Monday, April 12, 2010

Great news report from Khartoum, Sudan by Alex de Waal

Good for Sudan
From Making Sense of Sudan
By Alex de Waal
Monday, 12 April 2010

The last two days I have been in Khartoum, on the phone and email to people in all corners of Sudan. Places like Bor, Renk, Damazin, Aweil, Geneina, ed Da’ien, Hamush Koreb, Kadugli.

Names seared into the memory. Places where I took photographs of burned villages and disfigured survivors, or wrote accounts of misery and destruction. Some places that I never visited, but which were described to me by escapees who detailed their imprisonment, violation, hunger and despair. As Deborah Scroggins wrote of the displaced camps along the railway line to the south in 1988, these were “places so sad that the mind grows queasy trying to understand them.” For the last 24 years, since I spent Sudan’s last multi-party election day in the village of Nankose, south of Zalingei, whenever I received a message from one of these places, it was usually to report a story of execution, starvation, or forced displacement. My questions were, who is dead and who is alive, who is in prison and who is still free?

Today the questions are, did the ballots arrive in time? Were all the names on the electoral roll? What was the voter turnout?
Quietly, with dignity, with apprehension and sometimes with confusion and frustration, millions of Sudanese are voting. Good for them.

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