Monthly Archives: April 2013

When the Nazis Met with the State Department in Washington

The Washington Post has confirmed with the US State Department that:

The Obama administration is preparing to welcome a senior Sudanese delegation to the United States for some rare highest-level diplomacy between the countries.

State Department spokeswoman Hilary Renner says Sudanese presidential adviser Nafie Ali Nafie and other officials have accepted an invitation to Washington for a “candid discussion on the conflicts and humanitarian crises within Sudan.”

Sudanese Presidential Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie is also the former Chief of the National Intelligence and Security Services NISS and continues to be a leading figure, if not the leading figure, in control of the military and intelligence apparatus in Sudan.
The appropriate comparison is with Heinrich Himmler, the Director of the SS in the Nazi regime. Would the United States have “invited” Himmler to meet at the State Department during the Holocaust to talk about “the humanitarian crises” within Germany, after he played a leading role in the genocide? The question is absurd and thus must this action be so viewed. This kind of meeting is an honor undeserving of anyone who participated in genocide. In fact, so inconceivable is the callousness demonstrated by this invitation that it almost certainly cannot be a simple matter of a candid discussion about the humanitarian crisis created and sustained in no small part through the actions of Nafie Ali Nafie. Human Rights Watch’s report on Sudan from 2012 is replete with references to the NISS with which Nafie continues to be heavily involved.
It is unfortunately reasonable in my opinion that this visit has little to do with the humanitarian crises or peace with South Sudan and more to do with terrorism against the US and its allies (Al Qaeda), fighting in Syria, Iran activity in the region and events in the Central African Republic CAR (where the Islamist Seleka rebels recently took over with help from Chad, Eretria, Sudan and the Lord’s Resistance Army, turning the CAR in a terrorist haven).
The State Dept. could be trying to get Sudan to be less cooperative with radical elements or even to help the US and France deal with militants in the region, especially the situation in the CAR. In the past, there has been cooperation between the CIA and the NISS. This cooperation occurred through much of the 2000s according to an article in the Sudan Tribune. Note that while US intelligence agencies were working with Sudanese intelligence agencies, a genocide was ongoing in Darfur.
Nafie’s NISS may well have much information about the militant groups of concern to the United States today. Of that, there can be little doubt. Evil men tend to cooperate. Nafie and the NISS may well know these militant groups well.
Meanwhile, the situation in the region at this point is frightening and of great concern to the US, Europe, Russia and others:
  • The Seleka rebel (Islamist) takeover of CAR,
  • Mali rebels relaxing in Darfur and ongoing conflict in Mali against the French,
  • The potential of thousands of militants fleeing Syria for other opportunities to fight if the situation there gets out of hand,
  • Weak new Islamist regimes (Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, CAR) across the north of Africa,
  • Unrest in Jonglei province of South Sudan,
  • Ongoing rebel action against the Sudanese government in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile,
  • Ongoing Sudanese Armed Forces activities against the rebels and against civilians in rebel held areas,
  • Major financial crises in both Sudan and South Sudan,
and add to these:
  • The recent International Monetary Fund IMF pressure brought to bear on both Sudan and South Sudan to pay off the massive debt owed, and
  • Ongoing peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan,
  • Talks which center around achieving both prosperity and peace through the transfer of oil through a single largely indefensible pipeline that any number of groups would have an interest to put out of operation.
The situation is a powder keg.
So it is in this context that the State Department reached out to honor Heinrich Himmler, excuse me, Nafie Ali Nafie, with “discussions.”
One would think, however, that should this meeting be absolutely necessary for American security, it could take place at another location and without the honor granted by being hosted at the US State Department. For that reason alone, this invitation should be reconsidered. It is simply wrong to honor a genocidaire and even worse to honor him while blood is being spilled from his hands.

Wonderful Interview with Carl Wilkens

A wonderful interview with a real hero. Carl Wilkens helped to save the lives of hundreds of children in Rwanda during the genocide that took place there and now travels the world helping to educate against genocide. During this interview he was inspirational. Listen, learn, and be inspired to act!

This video is excellent for use by students and teachers as it contains no graphic footage or descriptions but nonetheless does a superb job of explaining what genocide is like as well as dealing with “the other” in our communities and our lives. I hope that activists, students, and teachers will find it helpful.

Carl Wilkens will be joining us in Des Moines on April 20. He is speaking at the Temple 5101 Grand Ave that night at 7:30 pm.

Massacre in Jonglei, South Sudan

The Sudan Tribune reports that at least five UN peacekeepers from India, two United Nations Mission in South Sudan UNMISS staff members, and five civilians were killed on Tuesday in Jonglei, near the Gumuruk settlement in Pibor County. UNMISS has warned recently about deteriorating conditions in Jonglei. Rebels have been fighting the government in the area for the past two years, since 2010, when David Yauyau lost the election to become a member of parliament. The article notes that:

UNMISS’s patrols also aim to protect the many humanitarian aid convoys that operate in Jonglei to provide assistance those affected by the fighting between the rebels and the South Sudanese army (SPLA), which has been carrying out a disarmament campaign in the area for over a year.

Meanwhile the rebels deny involvement and blame the government.

Join us to hear Carl Wilkens

Carl Wilkens will join Rabbi Kaufman and Mark Finkelstein live on Understanding the World tomorrow morning, April 11, 2013. The show airs beginning at 8:30 am Central and runs until 9:30 am. You may listen in live or join in the chat room on the internet at www.12Talk2.com or see the recording on Youtube at www.youtube.com/12talk2net .

Carl Wilkens will be speaking in Des Moines at Temple B’nai Jeshurun on April 20 at 7:30 pm admission is free of charge.

Wilkens Speaking 2_400x400

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Bridget Conley-Zilkic – Project Director
“The 1994 genocide in Rwanda illustrated the absolute worst in humanity — not only in how it was perpetrated, but also in how the people of Rwanda were abandoned by the world. Against this horrible history, the brave and honorable decision of Carl Wilkens to stay and help stands out as a glimmer of hope for everyone, then and now.” B. Conley-Zilkic

About Carl Wilkens-

As a humanitarian aid worker, Carl Wilkens moved his young family to Rwanda in the spring of 1990. When the genocide was launched in April 1994, Carl refused to leave, even when urged to do so by close friends, his church and the United States government. Thousands of expatriates evacuated and the United Nations pulled out most of its troops. Carl was the only American to remain in the country. Venturing out each day into streets crackling with mortars and gunfire, he worked his way through roadblocks of angry, bloodstained soldiers and civilians armed with machetes and assault rifles in order to bring food, water and medicine to groups of orphans trapped around the city. His actions saved the lives of hundreds.

Carl returned to the United States in 1996. After being featured in the 2004 PBS Frontline documentary, “Ghosts of Rwanda”, about the Rwanda genocide, he began to receive letters, phone calls and offers from teachers around the country to come and share his experiences with students.

In January 2008, with no end in sight to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan, Carl decided quit his job and dedicate himself full time to accepting these invitations.  He and his wife Teresa have since formed an educational nonprofit, World Outside My Shoes, to facilitate this important work.