dreams of the future, “visions” that promise more than can be delivered. I am a realist, a man of action. I believe in results, not rhetoric.

As I look out at the coming year, and beyond, I see a growing number of extraordinary challenges. Darfur and the crisis in Sudan are among my very top priorities.

But there are many others. Iraq, where we are likely to be tasked with ever greater responsibilities. Climate change. Making development work in Africa, so that we can fully realize our Millennium Development Goals.

The list goes on, from Somalia and the Middle East, to new crises and opportunities that the world will bring our way. It think it is fair to say that the demands to be placed upon us have never been greater in our 62-year history, even as the resources available to us grow proportionally more scarce.

Where does Sudan stand in relation to the UN, and more broadly in the international community?

You are the largest country in Africa, rich in natural resources. But there is a need to create conditions enabling more development. Fighting has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Many more have become refugees and displaced persons, making Sudan among the world's trouble spots. This is regrettable, given the great potential of your country.

The UN has broad responsibilities, which can be thought of as three pillars. 1) Peace and security. 2) Economic and social development, as set forth in the UN Millennium Development Goals. 3) Human Rights.

The UN has a direct responsibility to advance in all three of these areas. As for the first, that's why I am in Sudan.

With respect to the second, much has been done in advancing our MDGs in Sudan. In southern Sudan, for example, the number of children enrolled in school grew from 343,000 in 2005 to more than 1 million in 2007. We have vaccinated cattle, distributed food and vitamin supplements to children, drilled hundreds of new water wells, and helped rebuild roads. Still, much more needs to be done if Sudan is to be on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

As for human rights, we have only to look around us to see how far Sudan has to go in upholding human rights and protecting people from suffering. Justice is an important part of building and sustaining peace. A culture of impunity and a legacy of past crimes that go unaddressed can only erode the peace.


Let us now turn our thoughts to how we can work together, and how the UN can make a difference in your lives and help create a better future.

As I said earlier, I am not a man of dreams and high rhetoric. I believe in solutions that are real solutions. And I know that there can be no solutions to Sudan's political problems without sustainable economic development.

I've mentioned some of the ways we are already helping, and what more we can do -- from helping to provide better health care to promoting better agricultural techniques to encouraging small business development.

But when it comes to providing root solutions to the country's problems, it begins with a core issue facing so many people in Sudan and elsewhere in this region.

You all know that the conflict in Darfur began, long ago, in part because of drought. When the rains failed, farmers and herders fell into competition for an increasingly scarce resource. The decisions of man to wage war over these precious natural resources further compounded other factors and challenges.

But the fact remains. Lack of water, and a scarcity of resources in general, has contributed to a steady worsening of Sudan's troubles. As part of the solution, the Government with international assistance will have to ensure that the people of Darfur have access to vital natural resources – water being chief among them. The UN stands ready to assist in this effort.

I realize this all sounds very practical and down-to-earth. It is. If you were hoping for high-minded declarations of global principles, I may have disappointed you. But that is the point. As Secretary-General, I would like to look only for results. Tangible action, solutions you can see and touch, measurable progress. After all, who can eat or drink only words?

I have discussed this matter with our European partners, as well as the world's aid and financial institutions. I'm going to host an MDG Africa Steering Group meeting next week in New York. I promise you that I will pay as much attention to this as I have to matters of peace and security.

I am very happy to have been able to meet with you here. It has been a pleasure speaking with you. I look forward to seeing more of your beloved country. I count on your continued support.

Thank you very much for your strong commitment to the United Nations, and for your help in our work - present and future.

Shoukran jazeelan.

Copyright © 2007 United Nations. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sudan Watch Blog - Country Share

Here below is a snapshot of this blog's visitors, courtesy Sitemeter.

Total, to date: 222,700 visits plus 333,971 page views.

Continent Share on August 12, 2007:

Sudan Watch - Continent Share
Country Share on August 12, 2007:

Sudan Watch - Country Share
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It's good to be back. Missed you.


Today, I created parent blog INGRIDNETWORK.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Super genius Ban Ki Moon is one slick explicator!

Some light humour (this one's for Drima - hi Drima!) by Mac Johnson June 21, 2007 - Ban Ki Moon: Super Genius - excerpt:
In Darfur, radical Muslim militias have taken to slaughtering Christian and Pagan farmers for fun and profit. Since radical Muslims elsewhere in the world are generally a peaceful lot, Ban Ki Moon has wisely seen that it must be the weather setting them off. Allah Akbar, it’s hot! Let's kill the infidels.

No really, the man basically said this. He also said that before Global Warming caused a long-term drought in Sudan, the black Christian farmers and the Arab Muslim herders lived in a sort of multicultural slumber party of mutual understanding and admiration. Then Global Warming happened and the farmers put up fences and triggered their own genocide at the hands of the once neighborly camel herders (and you thought good fences made good neighbors). So now I understand that the trouble in Darfur is really something of a cross between “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Open Range,” and “The Weather Channel.” Ban Ki Moon is one slick explicator!
Related reports: UN head links climate change darfur.
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n. One who unfolds or explains; an expounder; an explainer.

Glad to see the word explicator, used in report above, does not mean fibber. Here at Sudan Watch, I've banged on for years about the water shortages in Darfur and how water will become Sudan's most valuable resource. Just a fraction of the world's climate change budget could help the Sudanese make the most of advanced solar and communications technologies.

Clinton-Moon discuss global issues

Photo: Former US President Bill Clinton with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the UN HQ in New York (Photo: Jay Mandal/On Assignment)

Clinton Global Initiative

Former US president Bill Clinton called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, April 2007:
During the 45-minute discussion, Clinton, whose term as the UN special envoy for tsunami relief ended on December 31, and Ban discussed issues ranging from the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, Somalia, Uganda, Congo, Iran, Iraq, to the Middle East peace process, UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe told media persons.

The efforts being undertaken by the UN and the Clinton Global Initiative on global problems were also discussed in the meet, she added.
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Feel bad and under pressure for not replying to emails since March. Blogging Darfur is not always as easy as it seems. Problems with hyperlinks, reinstalled OSX, added Firefox, lost incoming email dates (unheard of at Apple) still ongoing, month and year ok, no day. If I owe you an email, please don't think I've forgotten. Tough time here lately on all fronts. Huge thanks to Scaryduck for helping guard against predators targeting this site. Bye for now. Hope to catch up soon.

Gen. Martin L. Agwai of Nigeria appointed new Force Commander of AMIS

Late May 2007 news report excerpt [insert link]:
Yesterday Mr. Konare, in consultation with Mr. Ban, appointed Gen. Martin L. Agwai of Nigeria – who has previously served the UN in Sierra Leone and as a military adviser – as the new Force Commander of AMIS.

“The Secretary-General welcomes this decision and looks forward to Gen. Agwai’s close cooperation with the UN to facilitate the deployment of the Heavy Support Package for AMIS and to eventually command the hybrid AU-UN operation in Darfur,” his spokesperson said in a statement issued today.
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Hugs and kisses not war

Kouchner and SLM-Nur

Photo: The leader of the SLM, Abdelwhaid al-Nur, welcomed by the former French minister Bernard Kouchner, March 20, 2007. (AP via Sudan Tribune)

French air bridge in Chad

June 18, 2007 Islam Online report excerpt:
The first flight of a French air bridge to ferry humanitarian aid to victims of the Darfur crisis touched down Sunday in Goz Beida town, is 90 kilometers from the Sudanese border.

"To start with, we will be transporting from N'Djamena priority items -- mats, water bottles, blankets and so forth -- that are sorely lacking as the rainy season nears," Colonel Jean-Bruno Vautrey, head of the French military in Chad, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

There are 40,000 of Darfur refugees along with two-thirds of the 150,000 Chadians displaced by communal and trans-border fighting are in the Dar Sila region that includes Goz Beida.

