Journal of the People’s Pastor

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

DARFUR DIARY
Part III: Darfur Diary – My Journey to Juba, Sudan



Friday, November 30th continues…

When we arrived at the College, people were making their way to the lecture. We joined Elder Samuel Cash and his wife, Sylvia. I was told, Rev. Cash talks about me all the time. Obviously, I greeted both of them by name and with hugs and thank you(s). We walked slowly against chilly winds through the glass doors. When we reached the Lord Lounge in the African Heritage House, people were already seated. I recognized some familiar faces in the audience. One person, Dr. Olivia Cousins, had participated with us in the Jazz Festival held last year in South Africa. She has since returned to Oberlin and organized a museum.

There were students, activist, clergy, professors, there were the know-it-alls and the know-nothings. Respect and admiration for me were in their eyes. I proceeded to make essentially the same presentation. I showed the same footage and answered the same questions, except, “What role was the USA playing in Sudan?” The question was asked with an accusatory, pedantic tone. The questioner put the question in a way that implied that the US government was up to no good in Sudan. I thought it was interesting and strange. The questioner only wanted to know about the USA – not about China or India or the Arab nation’s roles in Africa. In spite of the fact, I had mentioned in my presentation that from the Darfurian leadership standpoint the USA is one of their strongest supporters. Moreover, President Bashir considers the US government his staunchest enemy. Therefore, I am bound to see the US’ role as helpful, however, the US does what nations do – they act in their own self-interest. So probably, the US wants President Bashir’s help to fight terrorism and inroads into Sudan and Africa’s rich resources. Hence, the US government is probably playing a dual role.

Still he wanted to discuss, what he considered, the US’s nefarious roles in Africa. I asked, “How is it you are only concerned about the US’ role, when other nations are far and away the greater investors in Africa and have the greatest influence on President Bashir?” For an example, President Bashir has divided the oil-rich Sudan into blocks with 85% of the oil coming from the South. Blocks 1,2, and 4 are controlled by the largest overseas consortium known as the Greater Nile Petroleum Operation Company (GNPOC). The GNPOC is composed of the following players: The CNPC (Peoples Republic of China) with a 40% stake, Petronas Malaysia with 30% and ONGC India with 25% and 5% to Sudapet of the Sudan government. The other producing blocks in the South are Blocks 3 and 7 in the Upper Niles. These blocks are controlled by Petrodar, which is 41% owned by CNPC of China, 40% by Petronas of Malaysia, 8% by Sudapet of Sudan and 5% by Gulf Petroleum and 5% by Al Thani.

I found myself arguing for the US, or, a balanced approach to Sudan. Regarding US’ involvement, it is possible, we can have influence or at the least be critical. It seemed to me, as never before, the hatred and distrust of the US government pulverizes logic and balanced thinking in some people.

Saturday, December 2, 2007 –

On Saturday, December 2, 2007, I had lunch with a men’s fellowship biweekly luncheon. There were men from various parts of the adjacent communities and beyond. The fellowship takes place in a black-owned restaurant named, “Quick & Delicious,” with more white workers than blacks. It is a very clean place. There is nothing fancy about it. The owner is an elderly, slow-moving man with a large face. He and his buxom daughter helped to serve the table. The food was regular restaurant foodstuff – no emphasis on soul food.

Later in the evening, I kissed my wife so long and headed for the airport in Cleveland. My wife stayed behind to preach the Sunday service at our church in Oberlin. Originally, I was scheduled to do the preaching. But, Juba got in the way.

Dr. Miller, after dropping me off at the airport, continued on to visit the grandson of Rev. Cash who was in the county jail. He is accused of stabbing two white men numerous times. I landed in Washington, DC at Dulles Airport. Sharon, flying in from New York, joined me at the Airport. The Stay Bridge Hotel, where we spent the night, operates a shuttle bus service to the Hotel. It was now around 11pm. The hotel room was a beautiful suite. I regretted I was only staying for one night.

Sunday, December 3, 2007 –

The Ethiopian Airline flight 0503 was scheduled to depart Dulles Airport at 9:30am. We were told if we got there early, we could make a seat selection of our choice. So, we left the hotel at 5:30am. It availed us nothing. However, the seats were okay. It was a Boeing 767 jet with two seats on either side and four seats in the middle. Sharon and I sat together in the two seats.

It was a packed plane with lots of children, ages I estimate somewhere between four and six. Several of these children, it seemed much more, sat close by us. They squealed, cried, climbed, ran up and down the aisles all along the way. One of my daughters says, she is going to get legislation enacted “a no children zoon.”

At 8:45am we landed in Rome. Then, remaining on the plane, we continued to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. We traveled another five hours and thirty-five minutes. At 8:35am local time, which is about 8 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, we landed in Addis. All totaled, we had flown 14 hours and 20 minutes. We departed Sunday Morning 9:30am. We were scheduled to arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday morning at 8:35, but we arrived at 9:20am..

To be continued…

Upcoming Events

Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday night forums 7pm to 9pm held at the House of the Lord Church.

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 @ www.holnj.org.

For further Information on all events, contact The House of the Lord Church @ (718) 596-1991.