Two pieces of information came to my attention which may help to explain
the crises in Darfur. At our weekly Thursday Organizing Meeting to Save
Darfur, Rev. Herbert Oliver gave me a DVD of a lecture that Dr. John
Henrik Clarke had done in the 1980’s. The production was done
under the auspices of the African Peoples Christian Organization (APCO).
APCO was founded in the early 80’s to synthesize spirituality,
Afrocentric and activism in a movement. The filming was done by Min.
Dr. Clarke subject was, The Religions of Islam, Christianty and Judaism.
His thesis was,
“These Religions Had An African Origin.” He drew a sharp
distinction between Arabism and the reiligion of Islam. He had no criticism
for Islam. But, he was critical of Arab leadership which had used Islam
in their conquest and subjugation of African people and in their expansion
in Africa. They, according to Dr. Clarke, had so mingled Arabism with
Islam that it had blinded the minds of countless Africans who could
not distinguish between the religion of Islam and Arab culture. So when
they embraced the one they embraced the other or they embraced the whole
package. Dr. Clarke was critical of the Sudanese government even back
We must always remember that the Arabs had been trafficking, exploiting,
colonizing and enslaving in Africa almost a thousand years before the
Transatlantic Slave Trade. I have criticized Muslims of African Ancestry
for not denouncing and disassociating themselves from some Arab Muslims
for their treatment of Africans here and abroad. Just as Black Christians
had to castigate and disassociate themselves from some white Christians
who were dehumanizing, enslaving and colonizing African people, Arab
Muslims needed to do likewise. There are, even to the present, rumors
of Arab enslavement of Africans. Moreover, it is widely believed by
many African leaders and Africans in the Diaspora, especially Darfurian
leaders (I have conferred with them), that the crisis in Darfur is Arab
leaders expansionism. The Omar El Bashir government had attempted to
expand in Southern Sudan, which is primarily Christian and traditional
religion, but was defeated 2003 – after a 21 year war.
The second piece of information came from an article written by Steve
Bloomfield in the New York Beacon, July 26 – August 1, 2007 edition.
Because of the relevance and importance of the article, I ‘m going
to take the liberty to extensively quote from it:
Arabs pile into Darfur to take land ‘cleansed’ by
Arabs from Chad and Niger are crossing into Darfur in “unprecedented”
numbers, prompting claims that the Sudanese government is trying systematically
to repopulate the war-ravaged region.
An internal UN report, obtained by The Independent, shows that up to
30,000 Arabs have crossed the border in the past two months. Most arrived
with all their belongings and large flocks. They were greeted by Sudanese
Arabs who took them to empty villages cleared by government and janjaweed
One UN official said the process “appeared to have been well planned.”
The official continued: “This movement is very large. We have
not seen such numbers come into west Darfur before.” The UN refugee
agency, UNHCR, sent a team to the border with Chad at the end of May
to interview the new arrivals.
Fighting in eastern Chad has been steadily increasing and it was thought
that many could be refugees. But only a very small number have required
support from UNHCR. “Most have been relocated by Sudanese Arabs
to former villages of IDPs (internally displaced people) and more or
less invited to stay there,” said the UN official.
The arrivals have been issued with official Sudanese identity cards
and awarded citizenship, and analysts say that by encouraging Arabs
from Chad, Niger and other parts of Sudan to move to Darfur the Sudanese
government is making it “virtually impossible” for displaced
people to return home.
James Smith, chief executive of the Aegis Trust, said the revelations
proved that the Sudanese government was “cynically trying to change
the demographics of the whole region,” adding: “If the ethnic
cleansing has been consolidated because the land has been repopulated
it will become irreversible. The peace process will fall to pieces.”
Repopulation has also been happening in south Darfur where Arabs from
elsewhere in Sudan have been allowed to move into villages that were
once home to local tribes.
Aid agency workers said the Arabs were presented as “returning
IDPs.” Before the conflict started in 2003, Darfur was home to
seven million people, mainly from three African tribes – Fur,
Marsalit and Zargahwa.
Darfur literally translates as “Land of the Fur.” But some
2.5 million have now been forced to flee their homes after attacks by
Sudanese troops and planes, and Arab militia on horse-back known as
Janjaweed. Most are now in camps around Darfur’s main towns, relying
on handouts from international aid agencies. About 250,000 have become
refugees in Chad.
A further 1.5 million have been affected by the conflict, meaning at
least four million people are now reliant on the 80 or so international
aid agencies in the region. More than 200,000 people are believed to
have been killed so far during the four-and-a-half-year conflict. And
if Khartoum is moving Arabs from abroad to replace them, diplomats fear
that Darfur rebels may try to remove them forcibly. “It could
be quite explosive,” said one western diplomat. “It is a
very serious situation.”
In Mauritania and Sudan, both countries long ruled by Arabs, black African
tribes have suffered most. In Mali, Niger and Chad, the Arab and Tuareg
nomads have been suppressed. Towards the end of last year, Niger announced
that it planned forcibly to remove more than 150,000 Arab nomads into
Many of the Arabs, known as Mahamid, moved from Chad in the 1970’s
after a serious drought. Although the government later rescinded the
order, it is thought that many decided to return to Chad voluntarily.
Apart from the 30,000 Arabs from Chad and Niger cited in the UNHCR report
there have been consistent rumors that a further 45,000 Arabs from Niger
have also crossed over. For most nomads citizenship means very little;
the lines that separate the countries f the Sahel have not created a
sense of nationality. But, for the Khartoum regime, it could be pivotal.
Elections are to be held in two years, the first since President Omar
al-Bashir seized power in a coup in 1989. Although opinion polling is
not very advanced, it is thought that no party is likely to win an overall
By providing citizenship for the new arrivals, one Khartoum-based diplomat
said, “President Bashir could be hoping to bolster his election
chances. For the Arabs who have crossed into Darfur there are both push
and pull factors.
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House
of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @
BCAT Program every 2nd and 4th Sunday @ 2p.m.For further Information
on all events, contact The House of the Lord Church @ (718) 596-1991
Our Annual Freedom Walk #4 – covering the Underground Railroad,
the African Burial Ground in Manhattan, on to the landing site of Frederick
Douglass, will take place this Saturday, 8/18/07 @ 9am. Each year we
visit historic sites used by the Underground Railroad. Starting at the
House of the Lord Church with a continental breakfast and a historical
overview, after which, we visit many of the houses that were used by
the Underground Railroad, along with the old Bridge Street Church, the
Plymouth Church, etc. Downtown Brooklyn was the center 0of the anti-slavery
Special Appeal: By the time this newspaper hit the
stands, our shipment of 700 boxes will have arrived in Douala, Cameroon.
It will remain there 7 days for processing. From there, it will travel
over land to the Gaga refugee camp in Chad. The trip will take approximately
10 days. We have an urgent need for finances to defray cost for shipment
and transportation. Total cost is estimated around $22,000 to $23,000.
We have received generous support, and will publicize our donors unless
instructed otherwise. We need to hear from you as soon as possible.
You can make checks payable to the National Religious Leaders of African
Ancestry Concerned About Darfur, Inc. or “NRLAA” for short.
Mail to: The House of the Lord Church at 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn,
New York 11217. (Considering our 501(c)3 status has not yet been granted
by the IRS, please check with your financial advisors regarding the
deductible status of your donation.)
Correction: Last week’s article stated 70 boxes
were shipped – t he accurate number is 700 boxes were shipped.