Sunday, April 1, 2007 (Part B)
There is another point that needs to be made. The Colonel that escorted
us was a plain, ordinary, everyday kind of man. The Colonel, and all
the Darfurians and Chadians I met, exhibited the same humble decorum.
Here was a Colonel, an anti-terrorist regional director, assistant to
the President, chauffeuring me around to buy sneakers and actually doing
As we were about to go to the reception (the Indian friend of Yahya,
Mr. J, had invited us to a reception) while waiting at the pool, having
one last conversation with Mohammad, an official car came into the courtyard.
The kind of car that had passed us on the highway. By the greeting Yahya
gave to the driver and especially the passenger, I knew this was a high-ranking
After the handshakes and embraces, smiles and verbal exchanges, they
were introduced to me. Mr. G was the President’s protocol officer
(I never got the driver’s name). It was this protocol officer
that had been trying to reach Yahya from the first day we arrived. He
knew our departure time. He had come to bring special greetings from
the President. The President was in Niger. He regretted he was not able
to see me when we were in N’djamena. At that time he was in Abeche.
When we were in Abeche, he was in N’djamena. The next time I am
in the country, he will be sure to see me. Significantly, with a touch
of warmth, he addressed me as father. I was more than pleased. It is
not every day a President of a country sends an assistant to give greetings
and regrets. I thanked the protocol officer. I sent gifts to the President,
which included, a special historic memo book containing pictures and
statements relating to Darfur; another book, No Monopoly On Suffering;
two DVDs – one capturing some of the activities of NRLAA and another
DVD depicting our churches history and involvement and my bio.
While we were waiting for our driver sent by Mr. J and before the protocol
officer arrived, I am not sure what stimulated it, Yahya talked more
about himself than ever before. He said there were eight (8) children
in his family. His oldest brother had been killed or assassinated by
the Sudanese government. His other two (2) brothers were with the family,
one was an economist and the other a linguist. He had four (4) sisters.
His family possessed a large farm, employing over 300 workers with huge
farming equipment. One of his brothers had begun to sell the equipment.
He Okayed it, but told him not to sell the land. His father is old now,
over 80 years old and can’t take care of the farm anymore. The
Sudanese government has prevented the sell of the equipment from the
farm. So it’s a bad situation.
Never before had I seen Yahya so sad and troubled. His small eyes, which
sit in his dark round face, seemed to be seeing what he was talking
about and more. I didn’t know how to respond. I practice saying
nothing when I don’t have anything to say. In times of great grief
or staggering lost or tragedy, there are no words to express one’s
feeling. I am too fearful of saying something trite or flippant or stupid.
I certainly don’t want to be like Job’s friends who came
to console him in his misery. They sat quietly with him for three (3)
days and nights, they never said a word. Finally, they did speak; they
said all the wrong things. In exasperation, Job scolded them, “Miserable
comforters are you all! Would to God that you would have kept quite!”
I asked could he go back to Sudan. “Yes, but I don’t know
what will happen. They have promised to kill me. They have asked me
to come back.” He continued, “I met with the Sudanese government
when they were in New York some months ago. They invited me to come
back home. I said, Okay, if you release the prisoners.” Here,
Yahya named some of them. They were his friends. The Sudanese rejected
Now, I felt I understood him better. His knowledge of so many things,
the assurance and confidence he exhibited as he took care of business.
He always seemed to be in charge. Here in Chad, to some extent in the
USA, he has a wide range of contacts and associations. Everybody knows
him and responds to him. He has a sharp mind, a swiftness to grasp the
core meaning of things. He is always thinking ahead with exceptional
planning and organizing ability. It was all so clear now.
To be continued…
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.
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.
Our Annual Freedom Walk will take place on Saturday, August 16, 2008
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.
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.