Vautrey said the air bridge would continue "so long as the state of the runway is not put in danger and there is a need to fulfill. Aid will be evaluated once a week."

Some 50 French military personnel are currently in Goz Beida.

The air bridge was announced earlier June by Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner who stressed the "urgency" of the situation in the region with the onset of the rainy season.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed the air bridge, hoping it would "help avoid any critical gaps in our operation to feed thousands of people".

GLOBAL COOL - Blair's film debut premiered at International Film Academy awards ceremony

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, pictured here below, has just finished his film debut in a climate change short film directed by Shekhar Kapur. In the movie, titled Global Cool, Blair plays a “carbon crusader” - his co-star is Sienna Miller.

Tony Blair's film debut premiered at International Film Academy awards ceremony

‘I’ve been preparing for this role for the last ten years. So it was great to be part of "Global Cool". But remember, I was only one of a billion people saving the planet in this movie - and they are all stars,’ Blair said.”

The film was premiered at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards ceremony at Yorkshire.

[Source: Apologies, mislaid link to above newsclip from Michael, June 11, 2007. More at]

Norway - rated the world's most peaceful country


Photo: Fjord (Corbis)

The Quartet of peacemakers: the US, EU, UN and Russia

Could this be the first EU president? Many are speculating on Tony Blair's next move as the EU prepares to create a prestigious new title of "President of the European Council" in its next treaty.

Could this be the first EU president?

According to Mark Mardell's Euroblog, the presidency couldn't happen for another two years even if agreed by end of EU Summit on Saturday.

June 18, 2007 BBC report excerpt:
"... Europe does look more like what Tony Blair said it should be, with Angela Merkel in power in Berlin and Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. Now there are pro-American and reform-minded leaders in Paris and Berlin as
well as London.

So, despite the mutterings about Blair's "betrayals", he will surely be missed in Europe.

The proof is that as the EU prepares to create a prestigious new title of "President of the European Council" in its next treaty, it is looking around for a former European head of government who could be a global spokesman for all 27 EU government heads, and one big name has not yet been ruled out.

That name is Tony Blair."
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The Quartet of peacemakers: US, EU, UN and Russia

June 20, 2007 AP report via knbc - excerpt:
James Wolfensohn, a former president of the World Bank, stepped down in April as international Mideast envoy for the Quartet of peacemakers - the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia. The position envisioned for Blair was said to be enhanced in contrast to Wolfensohn's role.

Members of the Quartet may meet in Paris next week, although Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has a scheduling conflict and the meeting could be postponed.
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Appreciation and thanks

Global Cool

Photo: Mr Blair was made an honorary paramount chief in Sierra Leone, May 2007. (AP via BBC)

Sierra Leone

Photo: British helicopters prepare to move ashore at Aberdeen beach in the north-west of the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown, 2000. (AFP/Bob Bishop/Yahoo May 29 2007)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rebels of the world, come to Uncle Jose

Rebels of the world, come to Uncle Jose

Brilliant. Great thinking. From The Sunday Times - Rebels of the world, come to Uncle Jose, June 17, 2007: John-Paul Flintoff speaks with Jose Maria Aznar, the former Spanish leader. Excerpt:
Since leaving office he has run the Foundation for Social Analysis and Studies, a Madrid-based organisation known as the Popular party’s ideas lab.

Earlier this month in Prague it put together an unprecedented conference for dissidents from around the world to meet leaders and former leaders such as Aznar himself. The key speaker was his old amigo, George W Bush.
Note, the last line:
"Does he think the expected Blair Foundation will operate on similar lines to his own? The thought does not seem to have occurred to him and with a hearty laugh he finally drops the amigo act: “I don’t know. But mine is the best.”
Heh. He's funny. I reckon The Blair Foundation will be hot. (Afterthought: also hot, much to Gordon Brown's dismay, would be Tony Blair as permanent European President. Heh.)

U.N. Head Links Climate Change, Darfur

Recently on television news, I saw the great American media baron Ted Turner talking about masses of money changing hands more now than ever before. Seems he's divesting of media to concentrate and invest in nuclear and environment.

My point is, the climate change spending budget will be humongous and, coupled with the world's munitions spending, represents an historic opportunity for making poverty (and war!) history. Surely if world peace could be agreed, and amnesty's sorted, it would leave those who refuse to give up illegal weapons to be treated as criminals.

United Nations Blames Darfur on Food, Water Shortage & Newspapers 18 June 2007

U.N. Head Links Climate Change, Darfur
AP report via Guardian June 17, 2007

"It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought," Ban said. (Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI On Peace, a Call From Assisi

Great timely calls for world peace are starting to happen in the run up to historic concerts July 1 and 7. Princess Diana would have loved to have seen land mines eradicated from our beautiful planet.

Here is an excerpt from a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday to the crowds gathered at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, where the Pope led the praying of the midday Angelus.
I consider it my duty to issue an urgent and heartfelt appeal from this place to stop all armed conflicts that are bloodying the earth. ...

"May Weapons be Silenced and May Hate Yield to Love"
(Source: Catholic Online, CA - ASSISI, Italy, June 19, 2007, Zenith)
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Who does not want world peace?

Often, I wonder about who is not interested in world peace and why. Soon the World Bank will have a new boss. I say, why not pool the world's munitions budget through the United Nations to take good care of our planet and make poverty history? Surely the world's war industry can diversify into water, energy, agriculture, peacekeeping and policing of borders.


No choice really. I'm convinced a new world order has now arrived, made possible through the past three decades of developments in digital and satellite communications technology. Today, I believe it is feasible for billions of us to insist that world leaders get together and agree on world peace within the space of days (by July 7, 2007 to be precise!)

UN: Gandhi's birth anniversary October 2 to be declared 'International day of non-violence'

Wonderful news. The United Nations General Assembly will declare October 2 - the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi - as 'International Day of Non-Violence' in recognition of his role in promoting the message of peace around the world.

A resolution reaffirming the universal relevance of non-violence, initiated by India and co-sponsored by more than 120 of the 191 members of the Assembly, is expected to be adopted unanimously on Friday. The resolution says that
"The Assembly decides, with effect from the 62nd session of the General Assembly (which begins in September next) and guided by the Charter of the United Nations, to observe the International Day of Non-Violence on October 2 each year, with the International day being brought to the attention of all people for its celebration and observance on this date."
It invites all member states, NGOs and individuals to commemorate the day and to disseminate the message of non-violence, "including through education and public awareness."
The resolution also requests the Secretary-General to recommend ways and means by which the UN systems can assist member states in organising activities to commemorate the day.
(Source: Times of India 14 Jun, 2007 - hat tip

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Joanna Lumley's Darfur and Chad Crisis Appeal for DEC

My favourite British actress Joanna Lumley is working with the UK’s leading aid charities through the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in making an appeal to hundreds of thousands of newspaper readers.

To donate to the Darfur and Chad Crisis Appeal visit

Joanna Lumley is heavily involved in charity work including The Druk White Lotus School in Kashmir and mental health charity Mind.

Annan to head Gates group to boost Africa food

Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan said on Thursday he would head a new green group bankrolled by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates to help reverse Africa's declining food production and double output. - Reuters Cape Town via Megite

UK Blair looks for progress on EU treaty

PM looks for progress on EU treaty

The Prime Minister has said he expects some "tough negotiations" at next week's EU summit in Brussels. European leaders will convene on 21 June to discuss the future of proposals on the draft EU treaty. (10 Downing Street)

Paul McCartney rocks with new songs at "secret" NY show

Reuters report by Christian Wiessner, June 13, 2007 - excerpt:
Paul McCartney stormed the stage of a small ballroom on Wednesday and delivered a 20-song set featuring Beatles favorites and select cuts from his newly released album “Memory Almost Full.”

The free show for about 700 fans at the Highline Ballroom in New York’s Chelsea district was hastily arranged, with McCartney’s website only announcing the gig on Tuesday. Passes were distributed through a give-away on the website and to fans who lined up on Wednesday outside the venue.

