Sudan is suffering from a horrific nightmare. People are dying in their hundreds of thousands. Once again, the weak (those considered to want to live peacefully) are being pulled to pieces by the strong, like hyenas attacking a wildebeest. Here are some of the statistics of the conflict in the area.
– Between 200,000 and 400,000 civilians are dead. Times that figure by ten, at least, for those who are potentially hurt, maimed, wounded or psychologically scarred.
– Five separate waves of violence by tens of militias are being perpetrated all across the Darfur region.
– 2,000,000 people have been displaced from their homes.
– 200,000 people have fled the country to neighboring countries Chad; large numbers of Sudanese refugees have also fled to Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
– Sudan is the largest country in the African continent, with Darfur itself being the size of France
– 7,000 African Union troops have been struggling to keep the peace in the region, suffering casualties themselves, being under-equipped and under-funded. These will be removed from the region, unless things change, by the end of the month.
– 17,000 U.N. Peacekeepers are proposed to keep the peace there, under U.N. Resolution 1706
The conflict stems from land rights and property issues between the Arab farmers and Africans, the Arabs in the north and to the east are systematically killing and looting their way across hundreds of villages, in a system that can only be described as a ‘cleansing’ of the area.
From Jan Pronks weblog (Special United Nations Representative for Sudan):
“Militia groups continue to operate with impunity throughout Darfur, attacking villages, killing villagers, raping women, stealing livestock and harassing IDPs (Internally Displaced People)in and around the camps. Some militias have settled in cleared villages in West Darfur and are cultivating the land. In some places they are keeping the people in virtual slavery, preventing them from leaving and regularly assaulting women. Elsewhere they beat up displaced persons who try to return to their own village in order to cultivate their land and tell them to stay away and never to come back, if they donÂt want to be killed.”
Originally, conflict broke out in 2003 as rebels in the south attacked the Arab-led government, over what they called ‘unfair distribution of the oil wealth.’ Since then a peace treaty was signed, but only by one of the many militia groups, the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) which has now been reported to be fighting on the side of the government.
The Sudanese Government, led by President Omar al-Bashir has rejected U.N. Resolution 1706, which would ask for about 17,000 peacekeepers to be deployed in the region, calling it; “part of a comprehensive conspiracy for confiscating the country’s sovereignty” in comments reported by the Sudanese news agency Suna on Sunday. By rejecting the U.N. push for peacekeepers, many of the Sudanese people won’t have a hope left after the last barrier against unrestrained genocide, the AU troops, leave on September 30th. Although Resolution 1706 does not require the permission of the Sudanese government to conduct a humanitarian mission, this is obviously not an option that the U.N. wishes to pursue . With al-Bashir quoting the beginning of a ‘Holy War’ if U.N. troops do move in, you can start to see that this crisis is not one that can be solved quickly.
Al-Bashir’s government has said that they will place 10,000 troops in the region to halt violence, but the U.N. have balked at the idea. Why? My theory is that the Sudanese government has a lot to do with the killings.
According to a Reuters report, journalists have witnessed the loading up of planes with bombs to attack villages, injuring and killing hundreds of children in the process, in an area where 25% of children don’t survive anyway due to awful conditions. The pretext for these attacks on innocents is due to often very flimsy intelligence of rebel presence in those areas. To me, that kind of treatment, along with the Sudanese governments rejection of any kind of peace-keeping force, leads to only one conclusion, that the pro-Arab government is supporting this ‘ethnic cleansing’ in order to clear the whole area of Africans, making way for Arab settlement. In effect, Libestraum, ‘living ground’. This technique was one that the Nazi’s had planned for the expansion of the germanic people.
Of course, Khartoum is denying these allegations, saying that they are merely conducting “administrative operations”.
From the BBC:
“Fresh Sudanese soldiers have been arriving in the region, and rights groups, AU officials and Darfur’s rebel groups report that on 28 August a new offensive began, with reports of attacks on rebel-held villages in Darfur.
Darfur refugees, rebels and the United States have long accused the Sudanese army of backing up the Arab Janjaweed militias in a “genocide” against the region’s black African population.”
In the middle of this complicated and multi-faceted conflict, are the people, the innocents. Around 14,000 aid workers are helping feed and supply approximately 3 million people in an area the size of France, and there have been about a dozen aid-worker deaths already.
Conditions are steadily getting worse.
“Indeed, in many ways we are in a freefall in Darfur at the moment,”
-U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland
From the BBC:
Rebecca Dale from the International Rescue Committee said that some of those who have returned to their homes in south Sudan have since returned to the capital, Khartoum, because they found so little infrastructure.
She said that 25% of children in the south die before they reach the age of five, there are very few schools and there is only one doctor for every 100,000 people.
In my opinion this is just the beginning. With the outbreak of war between the Sudanese government and various militias, it will prove more and more difficult for the aid to reach the people who need it most. What is needed is international pressure on the region, on the U.S., on the U.N., and on the Sudanese Government to stop this genocide before it goes any further. If the U.S. means what it says about wanting to spread freedom and democracy around the world, then maybe it should back up it’s words with actions, and not just move to those countries with economic incentives for the United States.
They say what we don’t know doesn’t hurt us. Very true, as we sit tucked away in our safe little houses in our safe towns and cities, tucked up in our Slumberland comforters and chewing on a PowerBar. Many people will flick past the news, maybe dwell on a subject for a moment, then utter the familiar ‘oh, that’s terrible’, before clicking onwards, onwards, to numbness.
Well, shit happens in this world, and we can choose to ignore it, or we can choose to do something about it. What can I do, you say. Learn, learn everything you can, be aware, don’t pull the wool over your eyes, and be ready, for whatever is required of you. It’s your world, awful things happen in it.
Do something about it.
More to come.