When all is said and done, what we have to address is the allegations
that the Sudanese government has been involved with the Arab militia,
call Janjaweed (evil on horseback) resulting in what the U.N. has called,
“the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.” It has
been reported, 200,000 to 400,000 people (Indigenous Africans) have been
killed since 2003. 21/2 million people have been displaced, wide spread
cruelty, rape, even kidnapping, some say enslavement and land has been
taken, and, that in fact, the Sudanese government has not done all it
could to promote humanitarian assistance.
On the one side, the U.N., the International Criminal Court (I.C.C). –
human rights organizations, i.e. Amnesty International, some of these
groups have a history of criticizing governments, even the U.S.A. and
European governments, have made allegations against the Sudanese government.
And on the other side, there is the Sudanese government’s position,
The conflict is ancient. Warring tribes have been fighting for a long
Shrinking resources have produced fierce conflict,
Exaggerations - the reports are blown out of proportion by the enemy of
Sudan and African people who are brothers and sisters. For an example,
only 9,000 have been killed.
The Sudanese army has been involved but it is to separate warring factions
and/or to protect its citizens.
That is essentially the position of the Sudanese government.
Earlier in the year, I led a delegation in a meeting with Ambassador Abdalmahmod
Abdalhaleem Mohamad, the Permanent Representative of Sudan to the U.N.
He expressed the above position in answer to my question, “What
is the Sudanese government’s position regarding the allegations?”
So, what are we to believe? I think most people want the truth. We are
opposed to enslavement, rape, violence, land confiscation no matter who
the culprits are. We can look for the answer in a number of ways.
We can ask the Darfurians. In this country, there are hundreds, if not
thousand, of Darfurians. We have held private and public meeting with
them. All of whom have confirmed that the allegations are true.
The I.C.C. says it has evidence based on photos, gravesites and testimonies.
The Sudanese government has admitted that:
There is a conflict and people are being killed.
There are refugee camps.
The Sudanese National High Commission of Inquiry, appointed by President
Omar L. Bashir has confirmed the widespread violence and killings and
While the government has rejected I.C.C.’s attempt to bring to trial
52 members of the government, it has admitted that there are guilty parties,
but they will handle it.
There have been 7,500 African Union (AU) troops in Sudan to protect citizens
and humanitarian workers. Everybody admits this number is wholly inadequate.
After years of debate, on July 31, 2007, the UN and the Sudanese government
agreed to an increase of 26,500. That very agreement argues persuasively
that there is something terribly wrong and it is not minute. No government
would allow that kind of presence of foreign troops, partly controlled
by an international body other than African/Arabs, unless there was a
serious problem, which the government itself could not or would not resolve.
Two other considerations are compelling. You can visit the area where
the victims are and hear their testimonies. This I did. I spent sixteen
days in Chad, Central Africa, which boarders Sudan. I met with governmental,
civic, political, religious leaders. I even met with rebel leaders in
the bush. I talked with young soldiers, male and female, in and around
the bush. I conversed with victims in refugee camps in Gaga, Chad. There
was a unanimous message; first, they came with airplanes, then big vehicles
with big guns. After they had dropped bombs from the planes and fired
the big guns, then came horseback riders who continued the destruction,
violence, the rape, the kidnapping and land theft. (By the way, recently
on the front page of the New York Times was a picture of Sudanese airplanes
disguised with UN paint and letterings.)
Now, what these people are saying is either true or false. If it is false,
it means across 800 miles (the distance that I traveled by plane and car
spending a couple of nights on the highway) thousand of people somehow
agreed to tell a lie, they really were not victimized, and then, to validate
the lie, voluntarily left their ancestral home and land to live in refugee
camps. Those who choose to believe that they are lying can do so. I cannot.
I choose to believe the victims.
The second consideration is a reference to history. If, in the past, a
man had been accused of violence, killing, raping, stealing and enslaving
members of his family and friends, it would be logical to believe the
allegations when he is accused of doing the same thing. So we need to
study the history of Arab relationship to Africans both on the continent
and in the Diaspora. If there is a history of Arabs murdering, raping,
exploiting, conquering, kidnapping, etc. of Africans, then we are justified
in believing if there are allegations, the allegations are true.
Let me refer to a couple of developments in recent history. In the south
of Sudan, the Sudanese government has been accused of killing two to four
million Africans. The south, led by a man named John Garange, beat back
the invading Sudanese army in a 21-year war. They won an agreement that
the south would enjoy semi-autonomy, elect its own president, who would
serve as vice president in the central government. And in 2011, there
would be a publicite, whereby the people of the south would determine
if they wanted to be a part of the Sudanese government or independent
or part of some kind of federation.
The second reference I want to make is from an article from the AfroTimes
dated September 8, 2007. the headline reads “Antislavery Measures
Falls Short,” activist say. The article says, “There are an
estimated 1⁄2 million slaves in the West African nation of Mauritania.
The national assembly voted unanimously to adopt a law criminalizing slavery,
which continues to exist both in traditional and contemporary forms. Thus,
we see, according to the paper, the government’s admission to the
existence of slavery. One has to wonder how many other Arab countries
are practicing or allowing slavery to exist.
To be continued…
Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday night forums
7pm to 9pm held at the House of the Lord Church.
The National Religious Leaders Concerned About Darfur (NRLAA) will sponsor
its first Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, October 18, 2007, from
6pm to 8pm at the House of the Lord Church, located at 415 Atlantic Avenue,
Brooklyn, New York.
Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum focusing on Africa the 2nd Saturday
from 12pm to 2pm.
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.