The show’s intimate setting had McCartney in a relaxed mood and he reminisced about writing certain songs.

“I remember writing this next song in a little house we used to live in Liverpool. I was standing in the front parlor looking out through the little lace curtains and thinking, ‘I’m going to be a star,’ like you do, but it never happened,” he quipped before performing “I’ll Follow The Sun” from the 1964 release “Beatles For Sale.”

Before performing “Here Today,” from his 1982 album “Tug of War,” McCartney said the mournful ballad was originally written for his one-time writing partner and fellow Beatle John Lennon, slain by a deranged fan in 1980 just a few miles away.

“I’d like to dedicate it tonight to fallen heroes John, George (and) Linda,” McCartney said, referring to Lennon as well as Beatle guitarist George Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001, and McCartney’s first wife, who died in 1998.

“But as for me, I still remember how it was before, and I am holding back the tears no more,” he sang to a hushed crowd.
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John Lennon’s music helps Darfur effort

Los Angeles Times report by Randy Lewis, June 14, 2007 - excerpt:
Initially, Amnesty International officials had approached Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, for permission to use his “Imagine,” a song she’d never approved for any philanthropic project.

“I’m not afraid to say no,” said the 74-year-old Ono. “There are so many people and organizations (who’ve had) that same request, and I’ve said no to everybody. ... The Amnesty International people brought (this proposal) to me and I responded very quickly, because I had been doing some projects with them before that and had a very good feeling about them. ... So in this case it was a big ‘yes.’”

Big indeed. Beyond giving her thumbs-up for “Imagine,” she opened the door to Lennon’s entire solo catalog. The result is 23 performances from such established stars as U2 (“Instant Karma”), Christina Aguilera (“Mother”) and Green Day (“Working Class Hero,” which has been released as a single) and comparatively new arrivals including Corinne Bailey Rae (“I’m Losing You”), the Postal Service (“Grow Old With Me”) and Regina Spektor (“Real Love”).

“Imagine” rates two performances, one by pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne, the other by latter-day surfer dude Jack Johnson.

The vituperative “Gimme Some Truth” also appears twice, in a version by Mexico’s Jaguares and a duet by two offspring of rock royalty, Jakob Dylan and Dhani Harrison, George’s son.

“Instead of just the big, big names,” Ono said, “the “now’ people are in here, too. I like the fact that they cover it all, and I’m sure John would have been very happy.”
Yes, me too. Love and peace.
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"Imagine" a better Karma

"Imagine" a better Karma

Photo: Yoko and John Lennon some 40 years ago. (Credit: Kevin Robillard,

Reuters' political activism against China?

Recently, I've noticed odd little messages in some of Reuters' photo captions. Here's a good example, published at Yahoo News, June 13, 2007:
Reuters' political activism?

A student turns a somersault near one of the mascots for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games at an Olympic education model school in Miyun County of Beijing June 8, 2007 file photo. What do the conflict in Darfur, forced evictions, media freedoms and the rights of migrant laborers have in common? The answer is China and the 2008 Olympics. (Jason Lee/Reuters)
I wonder why the reporter decided to add his personal question and answer, and why Reuters allows such reporting.

Transcript of debate between John Prendergast and Alex de Waal

Click here for a transcript of June 7, 2007 Part 1: What To Do About Darfur? A debate between John Prendergast and Alex de Waal. (Via POTP)


Prendergast and Gosling want to end the genocide in northern Uganda, a country in East Africa that has been ravaged by war for nearly a generation. (Photo and caption by Politico/John Shinkle June 12, 2007)
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Endgame in Africa

Click here for a Profile of American human rights activist John Prendergast (pictured above and below) by Jonathan Foreman, Men's Vogue, November 2006, and see a slideshow of photographs from the front lines in Darfur and Chad.

John Prendergast

Holding the line - John Prendergast contacts rebel leaders on a Thuraya satellite phone and contemplates a trek further into Darfur (Photo and caption via Wikipeda by
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Notable Quote

"Everything I've said is bullshit," laughs Prendergast.

(Source: 'Actorvists' make people care June 12, 2007)

Live Earth Istanbul on Sale

Al Gore joined actress and Live Earth Istanbul spokesperson Sebnem Donmez on June 13, 2007 at the Cirigan Palace to raise the curtain on Live Earth Turkey.

Istanbul fortress

The concert will be held at The Seven Towers Fortress, a historic Byzantine site in Istanbul on 07/07/07. (Via liveearth.spaces)

G9 and the People's Republic of Bono

Bush and Bono

Photo: Bono and Bush rub shoulders at the G8

Don't miss Brendan O'Neill's article "Welcome to the People's Republic of Bono" posted today at spiked and copied at Ethiopia Watch,sister blog of Sudan Watch.

Vanity Fair, guest-edited by Bono

Photo: The current Vanity Fair, guest-edited by Bono

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quantum Physics Supports World Peace!

Loved Soldier of Africa's blog post on the Movement to Critical Mass for World Peace (hi Werner!) And, this excerpt from Sonia's Metaphysical Musings:
"Quantum Physics Supports World Peace - Physicists tell us that according to the laws of wave mechanics, the intensity of any kind of waves that are in phase with each other is the square of the sum of the waves. In other words, two waves added together are four times as intense as one wave, ten waves are one hundred times as intense, etc.

Since thought is an energy, and all energy occurs as waves - we believe that 80,000 people all thinking the same thing together are as powerful, in terms of creating the reality that we all share, as the random chaotic thought of the 6.4 billion people (80,000 times 80,000) that will soon inhabit the planet.

Therefore, 80,000 people who believe that only love prevails, will create a laser of intent that will change the planetary reality."

Call me a metaphysical nerd, but I thought this was beyond cool! I went straight to the web-site:, read everything I needed to know, and signed up."
Sonia ends, saying "Choose Your Reality!" Heh. Glad I found it, thanks.

Bono’s poverty-fighting plan promoted by two ex-Senators

More good news. Two former U.S. Senate leaders who were once adversaries, Bill Frist and Tom Daschle, joined to promote an effort to make global poverty a central issue of the presidential race. (Source: )

Sudan accepts joint AU-UN Darfur force : UN Security Council 15-member 7-day visit starting June 15, 2007 Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Kinshasa, Ivory Coast

Great, let's hope it's true. Sudan has agreed to a revised AU-UN plan for a joint AU-UN peacekeeping force to be sent to Darfur. Under the revised plan, the AU will run day-to-day operations, while the UN is expected to have overall control of between 17,000 to 19,000 peacekeepers.

Today, AP news agency quotes Said Djinnit, the AU's top peace and security official, as saying:
"In view of the explanation and clarification provided by the AU and the UN as contained in the presentation, the government of Sudan accepted the joint proposals on the hybrid operation."
The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Addis Ababa says the mood was cheerful at the AU headquarters after the announcement was made. Full report (BBC).
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June 12, 2007 - TEXT- Conclusions of AU-UN, Sudan on the Hybrid Operations

June 12, 2007 - AFP report - Sudan accepts AU-UN force in Darfur

June 12, 2007 - Alex de Waal commentary Time to get serious
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UN Security Council 15-member delegation 7-day visit starting June 15, 2007 Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Kinshasa and Abidjan, Ivory Coast

From June 4, 2007 dpa report:
A United Nations Security Council delegation beginning in mid-June will visit five African capitals, including Khartoum and Kinshasa, for talks on settling conflicts there, the council president Belgian Ambassador Johan Verbeke said Monday. The 15-member delegation arrive in Accra on June 15 and then travel to Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Kinshasa and Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
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Sudan tells France it prefers AU/UN peace efforts


Photo: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, right, meets Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, left, for talks on Darfur on Monday June 11, 2007 in Khartoum, Sudan. Ending a five-day tour in Africa, Kouchner, a co-founder of the international aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres, appeared to use his clout as a prominent humanitarian figure to boost France's role in helping solve the Darfur crisis. Kouchner appealed to the Sudanese president and other top officials on Monday to allow a hybrid U.N. and African operation into Darfur to ease the humanitarian suffering in the war-torn Sudanese region. (AP Photo/Alfred de Montesquiou)

Also, from AP report "Sudan, France discuss Darfur force" (via China Daily June 12, 2007):
The French minister's talks with al-Bashir appeared unusually cordial, and the two men embraced and joked in front of the cameras at the start of their meeting.

