Journal of the People’s Pastor

“Writing The History I’ve Lived, Living The History I Write!”

DARFUR DIARY

Darfur Diary: Part IX – My Journey To Chad, Central Africa
“Return to Abecha”


Monday, March 26, 2008

After Yahya and his friend awakened, about 7:30am, we had an interesting conversation regarding the history of Sudan and the Arab suppression of blacks or indigenous Africans. Yahya related that 4 million people had been killed in the South of Sudan, in a 23-year war. Yet, the atrocities never gained public attention and/or support. I reminded him about 10 years ago, Simeon Deng, a man from the South Sudan, came by my church to ask my help. I did make public statements at the time, but the issue never gained the kind of public attention and support that Darfur has. We wondered why.

Yahya mentioned a book had been written on the subject of Slavery in Sudan. He thought that the Sudanese government propaganda had been expertly done. He mentioned one of the tricks the Sudanese government did. They paid a South Sudanese to say, when asked about slavery; they made it up to get money. The Washington Post was fooled and reported there was no slavery in Sudan. The South fought for 23 years, as stated, before finally winning semi-autonomy in 2005. In 2011, a referendum will determine what the South want.

In the interim, there is a President of the South, elected by the people of the South, who is also a Vice President in the central government. Interestingly, one of the pieces in the agreement, Sudan central government could not be charged with war crimes or crimes against humanity. We discussed the present charges against members of the Sudanese government and the Janjeweeds, which is curious. In other instances, the head of the government is charged. Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, was charged with the death of many people, which allegedly his aides were accused of doing. The El Bashir government has killed millions, yet he is not charged.

Moreover there is an admission by the Sudanese government that at least 9,000 people have died. Also, the government says, it will conduct its own trial. Yet, there is no mention in the UN and other nations about charges against El Bashir.

We discussed the history of Arab / Black relationships. “Arabs," I said, “Have been given a free pass. They have been as vicious as the Europeans. In fact, set the stage for European barbarism, yet, no criticism.” I said, “Black Muslims have to confront Arab Muslims on their racism, cruelty, slavery and colonization as black Christians had to confront white Christians.” I reminded Yahya what the rebel leader Ibrahim said, “No Muslim had supported them. The Jews, Americans and white Christians were supportive, but not the Muslims.” “How sad,” I said. “How painfully sad.”

It was 9:30am when the men returned with the tire. Once it was put on the car, again we headed towards Abeche. The road was consistently horrible. “All the years the French were here they didn’t fix these road,” I said. “No, they didn’t,” said Yahya. “They were after the resources. They could get helicopters to fly them where they wanted to go.”

There was a difference in the roads now. There really wasn’t much of what we called roads. There were no paths across the arid terrain. The driver had to have exceptional dexterity as well as knowledge of the road.

I marveled as I watched the driver pick his way across the hard, sometimes soft, always dirt-opened space. There were sharp drops and mounds of dirt on the desert floor. There were trees, and some grass and shrubbery. Yahya said, “Ten years ago, this area was a thick forest.” I looked out across the dry, hot, sandy horizon with scattered trees and bushes and couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Occasionally, herdsmen and women came by or could be seen driving their sheep, goats and or cattle and or camels. Sometimes, they were walking with sad face donkeys carrying big bags on either side of their small bodies. “Are they Bedouin?” I asked. “Yes, they have been traveling in the same way thousands of years,” said Yahya.

After passing the Libyans humanitarian depot, the University, homes and land surrounded by mud brick walls, we arrived at the Abeche Hotel. The place we left Friday, March 23rd. It was now 11:00am.

After we had settled in, talking in the sitting area, (they had a new old couch) suddenly there came a hissing sound. Was it a snake? We wondered. If so, it was very nearby. But, it was the tire going flat again. We watched as the air slowly escaped. “Thank God,” I said. “We are in the courtyard at the hotel.”

After eating lunch/dinner, tomatoes, carrots, avocados, our first stop was the governor of the eastern region. The eastern region covered what was once known as Timbuktu or the Wadai Kingdom. There are six regions in Darfur. We never got to see the governor. We were told, he was meeting with generals, and we assumed it had to do with military operation. The tension was still thick in the area. The threat of rebels against the Chadian government and/or Sudanese bombing created a state of high alert.

We returned to the hotel. I wondered if we were going to have the same bureaucratic problems we had before. As I retired for bed, I made up in my mind I was not leaving until I had visited a refugee camp. I fell asleep putting my resolution and myself in God’s hand.

Upcoming Events

Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday Night Community Forums. All Forums are held at the House of the Lord Church from 7pm to 9pm.

Join Operation Life Line if you need assistance or know someone who needs assistance with their mortgages as it relates to foreclosures, predatory lending and/or subprime lending.

Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday from 2pm to 4pm.

Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @ HYPERLINK "http://www.holnj.org" www.holnj.org.

On June 19–20, 2008, in honor of Juneteenth, The Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) will host its Annual Emancipation Day Celebration. At 12noon on the 20th there will be an Unveiling & Dedication of a Plaque marking the stop on the Underground Railroad at the Old Bridge Street Church, which served as a safe house for runner away slaves. Many invited guest speakers. A Luncheon (invitation only) will follow with Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry, as the keynote speaker. At 7pm, there will be a musical concert, free to the public, at the House of the Lord Church featuring The House of the Lord Anointed Voices, the renowned singer, Minister Lawrence Craig, Bishop Nathaniel Townsley & The Gospel Jubilee and many others. Dinner will start at 5pm (No cost with reservation). Contact Peggy Iman Washington, the Program Coordinator, @ (718) 596-1991 or (718) 797-2184.
On Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 2pm the 30th Annual Randolph Evans Memorial Scholarship Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held at the House of the Lord Church. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke will be the keynote speaker.

NEED QUALITY CHILD CARE? – Call the Alonzo A. Daughtry Memorial Daycare Center Located at 333 Second Street, (Between 4th & 5th Avenues) downtown Brooklyn, NY @ (718) 499-2066. Immediate openings in a state of the arts center.