Posts Tagged With: sudan

Letter to a New Nation

A Repost: As the chaos and violence in South Sudan escalates to depressing levels, I couldn’t help but think about this letter I wrote for the newly independent nation two and half years ago.

Dear South Sudan,

First of all, congratulation to you on this very festive and happy occasion of your birth into the international diplomatic scene. You have always been a nation, you’re just now being recognized on paper. It is an exciting and anxious period for you. You have a litany of unresolved issues with your former countrymen and neighbor to the north. But, that is for another day. Today is about looking to the future, not about the past. There is an enormous expectation placed upon you – by your people and the international community. As one of the least developed nations in the world, these expectations are unfair; nonetheless, you would have to deal with them. If I had the opportunity to give you an advice, I would have told you to wait five more years under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement framework as it would’ve allowed you to create a plan to repatriate and resettle all the people arriving from the North and elsewhere. This period would’ve also allowed you to build schools, medical facilities, roads, airports, etc to be able to absorb the millions of people moving back.

Now that you’re a nation officially, you would just have to deal with these issues as you go along. More importantly, now you have 54 case studies on how to avoid crisis and pitfalls as a new nation. Rest assured, you will have a lot of problems and internal conflicts, which if you have done your homework from these case studies you could avoid or at least minimize the impact to you. Since I can give you an advice for the future, let me do just that. One, avoid any kind of conflict with your neighbor states – especially and importantly, with the Republic of Sudan. Two, be inclusive, fair and equitable to all those people living in your domain – avoid the unity above all approach as this will surely sow a seed of hate and conflict for the future within your borders. Three, avoid starting proxy wars vis-à-vis Republic of Sudan or other neighbors. And finally, welcome any and all criticism from your people as it is a sign of a healthy, vibrant and democratic nation. Indeed, you will be tempted to label any kind of criticism as a planted strife by your neighbor to the north or other nations. Resist this and you will reap the rewards decades and centuries to come.

You have not yet reached the promised land – your hard work is just now beginning. Use your natural resources – oil and minerals – to develop your country. Make agriculture and education your focus for the next twenty to thirty years. And  dont allow, under any circumstances, the cancerous tumor that is corruption to grow. Heed the lessons of history that is all around you because you face an extraordinary level of hardship and temptations to simply fall prey to conflicts, wars, dictatorial rule, and corruption.

Good luck to you and may you be the first independent African nation to succeed as an example of democracy and prosperity.

Yours,

Om

Categories: Africa Related | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ICC, Al-Bashir, and Neocolonialism

So it has been a week since the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ committed in Darfur. The dust has settled. And everyone who had something to say has pretty much said it. But I wondered: what did this indictment really accomplish? Two opinions have dominated the answer to that question as far as I can tell. One group, the U.S./EU/Human Rights Watch/Amnesty International crowd, believes that this indictment says to “third world dictators and autocrats that they will be held to account” for their misdeeds, while the other group, African Union/Arab League member-states among others, is skeptical at best for they believe this half-baked (let’s call it what it is, ladies and gentlemen) arrest warrant based on shoddy evidence will not only make finding justice for the victims of Darfur impossible, but derail the whole peace process that has significantly reduced violence in Darfur over the past 3 years and opened a new chapter of calm in Southern Sudan. Both are now in serious jeopardy.

More importantly, as Flint and de Waal argue in this peace, the indictment has just made the lives of those people {the Darfuris} it purports to give justice more difficult – the expulsion of 13 NGOs from Sudan being just the beginning. Besides lacking an enforcement mechanism, the ICC and its supporters conveniently overlook atrocities and mass murders committed elsewhere in the world, like Palestine and Iraq, for example. Why is that? Should we not question the over zealousness or even the intentions demonstrated by the ICC and its supporters in their pursuit of Al-Bashir while not doing the same for Bush, Blair, and Olmert crimes? Or does justice only apply to places that the West’s interests are impeded, as is the case in Sudan? Before one dismisses these points, a further point has to be considered: neocolonialism. That’s right. The boogey-man of international politics. The Sudanese government’s first response to the ICC’s arrest warrant for Mr. Bashir, was “The court {ICC} is only one mechanism of neocolonialist policy used by the West against free and independent countries.” Of course, people who have been pushing for this warrant promptly dismissed this accusation because after all the West has no interest (hint: oil) in Sudan but should we believe that? My answer to that is no. To paraphrase a friend, the ICC, rather than being a tool for justice, has become the tool which certain powerful states use against individuals and countries that do not submit to those states.