As a humanitarian worker, Kouchner often operated clandestinely in southern Sudan during a separate civil war there, building ties with several former southern rebels who now hold government positions in Khartoum.

"We are very glad to greet you officially in Sudan now," al-Bashir told Kouchner, adding that their relationship went "back a long way."

Friday, June 01, 2007


Things are hotting up. A big warm hello to all peace lovers and anti-poverty campaigners. I've waited 35 years for this. Our time has come. This one's for John Lennon.

Tony and Cherie Blair

Photo: British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair cross the tarmac to board a plane in London as he begins his African tour. (AFP/Leon Neal/Yahoo May 29, 2007)


"The cause of poverty and disease are poor education and bad governance. Fight poverty and climate change to stop conflict." - PM Tony Blair.

(Source: BBC video of Blair speech May 31, 2007)

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Bob Geldof and Bono's ongoing global campaign to MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY
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Events to mark World Environment Day, which is held annually on 5 June, will kick off on Friday in New York. This year's theme is "Melting Ice: A Hot Topic". For events being scheduled, see UN Pulse.
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Wembley Stadium 1 July 2007

Status Quo will be playing at the Concert for Diana, Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday July 1, 2007, organised by Princes William and Harry for their late mother (who would have been 46), broadcast by the BBC.
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The mission of the SOS campaign is to trigger a mass movement to combat the climate crisis. The SOS campaign will engage people in every corner of the planet through solutions-based short films, celebrity PSAs, books, an interactive web experience, and most importantly, through Live Earth, a 24-hour concert on 7/7/07 spanning all 7 continents that will bring together more than 100 of the world’s top music acts.


Photo: Madonna has written a new song called "Hey You" for the Live Earth concert, Saturday July 7, 2007, Wembley Stadium, London.

Live Earth alone is expected to reach an audience of more than 2 billion people through concert attendance and worldwide broadcasts.

The Live Earth audience, and the proceeds from the concerts, will form the foundation for a new, multi-year global effort to combat the climate crisis led by The Alliance for Climate Protection and its Chair, Vice President Al Gore.

The SOS campaign was founded by Kevin Wall, who won an Emmy as Worldwide Executive Producer of Live 8.
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Instant Karma - Green Day

Photo: "Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur", the new global “Make Some Noise” project from Amnesty International, aims to raise awareness and mobilise millions around the urgent catastrophe in Darfur, Sudan.

Amnesty's album, a collection of John Lennon songs, will be released on CD and as digital downloads on June 12, 2007. It features songs by The Flaming Lips, Regina Spektor, U2 and Snow Patrol. All the songs are available on iTunes right now.

The single from Green Day will be released on Warners Records on June 25 and will be the second single to be unveiled from the Amnesty International's CD of John Lennon covers ‘The Campaign To Save Darfur' (the first was R.E.M.’s version of ‘#9 Dream’).

The track, 'Working Class Hero' which appears on Lennon's 1970 album ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ is considered one of his most overtly political songs, and the Green Day version – for which the band are expected to make a new video - features a clip of Lennon’s original vocal.
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"Another 300,000 dead. Defend the whales!"

Photo: Greenpeace activists display dead whales and dolphins and a banner reading "Another 300,000 dead. Defend the whales!", in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on 21 May 2007. The fate of the great whales hung in the balance Monday as officials from 75 nations gathered for talks amid pressure, notably from Japan, to reverse a 20-year ban on commercial hunting of the mammals. (AFP/John MacDougall/Yahoo 28 May 2007)

The World Can't Wait

Photo: Greenpeace activists dressed as whales parade 27 May 2007 around the Captain Cook Hotel, site of the 59th annual International Whaling Commission meetings, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AFP/Michael Conti/Yahoo News 28 May 2007)
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Email Chancellor Merkel and MP

Recently, via the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY website, I emailed Chancellor Merkel and my MP. It took just a few seconds. Here are the replies:
Thank you for emailing Chancellor Angela Merkel and Tony Blair. Your name has been added to an international petition that will be handed over to the Chancellor before the G8 Summit at Heiligendamm on 6-8 June. We will contact you after the G8 and EU summits in June to update you on the outcome. Your details will not under any circumstances be shared with any third parties.

Make sure you come to London on 2nd June to deliver your voice against poverty in person.
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Thank you for emailing your MP about urgent action needed on global poverty. We will contact you after the G8 and EU summits in June to update you on the outcome of the meetings and to let you know how many MPs have signed the EDM.

Please now spread the word and get your family, friends and colleagues to visit the website and to add their voice against poverty.

Come to London on Saturday 2nd June to make your voice heard and tell political leaders that the world can’t wait.

Your details will not under any circumstances be shared with any third parties.


Bob Geldof guest-edited today's (June 1, 2007) issue of Germany's biggest-selling daily newspaper, Bild. Geldof wrote a front-page commentary stating that Germany's leaders could "end the misery" in Africa and that they had the power to "change things and people if you want to".

The paper also published an interview with Chancellor Merkel by Geldof.

The World can't wait.  End this! Now!

Photo: Bild - the cover carried a picture of an emaciated child with the headline 'End this! Now!'

Other contributors to the paper included US president George Bush reiterating his commitment to fighting Aids in Africa, U2 singer Bono echoing Geldof's aims and George Clooney highlighting the violence in Sudan's Darfur region.

(Source:, Mark Sweney, June 1, 2007)
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SOS films at Tribeca Film Festival

Excerpt from SOS
Seven SOS short films will premiere at Tribeca Film Festival's opening evening of April 25, 2007.

SOS campaign’s identity is based on the international Morse code signal for distress: three dots, followed by three dashes, followed by three dots. SOS is the world’s most urgent, universal message, and the campaign will use that signal as a continuous “call to action” to prompt individuals, corporations and governments around the world to respond to our climate crisis with sustained action.
For more information on the SOS campaign and Live Earth concerts, visit:
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If everyone on this planet declared World peace on 7 July 2007 there would be World peace, no?

See this blog's listing, cached by Google, May 28, 2007:
Sudan Watch
Sudan Watch. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. ... - 27 May 2007 - Similar pages
This call to action for WORLD PEACE is dedicated to the late great Mahatma Gandhi and John Lennon.
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Further reading

June 23, 2005 - Sudan Watch: The Greatest Show on Earth: Geldof's Live 8 concerts July 2, 2005 to promote G8 Summit and Make Poverty History campaign.

Note, a box in the top left hand corner of this page enables a search of Sudan Watch archives, i.e. Geldof

Live Aid July 13, 2985 logo

Wikipedia on Peace and World peace - an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations: It is the professed ambition of many past and present world leaders.

Snippets from blogosphere (more here, later)

June 1, 2007: 40 years ago today - the wonderful world of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper - see BBC report and Harry's Place, a British blog, discusses 40 Years ago Today, and asks, Who's right? The surviving Beatles or the rest of the world?

June 1, 2007: Word from Germany About the G8 - via The ONE Blog - posted by Michelle Dixon, ONE's Deputy Director of Outreach.

June 1, 2007: Oxfam's BLOG8 will be live blogging the G8.

June 2, 2007: Lenin's Tomb insightful blog entry How Not To Save Darfur.

