The country of Sudan has long been a humanitarian nightmare. The problems there have been unenthusiastically dealt with by the West, who issue declarations and arrange negotiations, but leave the work on the ground to international aid organizations and ineffective African Union forces. Compared with the outcry and action taken in response to war crimes in former Yugoslavia, the Western response has been tepid at best. Without the ‘Western oppressor’ factor, there is no great urgency to find effective and practical solutions to the problem.
A primary cause of Sudan’s woes is President Field Marshal Omar al-Bashir, who, since his 1989 overthrow of democratically elected president Sadeq al Mahdi, has collected for himself the positions of head of state, prime minister, head of the armed forces, and minister of defense. He has dissolved the parliament and imposed severe restrictions on the press.
In 1991, al-Bashir imposed Sharia law in northern Sudan, complete with Muslim judges and the Public Order Police. Al-Bashir ousted militarily the speaker of the parliament, Hassan al-Turabi, in 1999.
Many confuse the ongoing Darfur crisis with the 19 year-long Sudanese civil war. The Sudanese civil war, which dsiplaced millions of southerners, was fought mainly along religious lines, Muslim and Christian. As it came to a close in 2003 and 2004, the Darfur situation intensified. It is being fought more along ethnic lines, between the nomadic Baggara Arab Janjaweed militiamen and black sedentary southern tribesmen, both Muslim.
An interesting facet of the crisis is its reception in the Arab media. A common theme is the claim that Western and Jewish attention comes from a desire to deflect attention from their crimes in Israel and Iraq. This attitude, which resounds with their audience, is a form of cognitive egocentrism on the part of the Arab media, assuming that we would behave as their governments do (using and exacerbating the Palestinian issue to deflect domestic and international criticism). Jihad al-Khazen, prolific anti-Israel writer for Al-Hayat, wrote about the ‘micro-Holocaust’ of Sabra and Chatilla and other crimes that Israel’s cabal in America covers up with their support of a resolution to the Darfur issue.
Ayoon Wa Azan ( The Law Of The Jungle )
Jihad el-Khazen Al-Hayat – 19/09/07//
I wish that every Arab capital and large city had participated in the international protest day against the Darfur massacre in which around 200,000 were killed; another 2,5 million have been displaced since 2003 following a local military insurgency against the government of Khartoum that is accused of arming the Arab Janjaweed militias to kill local African citizens, an accusation denied by the government of President Omar al-Bashir.
On Sunday demonstrations were staged in New York, Tokyo, European capitals, and even in Mongolia and Nigeria. In the list of participating countries I found out that Egypt is the only Arab country and I learnt that the number of Egyptian participants was limited.
What happened in Darfur is a real humanitarian disaster and we hope that the meeting of thirteen insurgent groups and the Sudanese government to be held next month will put an end to it. The meeting comes as a result of great efforts exerted by Mark Malloch Brown, the British Foreign Office Minister for Africa, Asia and the United Nations.
I do not underestimate the magnitude of the disaster in Darfur and I condemn all those who stained their hands with innocent blood but I add the following comments.
Efforts are made by pro-Israeli groups, especially in New York, to divert attention from the crimes Israel has perpetrated against the Palestinians by focusing on Darfur, which I say for the second and third time is a real tragedy and a catastrophe that must not be denied.
Protests against Darfur coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacres in which around a thousand Palestinians were massacred during 36 hours under the supervision of the Israeli forces led by Ariel Sharon. Sabra and Shatila represent a micro ‘Holocaust’ that no one in New York remembers at least for one day. They rather remind us every day of the Nazi Holocasut sixty years after it happened, though it was indisputably the most serious crime of the 20th century. Most of the Sunday Darfur supporters are true peace lovers; they include famous activists and international figures such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, actors, actresses, and singers known for their opposition to the war. On the other hand, there is the Israel group which is part of the American war cabal that dragged the Bush administration into the war on Iraq and it is now planning another disastrous war on Iran.