Neocolonialism is the engine of Western capitalism and prosperity, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. So when I see a selective indictment being made against heads of states who do not cooperate with Western governments and corporations, I do take the neocolonialism charge serious. Indeed, I do not  support Al-Bashir or the likes of him, but I do believe peace comes before justice. Even more dangerous are the calls of military air-strikes on Sudan found on the pages of Western newspapers like the New York Times. No wonder Al-Bashir is now more popular in Sudan than ever before. No wonder the accusations of Western neocolonialism are finally getting serious attentions.

Perhaps this post may come across to some people as too naive or indifferent to the sufferings of Darfuris. I’m not naive or indifferent to what has happened in Darfur. I actually know and have worked with a Darfuri refugee. What I am indifferent to, however, is the selective prosecution that the ICC and its supporters have adopted. That is not justice nor does that seek to foster global peace, especially when millions of people’s lives are risked in the pursuit of a narrow “justice.”

Categories: East Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hypocrites

The Sudanese president is so bad that the useless International Court is charging him with ‘genocide.’ Oh how noble! Conveniently propping up charges based on the interviews of rebel leaders, who I may add are part of the ‘genocide’, is exactly how to show the barbaric “arabs” they cannot get away with ‘genocide’ against the ‘black Africans’. Isn’t ironic how one race is divided into two races just using language? It baffles me to see how even educated people have come to believe that the conflict in Sudan is about “Arabs” ethnic cleansing “Black Africans.”

Note that the people from Darfur are “Black Africans,” not just Africans or Blacks, as where every Sudanese from the North is “Arab.” I know I’m not Arab because every Sudanese person I meet believes I’m Sudanese so I can only conclude that people from Sudan can only be black, not Arab. Furthermore, my former colleague from Darfur and my college mates from khartoum seem just plain black to me. They both speak Arabic. Yet looking at the ‘news’ it is impossible not to see the imaginary creation of a new race in Sudan. 

Remember when they use the terms ‘Arab’ for Northerners (associated with the ethnic cleansing of the genocide) and ‘Black Africans’ for the Darfuris even though both look the same (beside some skin shade differences), speak the same language, and practice the same religion (for the most part – a percentage of Darfuris have been converted to Christianity by missionaries since the conflict started in the early 1980s) because these terms denote the imaginary arab vs. non-arab narratives that have been created by the Western press. 

I’m not defending Omar Al-Bashir’s role in the conflict – after all, the Darfur conflict was already in progress before he came into power – but I find it criminal to single out Omar Al-Bashir for genocide when Meles Zenawi is doing the same thing in Somalia, Ogaden, and to the rest of non-Tigre population of Ethiopia. If that is too much for the noble-intentioned West, how about the warlord thugs they’re paying millions of dollars (in hard cash no less) in Somalia? I’m sure they can manage that, no?

Categories: East Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Really???

sudan-protest.jpg

I don’t know whether to laugh, get mad, or both, it seems that we Muslims have lately become quite sensitive. More accurately, we have become a rerun stock footage for substance-less 24-hour cable “news” channels and comedy goldmine for every comedian’s punchline. Do we really have to go out on the street to protest and call for the execution of a schoolteacher, whose only crime was to ask her pupils what they want to name a teddy bear? Is that how low and degenerate this Ummah has become? What about the fact that protesters in Khartoum are conveniently looking the other way when hundreds of thousands of their fellow Muslims and countrymen continue to suffer in Darfur? How barbarously hypocritical is that?

No wonder the Western media has been taking this stupidity of Muslims to the fullest advantage by running it ceaselessly in the continues 24-hour cycle since the story broke. Needless to say, when I hear Muslim leaders blame the media for the bad image of Muslims in the West, I can’t help but smirk at this suggestion. It is true that we have a lot of axes to grind against the West and its continues war against Islam and its followers, but come on! Going on the streets to protest and call for an execution for this? Why aren’t these people in Khartoum protesting the conflict in Darfur? It never ceases to amaze me how this Ummah have fragmented and broken down internally. I can only wonder what non-Muslims around the world will take from this story – what they always believed about Muslims, thanks to the Western media or just another reason to fear Muslims for their madness at non-story stories? Only time will tell. However, what I take from this story is that we, the Muslims, need to take a serious look in the mirror, then evaluate our priorities.

Categories: Religion | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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