June 2, 2007: The Angry Arab News Service blog links to NY Times and other news reports on the shake up at Save Darfur Coalition.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How to Change the World

'Allo 'Allo! Back on track again, thanks to Apple and The Blogger Team. Not to mention great blogmate support. Sorry I'm not in contact as often as I'd like. Hope to catch up on emails soon. Loved Werner's blog entry 29 May 2007 "How to Change the World". More later. Bye for now, Ingrid.

Monday, May 28, 2007

BBC's Darfur Lifeline project is emergency radio at its best

Via Institute for War and Peace Reporting (AR No. 100, 10-Mar-07) by David Smith in Nyala, Darfur:
When did you last hear a good news story coming out of Darfur? Have you ever heard a good news story from there?

Well, I've got one. There is a small group of Sudanese men and women based in the south Darfur city of Nyala who risk life and limb on a daily basis to deliver humanitarian information over the radio to the millions of displaced persons in the region.

They work for the BBC World Service Trust, a humanitarian arm of the world's best-known broadcaster, and every day they put out a 30-minute programme that is broadcast on shortwave to western Sudan as well as parts of Chad and the Central African Republic.

In a conflict hot spot that is the focus of international media attention, this programme is the only one that targets the people concerned. The George Clooneys and Jan Egelands of the world are talking about Darfur, but not to Darfur.

The Darfur Lifeline project is emergency radio at its best. Twice a day, at 8 am and 8 pm, thousands of people hold their cheap Nigerian-made radios close to their ears inside their temporary homes of plastic sheeting and straw and hear about the crisis that is affecting their lives.

A team of 13 producers and researchers, all Sudanese and from all parts of the country, start their day early on the programme, which is titled “Salam ila Darfur” (“Peace/Greetings to Darfur”). They spend their time talking to internally displaced people living in the camps, health workers, local and international non-governmental organisations and even the military to find out what information is needed on the ground to keep the displaced informed and reduce the suffering even just a little.

Putting the programme together is not easy.

The journalists need permission from the Sudanese Government's Humanitarian Affairs Committee, HAC, if they want to go just about anywhere. And they get it. Even NGOs that tend to shy away from the media make exceptions for the Darfur Lifeline team. NGOs are often suspicious of the media, and feel that media attention can jeopardise their work in sensitive areas by threatening what are often difficult relationships with local authorities.

Yacoub Ismael, the director of Oxfam's regional office in South Darfur, says his organisation makes an exception to the "no talking to the media rule" for Darfur Lifeline. There is widespread acceptance within humanitarian circles that the work strengthens and complements their programmes.

Access is certainly helped by the BBC’s excellent reputation and large listenership. The BBC’s Arabic Service, which is completely separate from the humanitarian operation, has its highest per capita listenership in Sudan.

Walking around the camps in the early hours of the morning, the sound of radio easily travels through the flimsy walls of the shelters. Over the course of several days of intensive on-site surveys with the Darfur Lifeline team, the only wireless sounds we heard were from Bush House, from the Darfur Lifeline team itself and religious programming from the state broadcaster in Khartoum.


Information on where it is safe to collect firewood and where food is being distributed, information on where displaced children can go to learn to read, information on where lost friends and relatives can be found, and information on how to avoid or treat the numerous contagious diseases that sweep camps due to a complete breakdown in social services and infrastructure - this is what the Darfur Lifeline team puts on the air every day.

The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, conducts vaccination campaigns throughout Darfur on a regular basis, the security situation permitting. Their Nyala office makes no bones about the value of the BBC radio programmes. “Our immunisation coverage in the camps doubled after the BBC broadcasts,” said UNICEF’s Nagui Kodsi.

The Sudanese government operates its own radio service in Darfur. However, it is almost impossible to find anybody who believes a word produced by the state broadcaster. In any case, journalists working for the government are not allowed into the camps. The divide is so wide that Kodsi says he has attended health ministry meetings during which the government of Sudan has admitted it relies on the BBC to send messages to its own displaced people.

This may be one of the reasons why the service is tolerated. It is not easy to gather information in Darfur. Most foreign journalists have had their requests for permits to travel there turned down by the Sudanese authorities.

The main reason the programming carries on is simply because it is humanitarian and not political. The Nyala-based team does a fine balancing act so as not to attract too much attention from Khartoum many hundreds of kilometres away in the east.

Officially, they are not journalists but humanitarian workers. However, this correspondent has rarely seen journalists as committed to their craft as this brave little group who are broadcasting from hell.
Salam ila Darfur broadcasts on shortwave from transmitters in Cyprus at 0500 GMT and at 1700 GMT on 7150 kHz and 17595 kHz.

David Smith is a Johannesburg-based media consultant specialising in setting up emergency radio projects in zones of conflict. [Source:]

Sudanese migrants clinging to life on a tuna net

Words fail me. Via - May 28, 2007:
As a Maltese tug boat trawls through the water picking up tuna, it becomes the sole means of survival for a group of desperate young migrants.

This astonishing sight reveals the peril facing 27 African migrants who clung to life for three days and nights after their boat sank and they were refused entry on board the tug.

Hanging on to buoys on an 18-inch-wide walkway with almost no food or drink, they were eventually rescued by the Italian navy – far luckier than many who attempt the journey.

African migrants clinging to life on a tuna net

Photo: The 27 African migrants cling on to a tuna net platform as the tug boat's captain refuses to let them come aboard

Their small boat, which left Libya, ran adrift for six days and two fishing boats sent to rescue them never arrived.

On Wednesday, the tug boat, Budafel, allowed them to mount the net's walkway but would not land the men because he said he had $1m-worth of tuna in the pen.

He said taking the men to Malta would have taken 12 days. He informed the Maltese authorities who phoned the Libyans.

Malta would not take them – they are full to capacity and have had 157 illegal immigrants come ashore in the past five days.

Maltese tug

Photo: The Maltese tug, Budafel, reportedly had caught £1million of tuna which was why the captain refused to help the migrants to safety

Libyan authorities were due to sent a helicopter and thrown down a life raft – but Matlese prime minister Lawrence Gonzi said that was not enough.

Eventually they said they would pick the men up but they did not. Luckily, an Italian navy vessel, Orione, was nearby, searching for other migrants, 53 Eritreans, who had died in the waters.

By 9pm on Saturday night the men, from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan and other countries, were finally on their way to Sicily, weak and exhausted.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Egyptian UN soldier killed in Sudan's Darfur

Horrible news. Several news reports today say UN Military Staff Officer Lt-Col Ehab Nazih was killed in Darfur on Friday. The soldier's name seemed familiar, so I searched Werner's blog, Soldier of Africa, and, sadly, found this photo and caption by Werner, dated December 05, 2006.
UN NGO's Leave El Fashier

UN soldier in Darfur:  Ehab Nazih from Egypt

This is Ehab Nazih from Egypt. He arrived at our house two days ago and was going to stay with us in the house. He works for the UN and today he was told that the UN international staff in El Fashier are withdrawing from the town until the situation stabilises. Half an hour after I took this photo today he was at the airport ready to leave for Khartoum. Does the UN know something we do not? If so please let me know. My e-mail is

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Note, China's People's Daily news says "the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman confirmed to Xinhua that the victim was Lieutenant Colonel Ihab Ahmad". But UN news says:
The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) today condemned the killing, during an armed robbery, of one of its soldiers serving in Darfur.

The Mission vowed to cooperate with the Sudanese authorities to apprehend the killers of Lt. Colonel Nazih, and hold them accountable. UNMIS said it is also taking urgent measures, in coordination with the Sudanese authorities, to prevent further attacks of this nature from taking place.

The circumstances surrounding the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Ehab Nazih, a Military Staff Officer from Egypt, are still under investigation, according to UNMIS, which confirmed that late Friday, three armed men, wearing civilian clothes, broke into the private house he shared with seven other UNMIS staff.

After taking money and valuables from the other occupants of the house, the armed men moved to the victim's room and demanded money from Lt. Colonel Nazih, who gave them all the money he had and was then shot.

