Journal of the People’s Pastor

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


Darfur Diary: Part V – My Journey To Chad, Central Africa
Continuing the Meeting with Khalid Ibrahim

Thursday, March 22, 2007 (Part B)

We arrived at the camp of the Sudan Liberation Army at 5:00pm. About the same time we had entered the camp of JEM. At one point, there was only the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement. Then came the split. So now, there are different factions of the SLA/M.

This camp was much larger than the JEM camp. There were more trees and hills and nature and man-made fortification. There appeared to be more solders scattered all around. I was introduced to the President, Khamis Abdulah and the Commander of the army, Adam Abkhit. We were lead to rugs laid across the grounds where we reclined. Tea was served. The President begged to be excused. He would love to meet at another time. (I came up with the idea in the morning to visit the refugee camps first, then meet with rebel leaders on our return to Abecha and before we departed for home.)

Conversation began with the Commander. Yahya did the interpreting. The Commander said since he had a father, he wanted me to be his uncle. His story was similar to the other stories we had heard. Members of his family had been killed. In my response I said, “I am honored beyond words to be asked to be an uncle to such a courageous man. I came to Darfur to show support and to take back accurate information. I didn’t know I would also be taking back a nephew. I have a family back in the States, and we practice a kind of democracy. If I take you back without consulting them, they will drive me out into the bush with you and neither one of us will have a place to lay our heads except out here in this wilderness.” We got a big laugh out of my remarks. I continued, “Since I am your uncle, I should at least learn about you.” He said, "I’m 41, married, 3 children, a daughter 9, son 5 and baby 9months.” I really admired him. He was friendly. We immediately connected. He had sharp facial features, black complexion, about six feet tall. His hand had been wounded in the last battle.

A touching moment came at the conclusion. He asked me to pray for him and his people that they would gain their freedom. I commenced to pray toward that end, that God would hasten the day of freedom for his people indeed all of Africa and the peoples of the world. I told him my prayers would always be with him and the people of Darfur. I told him, I had had sleepless nights when I began to learn about Darfur. I related to him the picture I saw which would always be riveted on my mind. It is a picture of a baby trying to make it to the food cart, behind him is a buzzard. No one knows what happened. If the child reached the food before the buzzard reached him. The photographer who took the picture, three weeks later committed suicide from depression.

When he learned I wanted an Emma, a traditional headpiece, from somewhere he fetched a couple of them. He gave one to me and one to Yahya.

Then a founding member of the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) joined us. He immediately broke into conversation. He recited the history of the government’s oppression and barbarism. He said he could show us the graves and videos and DVDs, which validates that the government has been engaged in genocide. He asked why African Americans have not given greater support. He said he was a freedom fighter and wanted to be remembered as a freedom fighter. After a platter of camel meat was served and eaten, I responded with my mantra with some variations and additions. Respecting African Americans absence of support, I recounted the years we rallied for Mandela before support began to garner in other places. I recited the long years of support to African liberation going back to the turn of the Century with WEB Dubois. In all of the Pan African Conferences, African Americans played a leading role. Indeed, African Americans have always been with their African brothers and sisters and will always be there for them.

Now given any period of history, support may wax or wan depending upon what is going on in the USA. I told him African Americans could be put into five categories:

Self-centered achievers. These are people blotted with success, who care nothing about other people’s suffering, especially as far away as Africa.

The I-don’t-care crowd. They know little of Africa and don’t want to know.
The I-care-crowd. This crowd feels helpless.

The suffering-crowd. These are people who can’t think of other people’s pain when they have their own pain. It is hard to be concerned about a monster thousand of miles away when a snake is wrapped around your neck.

Then there is the I-care-crowd. These are people who believe we have to keep teaching, keep doing what we can and hope, eventually, our message will be heard and results will follow. As I have stated we have been successful across the years.

It was after 10:00pm when we started toward our cars. The solders were asleep or lying down all around the area. They seemed to be tucked in sleeping bags. There were other solders clearly on guard duty. It was near 11:00pm Chad time when we returned to the hotel. As we were getting out of the car, Muhammad said he was jealous. He stated he was my first and most important nephew. I told him I was proud to have two nephews, one who is an intellectual such as he and the other a commander of the army. I am the beneficiary of wells of knowledge and information and then I have an army to back me up.

I had told the commander another reason I am so pleased that he is my nephew, when I return to the states and I am threaten or someone tries to hurt me, I will tell them I have a nephew who is commander of the army and will come to fight for me. Again, we had belly laughs. When I arrived in my room, I continued making journal entries until I fell asleep.

To be continued…

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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.

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On Sunday, June 1, 2008 8am & 12noon worship experience – Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry’s sermon will focus on his 50 years of ministry and will e entitled “Reflections on my life an Ministry.” All are invited.

On Sunday, June 8, 2008, Rev. Leah Daughtry, Pastor of the House of the Lord Church in Washington, DC and CEO of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado will be the guest preacher at the 12 noon Worship Service at the House of the Lord Church, located at 415 Atlantic Avenue.

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 Dr. Adelaide Sanford 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.

On Sunday June 29, 2008, Rev. Dawnique Daughtry-Pemberton, Pastor of the House of the Lord Church of Bergen County in Englewood, NJ will be the guest preacher at the 12 noon Worship Service at the House of the Lord Church, located at 415 Atlantic Avenue

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.