Journal of the People’s Pastor

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


Darfur Diary: Part XIV – My Journey To Chad, Central Africa
Easter In N’djamena

Sunday, April 1, 2007 (Part A)

I awaken at 1:50 am and was up at 2:05 am. I was feeling very well. In fact I felt amazingly energized, especially for so early. I finished yesterday’s journal at 4:00 am. After returning to sleep, I was up again at 6:15 am, then went for my morning exercise and swim. I was feeling great, thank God.

I returned to the pool at 8:15 am, Yahya had arrived and was seated by the pool. I could tell from a distance something was bothering him. Before I could settle in my chair, he started talking slowly, shaking his head, sadness engulfed his face. “I got bad news,” he said. Before I could ask, What?” he continued. “The Darfurian leaders were not able to reach and agreement in Abecha. They got down to details, such as, who had the most troops on the ground? Who had the greatest experience? Who was the most skillful? Who had the international connections? etc.” I asked, “Does any of them have all these qualities?” He replied, “That is why they need each other. Then they started criticizing each other. One group went to Egypt for help. He was criticized for going to the Arabs first and not to the Africans. Only one African country is solidly with them. There is great fear they are going to start fighting each other. In the meanwhile, the Sudanese government is washing its hands of any negotiations. They don’t want to be bothered.” He kept shaking his head as he talked. “There are high governmental officials of a certain country who are ready to go to Abecha to talk to them. I’m leaving now for the meeting. We were up to 1:00 am talking about this situation. Now we are going early to meet the mediators.”

As he was completing his words, two (2) brothers crossed the yard. I recognized one. The other, tall, wearing an Emma, I had not met. We greeted each other in the usual way.

As they prepared to leave, Yahya remembered al jareeza had called. They wanted to do an interview with me. “Find,” I said. They wanted to do the interview last week, but because I had not visited the refugee camp, I refused. Now, I was ready to talk to them.

I said to Yahya, as he headed towards the gate, “My prayers are with you. I hope everything works out okay.” And they were off to see the mediators, trying to keep the flickering fames of unity burning. It was 9:00 am when they departed.

Later I reflected on another aspect of our conversation regarding John Garange. Yahya expressed great admiration for him. “The enduring rebel of South Sudan,” is what Yahya called him. He fought the Sudanese government for 23 years emerging with an agreement in 2005 to share power. After Garange’s suspicious death, Silva Kiir became President of South Sudan and Vice President in the Unity Central government. “There is no Garange among the Darfurian leadership,” Yahya uttered with regret. He went on to say, “Garage was tough. He had a lot of people killed. There was a plane taking the South leaders to Khartoum for a meeting with al-Bashir. the plane was shot down. There were other South Sudan leaders who signed an agreement with al-Bashir. They were given juicy payments and other material goodies. Mr. Garange had them brought to South Sudan and found ways to quite them. And they remain quite up to the present time.”

It was an interesting statement by Yahya. Garange won so he is a hero in South Sudan. I wondered what he would be called if he had lost.

Again, I had lunch at the Novotel Hotel. The same eating program, fruit, salad, soup. Afterward, Yahya and a security officer picked me up. It was at his home that they had had the meeting. He had another perspective on unity. If each group can do its job well, then something can be accomplished, even if they disagreed. But if there is no competence or unity then the situation is hopeless.”

While all of the above may be true, but if there is no unity on demands or objectives, the Sudanese government can use that as an excuse for not negotiating or not promising anything. They would say, whom do we talk to and which demands do we respond to.

They took me to the market to purchase sneakers. The ones I had I had worn in the refugee camp. I plan to put them and all of my outer garments in the church’s memorial room in Augusta, Georgia. The sneakers cost $8. They looked to be good sneakers. Time will tell – anyway, for $8 what could I loose.

The market continues to fascinate me, they are the same. Yet there are differences. In this market I was taken deeper inside. It was a winding, twisting complex of small stores, and pushcarts. I thought of the movie, The Casbah, (I think) with Charles Boyer as Pepe Democa a fugitive. He found refuse inside the Casbah. I could see how one could lose oneself and others in this place of narrow, winding, hilly streets and crowds of people.

To be continued…

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. ALL FORUMS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED FOR THE MONTH OF JULY AND AUGUST.

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