He was rushed to the a Hospital run by the African Union Mission in Darfur (AMIS), where he was pronounced dead, UNMIS said, offering thanks to "the AMIS staff and medical personnel who did all they could to save the life of their UNMIS colleague." [via - insert link]
From Reuters Khartoum 26 May 2007 [insert link]:
A U.N. officer deployed to Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region to support African Union peacekeepers has been killed by robbers at his residence in el-Fasher, an African Union spokesman said on Saturday.

The spokesman said the officer was an Egyptian national deployed to Darfur as part of a United Nations light support package to assist roughly 7,000 African Union peacekeepers trying to quell violence in Sudan's west.

"The robbers entered the house, shot the officer and took some property," AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni said. "He is an Egyptian military officer."

Mezni said the officer, a lieutenant colonel, was shot and wounded on Friday evening and died of his wounds on Saturday morning in el-Fasher, the capital of north Darfur state.

He said the man was killed at a rented house used by U.N. personnel working with AU peacekeepers. He said the house was located about 1 km from AU force headquarters in el-Fasher.

Mezni said the acting head of the African Union mission in Sudan, Monique Mukaruliza, had "expressed her shock and condemned the killing in the strongest terms".
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Tribute to the late Egyptian military of UN LSP Mission in Darfur

Update: Via Sudan Tribune May 26 May 2007 [insert link to] - excerpt
Yesterday night, at 2330hrs, three unidentified armed men scaled the walls of the home of Lieutenant-Colonel Ehrb Nazir, member of UNMIS and staff officer of the Light Support Package, from Egypt, and trying to rob him, shot at him.

Lt Col Nazir was born on 6 May 1967 in Cairo. He joined the Egyptian Army in 1988 and arrived in the mission on the 26 July 2006 and thereafter assigned to AMIS Headquarters in the Joint Logistics Operations Centre (JLOC). He made a sound contribution to AMIS operations and expected to end his one year tour of duty this July 2007. He previously participated in a UN PKO in Morocco. Minutes before the incidents, he had just finished a telephone conversation with his wife and the two daughters back home in Egypt.
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Death of a Soldier

Death of a Soldier

Photo: Two more AU soldiers from Nigeria have been killed in Darfur.  (Source: Soldier of Africa blog by Werner, K - Taken on March 11, 2007 - insert link)
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Five AU soldiers killed in Darfur

Posthumous AU medals

Photo: An army officer carries posthumous medals to be awarded to five Senegalese peacekeepers killed in Darfur during a memorial service in Dakar, April 12, 2007. Senegal said on Thursday it might withdraw its troops from the African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan's Darfur region unless the continental body took action to ensure the force was better equipped to defend itself. (Reuters/Diadie Ba Apr 12 2007)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

De Waal and Prendergast debate what to do about Darfur

Here's another must-read. A debate on solutions to ending war in Sudan will take place between John Prendergast and Alex de Waal on Wednesday May 30 2007. Via Darfur: An Unforgivable Hell on Earth:
ENOUGH in cooperation with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Genocide Intervention Network, and Social Science Research Council present:

What to do about Darfur?
A debate between John Prendergast and Alex de Waal
Metro: Smithsonian

Join us as two of the leading analysts on Darfur, John Prendergast, co-founder of ENOUGH and Alex de Waal, Social Science Research Council, discuss solutions to ending the genocide.
RSVP to or 202-314-0370
This event is free and open to the public. It is held at U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl, SW, Washington, DC 20024.
Metro: Smithsonian.

ENOUGH is a joint initiative, founded by the International Crisis Group and the Center for American Progress, to prevent and resolve genocide and mass atrocities. For more information, go to
The debate is bound to be interesting. Alex de Waal is an expert on Sudan's history and has first hand experience of Darfur's peace talks. I guess public donations, mainly from inside North America, fund people like Mr Prendergast to pressure the public and media to influence US government officials. Interestingly, how Sudanese and Chadian rebel leaders are financed rarely makes the news (if it has, I've missed most of it). Who knows, maybe African and Arab rebels are simply lured by promises of land and/or other booty or adventures. Private property and land ownership in areas like Darfur, does it exist? I wonder. Note, along with Sudan, DRC and N Uganda now come under the wing of John Prendergast's ENOUGH :: The project to abolish genocide and mass atrocities.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sudan: Darfur no-fly zone unworkable says top EU soldier

Via POTP May 22, 2007 report by Reuters' Mark John - excerpt:
A U.S.-backed proposal to stop Sudanese military aircraft flying over the war-ravaged western region of Darfur is technically unworkable, a top European Union soldier said on Tuesday.

President George W. Bush raised the prospect last month, and Britain wants the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone on Sudan as part of sanctions including broadening an arms ban.

But General Henri Bentegeat, the Frenchman who heads the EU's top military body, said [that] the size of the 500,000-square-km (200,000-square-mile) territory made such a plan unfeasible.

"A no-fly zone is technically impossible. Darfur is around the same size as France," Bentegeat, who heads the EU Military Committee on which the bloc's 27 member states coordinate defence policy, told Reuters in an interview.

"You would need at least 60 combat aircraft [in order] to enforce it correctly. And there would be the question of distinguishing between helicopters," Bentegeat warned of possibly lethal confusion between Sudanese, U.N. and other aircraft.

He said [that] there was no alternative to maintaining pressure on Khartoum to let international troops join a 7,000-strong African Union force that has so far failed to quell the violence.

"Darfur has descended into chaos," said Bentegeat, whose postings in the French army included Senegal and Djibouti. "The only viable solution is the deployment of a very large force that would throw a security net around the region."
Seems to me the only viable solution is for all Sudanese tribal leaders and rebels to commit to peace and reconciliation and agree on compensation asap. Otherwise this could go on for years, keeping the rebels and their leaders on easy street while 'their people' (mostly women and children) are killed or dispersed from land with potential oil and stuff. Sort out Darfur and another so-called rebellion will spring up elsewhere in Sudan, like in S Kordofan or along the Sudan-Chad border where, reportedly, there's unexplored oil. The USA is four times larger than Sudan. Sudan is a country as large and diverse as Europe.

Sudan: We wish the Reuters thing was webcast!!

More on Reuters' Darfur debate May 24 2007 - from Global Voices Online:
"Sudanese Thinker wishes the debate on Darfur was televised: “Told ya! I just wish this damn thing was freaking televized. I’m expecting a heated debate to go down especially since the Sudanese Ambassador to the U.N. is going to be present. I predict that he’ll get banged with many questions. It will be interesting to observe how he responds.
I’m tied up with many things at the moment but I’ll make time for this since I don’t want to miss it. Sudanese boys and girls in da house, blog your thoughts or drop a comment.”
Heh. Rock on Drima! Why no webcast? If there were a transcript, I'd mull over John Prendergast's commentary in the hope of getting some understanding of the rationale behind his warmongering stance on Sudan.
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UPDATE: Note Sudan Tribune article - "US presidential contender calls for military intervention in Darfur" - by Wasil Ali 22 May 2007.

UPDATE May 23 2007: The debate's started & being blogged at Jikomboe (hat tip May 24 2007 Global Voices Online must-read: Darfur: The Reality, the Agenda & the Proposed Solution)

And more re video available via Reuters at Global Voices Online � Join the Debate on Darfur 10am (EST) TODAY! finds Soldier of Africa Blog

Happy to note ComingAnarchy's insightful item on fascinating camels and Soldier of Africa Blog. Hi Werner!

Sudan: Reuters' Darfur debate online May 24 2007

Back on track, thanks to The Blogger Team. Lots to catch up on. More later. Meanwhile, in New York starting 9.30am EST Thursday May 24 2007, Reuters' Darfur Newsmaker will be holding an online debate/Q&A session entitled "Dealing with Darfur - what’s at stake?"
List of Panelists:
- Paul Holmes, Reuters (moderator)
- Ann Curry, NBC News
- Hedi Annabi, Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping U.N*
-Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, Sudanese Ambassador to the U.N
- John Prendergast, International Crisis Group
- Mia Farrow, Actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
- Lauren Landis, Senior Representative, Sudan, U.S. Department of State
Note, the above mentioned Sudanese Ambassador to the UN is featured in today's Sudan Tribune article by Wasil Ali entitled Sudan's envoy: Darfur "an issue for those who have no issue".