I claim that the American-Israeli evil cabal is focusing on Darfur to divert attention from Israel’s daily crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians. It also means to divert attention from American war crimes perpetrated against Iraq where as a result of this war, a million Iraqis have been killed so far, another 2,5 million have been forced to leave their country, and another 2 million have been displaced on Iraqi land. The country has also been almost totally devastated and the majority of its people are left between famine and diseases.
While the entire world was expressing its support for Darfur on the 16th of this month, I was reading on the same day a translation of the following news item broadcast by the Israeli army radio: ‘Last night a Fatah terrorist was killed in a battle with parachutists in the Balata Camp in Naplous. The man was suspected of planting a bomb in the area.’ If he was really armed, he is considered a freedom fighter following forty years of an uninterrupted criminal occupation. And if terrorism exists, it is in the news item broadcast by the IDF radio that condemns this army as mentioned in the news item, no more, no less. It says that the ‘terrorist’ i.e. the struggler ‘was suspected of …’, which means he was murdered on the basis of suspicion while being in an occupied land. Such is the Israeli law of the jungle enforced in Palestinian territories with the help of all American administrations and even this administration whose negativity outdoes that of the occupiers’ government.
On the anniversary of Darfur, Sabra and Shatila, and the Balata Camp martyr, I requested the figures from the B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Indeed, I go back to the figures regularly, and every time I read them I find out that the Palestinian death toll resulting from Israeli crimes has increased in comparison with previous figures.
The B’Tselem figures covering the period from 29/9/2000, i.e. the beginning of the second Intifada, and up to the end of last month are very detailed. They include the death toll among the Palestinians, the Israelis, foreigners, the civilians and minors from both sides, and each figure in turn is detailed. As I need to sum up the discussion, I choose the general number which reveals that 4233 Palestinians have been killed at the hands of the Israeli security forces, against 804 Israelis who have been killed at the hands of the Palestinians. This means that the Israeli forces are four times more terrorist-prone than all the Palestinian groups.
Out of the above mentioned figures, B’Tselem comes up with another two figures according to which 857 Palestinian minors were killed by Israeli bullets, against 119 Israeli minors killed by the Palestinians. This makes Israel seven times more terrorist than Palestinian groups as far as the killing of minors is concerned.
Does the reader wish to have another figure? According to B’Tselem 2019 Palestinians were killed without participating in resistance, though they have the right to do it.
I hope that the world does not forget the Nazi Holocaust and the six million Jews killed in it, and I also hope that the world remembers once a year Sabra and Shatila. In addition, I hope that Darfur does not divert attention from the crimes perpetrated by the occupiers in Palestine and Iraq.
Sudan Sunrise is a Christian organization founded by Sudanese Christians to bring aid to Darfurian refugees, Muslims who fought against them in the Sudanese civil war. Manute Bol has been working with the organization, and is using his name recognition to bring attention to the crisis. Bol is from the same tribe as Francis Piol Bol Bok of the American Anti-Slavery Group, who is also active in Sudan Sunrise.
MEDIA ADVISORY-Former NBA Star, Manute Bol will hold a press conference and rally on Tuesday, January 1 at 12:30 p.m. on the West Steps of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.
Bol will be joined by hundreds of Sudanese U.S. Citizens to demand the candidates address the ongoing genocide in Darfur, as well as the human rights atrocities and slavery that continues in Sudan. All of the candidates are invited to participate in the press conference.
Not only has the U.S. listed the Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993, but as the largest country in Africa and the 10th largest country in the world, Sudan is crucial to U.S. foreign policy.
January 1st marks 52 years of Sudan’s independence from British rule, yet most of the people living in Sudan today cannot celebrate freedom because of their oppressive government.
Manute Bol is the second tallest player ever to appear in the National Basketball Association. At 7’7″, Bol used his hands and incredible wingspan to become one of the NBA’s all-time leading shot blockers. He had his greatest impact on the defensive end during a 10-year career with four different teams, blocking over 2,000 shots and finishing second on the NBA’s all-time blocks-per-game list.
Off the court, Bol has focused most of his energy on helping his native country of Sudan which continues to struggle through civil war, genocide and slavery. Currently a Kansas resident, Bol was born on October 16, 1962 in Sudan. He is the son of a Dinka tribal chief.