[* Reuters/Ed’s note May 24 2007: This post was updated to reflect Hedi Annabi has replaced Jean-Marie Guehenno, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, on the panel]

Further details at Global Voices Online.

UPDATE: Also today, The Sudanese Thinker blog (hi Drima!) urges fellow bloggers to "Join the Debate on Darfur on May 24".
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Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
Malcolm Forbes

History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Love Quote of the Day
The more you judge, the less you love.
Honore de Balzac

Famous Peace Quotes

Here below, I've starred two favourites and question marked four I don't understand:

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

One cannot subdue a man by holding back his hands. Lasting peace comes not from force.
David Borenstein

The pacifist's task today is to find a method of helping and healing which provides a revolutionary constructive substitute for war.
Vera Brittain

?I don't know whether war is an interlude during peace, or peace an interlude during war.
Georges Clemenceau

*I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

You don't have to have fought in a war to love peace.
Geraldine Ferraro

?Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.
Benjamin Franklin

He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all he knows or all he sees.
Benjamin Franklin

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
Mohandas Gandhi

It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.
Andre Gide

The pursuit of peace and progress cannot end in a few years in either victory or defeat. The pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned.
Dag Hammarskjold

Yes, we love peace, but we are not willing to take wounds for it, as we are for war.
John Andrew Holmes

Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.
Thomas Jefferson

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
John F. Kennedy

?War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebrums and smaller adrenal glands.
H. L. Mencken

Fair peace becomes men; ferocious anger belongs to beasts.

It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.
Eleanor Roosevelt

A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued, and neither party loser.
William Shakespeare

Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.
Baruch Spinoza

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Mother Teresa

?Peace begins with a smile.
Mother Teresa

Peace hath higher tests of manhood, than battle ever knew.
John Greenleaf Whittier

Source: via without reason

Thursday, March 01, 2007

URGENT MESSAGE to European Union: AU still not paying its peace force in Sudan's Darfur

African Mission in Sudan

Please take a moment to think about the terrain and people pictured here below and wonder why African peacekeepers in Darfur are still having to wait months on end for their pay. After all that has been said and done about Darfur over the past four years, I find it sickening that nobody, not even the savedarfurcrowd (puke - see below) or Sudan and its neighbours, cares about the welfare of African peacekeepers in Darfur.

By now, there's no excuse, heads should roll. It's a scandal involving billions of taxpayers' euros and dollars. AU personnel in Darfur, far away from home and family for 6 months at a time, risk their health and lives to help the Sudanese and tens of thousands of aid workers. I say, without a shadow of a doubt, given the circumstances, AMIS personnel have been let down badly by everyone, including the people of Sudan, African Union and Arab League.

To add insult to injury (ie forced to work for free) AMIS have to endure hostile locals (see below) who don't understand AMIS' mandate. AMIS was permitted into Darfur to help protect the observers of a ceasefire agreement. The 10,000 UN peacekeepers in South Sudan are there through an historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by all sides. Darfur's Peace Agreement (DPA) has no such clause (long story). In Darfur there is no peace to keep. Darfur rebels and other Sudanese citizens started falling out and fighting each other before the DPA'S ink had dried.

From the outset of the rebellion, slick media-savvy rebels, some residing outside of Sudan in countries such as USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Chad, Eritrea (and many others) made extensive use of the world's press to pressure and engineer UN troops onside, which I believe is one of the reasons why Khartoum is against UN troops in Darfur - it would embolden the rebels and cause all sorts of mayhem, encouraging other lowlife opportunists. (See JEM. The International Crisis Group noted that JEM's president Mr Khalil Ibrahim "is a veteran Islamist and former state minister who sided with the breakaway (Popular Congress) in 2002 and went into exile in the Netherlands ... there is additionally evidence of some level of involvement of al-Qaeda with the Islamist JEM organisation")

The Darfur rebels have done everything within their power to manipulate the media, even going as far as to provoke attacks from Sudanese forces and janjaweed, blocking aid access in order to attract attention to denigrate Khartoum and AMIS and succeed in their coup. Imagine the nonsense and propaganda they've conveyed to masses of illiterate locals with no access to world news. Some of the first reports to come out of the Darfur on the rebellion quoted Sudanese people who, when translated, sounded very strange, flowery and exotic in their choice of words> It wasn't long before I noticed eyewitness accounts sounded strangely westernised, I wondered if they were primed by rebels. I think this is one of the reasons why Khartoum gets so up in the air over rape reports. Can you tell the difference between an unarmed Sudanese rebel and a Sudanese civilian? Or Sudanese forces and the Janjaweed? (See 14 Nov 2004 BBC report Frustration of Darfur 'observer')

Although AMIS does not have the mandate of a full protection force (long story, read this blog) millions of illiterate Darfurians will never know how lucky they've been to even have AMIS on the ground monitoring what's going on. Darfur is extremely dangerous. Reporters aren't allowed in many areas. Aid workers are restricted and need to remain neutral. Thank goodness AMIS is there to help, witness and document issues concerning all sides. Given today's communications technology, I feel confident they are in a position to share intelligence, blow the whistle and leak alerts. I say, why not hand out wind-up radios for Darfurians to tune in to BBC World Service Trust radio project in Darfur? I'd love to hear from anyone who has heard Darfur Salaam, does the signal reach Chad?

If necessary, AMIS' soldiers will shoot in self defence but are mandated to remain neutral. They are there to protect military observers monitoring a ceasefire agreement and IDP camps. Put yourself in their boots and imagine the difficulties and logistics of establishing bases in Darfur, a region the size of France or Jordan. Not to mention all the confusion, shuffling of paper, reports and translations. Take a look at the first photo here below. I couldn't do their job for all the tea in China. Could you? If so, would you expect to be paid, and on time? How would you manage your bills if you worked for no pay? What would you tell your family? Imagine the stress and worry, not to mention troop morale. (An aside: please see last line of Jan Pronk's blog entry 24 Feb 2007 conveying a heartfelt message to peacekeepers).

After the miles of reports I've read, covering the work carried out by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to help Darfur with outside troops, writing this story is now making me cry. I was born into British military life. The British Army runs like clockwork. I've seen first hand how Canada and the US also take good care of their troops. No pay packet? Inconceivable! In a war zone with two young children to bring up, my mother would have hit the roof!

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world, many in positions of power and influence, follow daily news on Sudan but nobody cares enough to rectify this grossly unfair situation. The Holy Bible says it is wrong to withold the pay, even for a day, of hired workers. Professional soldiers deserve to be treated respectfully. Not paying them is a slap in their face and, I feel, sullies the reputation of EU funding. Just like you, AU soldiers have homes, families, food expenses and bills to pay. They are gainfully employed, not amateurs working for amusement or pin money.

Who knows what is really going on? Surely the UN chief of staff, pictured here below, is aware of the situation. Perhaps the African Union is starving its mission in Sudan (AMIS) of hard cash in order to secure UN funding, training and support or it regards peacekeepers' pay a low priority, or what? I can't think of another reason because this widely reported issue has gone on far too long. I find it hard to believe the EU is lying when it says it has paid the AU (see June 1, 2006: What's going on? AU Mission in Darfur costs $1 billion a year - SA troops in Darfur still waiting to be paid: EU said there was no delay in funding.

The EU gave birth to the AU, an historic initiative costing millions (maybe billions) of euros to empower Africans and enable them to provide African solutions for African problems. Drima, The Sudanese Thinker tells us about Sudan's diversity and identity crisis: Sudanese folk see their country as Afro-Arab, not African. I'm not aware of the Arab League coughing up funds for the African Union's mission in Darfur, are you? Sudan's President Bashir says of his country, "We're all Africans, we're all black - talk of Arabs killing blacks is a lie". (Also, see Feb 17 2007 Interview: Sudanese President Bashir)

Contrary to what you might have read, quality news reports from Africa tell us there is no shortage of African soldiers willing to serve on peacekeeping missions. African countries are saying they can't commit troops until they know all what's involved. I guess this could be made clear if the UN's chief receives a reply to his letter sent to Mr Bashir re a crucial phase of the new AU-UN hybrid force. (See Feb 16 2007: Sudan's Plan for Darfur - Letter from UN's Ban to Sudan's Bashir Jan 24 remains unanswered)

Please don't miss this copy of a Soldier of Africa blog entry by Werner, a South African soldier (and great blogger) currently serving in Darfur:
Feb 28 2007
Last night I went to Zamzam and took this photo of some of the sixty Egyptians who have finished their mission. Thirty three of them should have left on 05 December, but since they had not yet received their money they were forced to stay to wait for the money. According to my calculations the inability of the AU to pay these Military Observers has already resulted in the AU losing $252 450 and with the inclusion of the twenty seven Egyptian CIVPOL members who ended their mission days ago that amount has gone up sharply. Every day they stay here means the AU loses more money. It would make sense that to pay them on time would have resulted in a massive saving. Constantly the AU approaches especially EU countries for more funds and these countries just give, but maybe somebody should start asking some questions. The last time I was paid was three weeks ago when I was paid up to November 2006. If there is a legitimate problem with the AU paying us then why do they not inform us of the problem? The AU's constant silence leaves me with a list of unanswered questions that, if asked, will leave them squirming in their seats. The time is fast approaching that many of these questions have to be answered.
And one of the comments posted:
Anonymous said...
yes please we want our money...we do not like working for free if we give all that we can for this mission...
This rotten problem has irked me so much over the past three years (Kalma Camp is another), I am ceasing this blog in protest until I find news of the issue being resolved. My round-up of media reports and blog entries relating to ICC will have to wait. Sorry, I feel this is more important.


Photo: An AMIS outpost in Darfur. There are more than 25 of these bases scattered over 8 sectors. (Photo/caption via Soldier of Africa)



Photo: The people of El Fashier demonstrating against the UN taking over from AMIS. (Photo/caption via Soldier of Africa) Photo taken Jan 17, 2006, posted to Flickr Nov 27, 2006.



Photo: Soldiers of AMIS being used to protect the force commander. Not that his life is in any danger. (Photo/caption via Soldier of Africa)

Maj Wolmarans


Photo: Maj L. Wolmarans, the commanding officer at Mahla. (Photo/caption via Soldier of Africa) Photo taken Nov 22, 2006.

Priests on Tarmac


Photo: The death of another member of AMIS. I did not take this photo. (Photo/caption via Soldier of Africa) Photo taken July 10, 2005.

Also, see Feb 17 2007 news report Sixth Rwandan peacekeeper dies in Darfur.

UN Chief of Staff


Photo: UN Chief of Staff of the new hybrid force in Darfur reading a document. (Photo/caption via Soldier of Africa) Photo taken on Jan 7, 2007, posted to Flickr Jan 8 2007.
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As mentioned above, here is a copy of an email received from David Rubenstein, Save Darfur Coalition, Wed 19:15 GMT Feb 28 2007.
Dear Supporter,

New Goal, 10 Hours Left

Help us raise the $88,142 we need to reach our new $300,000 goal by midnight tonight.

Your gift will help us expand our crucial efforts - click here to donate now.

The commitment of the Save Darfur Coalition's supporters is truly inspiring.

We're 10 hours away from the midnight deadline and 3,595 people have already contributed $211,858 to our February fundraising campaign!

Thanks to them, we have exceeded our original $200,000 goal. Because there is so much more work to do, we now hope to achieve a new goal: $300,000 for Darfur by midnight tonight.

Can you help us get there? Click here to make your secure, tax-deductible gift now.

With your help, the Coalition is raising awareness of the crisis, putting our global leaders' feet to the fire to demand action, and bringing hope to the innocent people in Darfur in the process.

But we need to do more in order to stop the genocide and bring the killing, rape, mutilation and terror to an end.

And we need your help to make that possible.

Please consider making a secure, tax-deductible donation to help us expand our crucial advocacy efforts on behalf of the innocent men, women and children of Darfur. Click here to donate now.

This month marks the fourth anniversary of the start of the horrific violence in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Darfurians have lost their lives, and millions more have been displaced from their homes.

The violence in Darfur will continue until enough of us decide to take a stand.

We need your help to ratchet our efforts up another notch and make this year the last year of this genocide.

There are only a few hours left before the deadline. Please click here now to make a secure, tax-deductible gift to help us expand our efforts to save Darfur.

Once you've made your gift, please consider forwarding this message to your family and friends and asking them to join you in making a last-minute gift to help end the genocide in Darfur.

Thank you again for helping us to bring hope to the innocent people of Darfur.

Best regards,

David Rubenstein
Save Darfur Coalition
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UN'S Pronk: Hidden forces undermining Sudanese president authority

Don't miss Wasil Ali's fascinating interview (Sudan Tribune 12 Feb 2007) with the former UN Secretary General envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk of The Netherlands.
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Photo: I took this photo from the guard tower earlier today. As you can see the sky was still dusty. In the foreground one can see the coloured concrete platform from where the guard of honour take up position every morning to salute the Force Commander and any visiting VIP's. Feb 25 2007. (Photo/caption via Soldier of Africa)
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Stuck between a rock and a hard place

Mar 1 2007 SA News 24 report - 'No military solution in Darfur' - excerpt:
The African Union's chief administrator on Wednesday said the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region cannot be solved militarily, and urged all sides to adhere to a peace agreement.

AU Commission chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare lamented that only one Darfur rebel group has signed a peace accord reached in Abuja, Nigeria, in May 2006 aimed at ending the civil war.

"We have always been convinced that the problem does not have a military solution and that we must continue working to make all Sudanese - the government and rebel movements - adhere to the Abuja accord," Konare said at a news conference alongside Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim in Brazil.

"When we had to ask for UN troops, we asked, and we want it. But unfortunately, due to trust problems, we have not obtained this," Konare said.
See Feb 24 2007 AU says it does not have the capacity to end Darfur rebellion.
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See Feb 18 2007 news report - Sudan welcomes EU envoy for DDDC.
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Town Hall Meeting

UN Town Hall meeting in Sudan

Photo from Jan Pronk's Weblog along with this excerpt:
Since my departure from Sudan, having been declared persona non grata by the Government of Sudan, my deputy Mr. Taye Zerihoun, has taken over as Officer in Charge. Taye Zerihoun had been the Principal Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Sudan. In that capacity he had in particular dealt with political affairs. The second deputy, Manuel Aranda da Silva, will continue as well. He is dealing in particular with humanitarian affairs and fulfills at the same time the position of United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.

This picture has been taken at a so called Town Hall meeting attended by all staff of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, two weeks before my departure on 24 October.

From left to right: Taye Zerihoun, Jan Pronk, Manuel Aranda da Silva. Photo: Frederic Noy
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See Sep 29 2006 AP report - UN's Pronk calls for AU force to be extended indefinitely.
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Notable Quote

"To save Darfur, start studying history."

By Elliot Stoller, a student at OPRF High School, USA, 27 Feb 2007 via
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Are you a Sudanese living abroad?

Via Sudanese blogger BLACK KUSH:
Are you a Sudanese living abroad? Do you want to go home and serve your country?

The UNDP TOKTEN programme is the best for you. Let us turn the brain drain to brain gain. Your country needs you!
Good luck. Peace and love. Ingrid.

On guard