Category Archives: Starvation

Franklin Graham calls for bombing Sudan’s airbases

In an article for the Washington Times, Franklin Graham called upon the United States to bomb Sudan’s runways to prevent Sudan from bombing the civilians in the Nuba Mountains:

I am asking him (President Obama) to use our Air Force to destroy Mr. Bashir’s airstrips – the airstrips his military uses to launch bombers that carry out daily attacks in the Nuba Mountains. The Nuba people don’t want American soldiers – they can fight for themselves. They just want to be free. But they have no defense against bombs dropping from the sky on their villages, schools and hospitals…I certainly am not asking the president to kill anyone, just to break up some concrete to prevent the bombers from taking off. I think that by destroying those runways, we can force Mr. Bashir to the negotiating table. This needs to happen soon because Sudan’s rainy season is coming. If we continue to turn our backs and don’t act, it will be too late for thousands of men, women and children.

A History of Hypocrisy on Sudan

Eric Reeves’ most recent posting about the history of the international community’s hypocrisy in addressing the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan gives an excellent summary. I encourage you to read the whole thing. His conclusion, however, indicates why we must address this issue now more than ever:

Certainly the leadership in Juba has taken stock of what has transpired over the past ten days, and is even now re-calibrating what it can and cannot count on from the international community… The international community will no longer have the influence it had even a month ago.

Khartoum of course is also recalibrating its military policies, and the largest conclusion the regime has drawn is that it may continue its longstanding military policy of aerial attacks on civilian and humanitarian targets in the sovereign territory of South Sudan without meaningful consequences, and that it can continue is campaigns of annihilation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.  The regime has been persuaded, on the basis of ample evidence, that even South Sudan’s putative friends regard “sovereignty” as one thing for Khartoum and quite another for Juba.

It is hard to see a greater encouragement to war.

Groups ask UN Security Council to take escalated action against Sudan

From Act for Sudan

Groups ask UN Security Council to take escalated action against Sudan

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – April 24, 2012 – Today, in advance of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Sudan, Act for Sudan, a bipartisan, interfaith alliance of American and Sudanese grassroots advocacy organizations, is delivering to Members of the UN Security Council a public letter signed by human rights leaders in the U.S. and abroad.

The letter “expresses alarm at the inadequate international attention and action” regarding the multiple crises in Sudan and states that the government of Sudan has “effectively blackmailed the international community into accepting these ongoing crises by threatening to do even more deliberate harm to its marginalized, defenseless and displaced citizens.”

The 65 signatories to the letter include Sudanese diaspora groups and Baroness Caroline Cox signing on behalf of Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust.

“For too long, the government of Sudan has heard the international community express grave concerns without imposing consequences or enforcing UN Security Council resolutions. Worse, the international community’s concern too often devolves into a dangerous moral equivalency, blaming everyone and no one, and confusing perpetrators and victims,” the letter states.

“We urge you to end the moral equivalency, the impunity, and the crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide perpetrated by the government of Sudan, and to start imposing consequences for its actions. Condemnation is necessary but not sufficient. We strongly believe that only concrete, escalated action will change the calculations of Sudan’s government officials and break the pattern of grave crimes, human rights abuses and humanitarian crises,” continues the letter.

The groups further outline specific steps they want the UNSC to take in the letter.

The full text of the letter along with the list of signatories may be found at this link.

Tobin and Cohen commentaries on the Jewish community and Sudan

Two very good commentaries to note today:

Jonathan Tobin wrote an article for Commentary Magazine in which he argued that President Obama and US policy should not abandon South Sudan. Tobin noted that US support and influence helped bring independence to South Sudan. He also pointed out that in the President’s speech given at the United States Holocaust Memorial yesterday, the President stressed “Never again!” Tobin noted that this sentiment now needs to be backed up. Will the United States stand idly by?

Ben Cohen wrote an article for the Jointmedia News Service in which he argued, as I do, that “South Sudan is a Jewish cause.” Cohen noted that:

Jewish communities around the world, and especially here in North America, need to flex their muscles in support of South Sudan. The ethical imperative is clear, as anyone following the brutal campaign waged by the Sudanese regime in the Nuba mountains in recent weeks would be aware.

I believe that not only is South Sudan a Jewish cause, but so is Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, Abyei… We need to speak out. The Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North is not a “rebel group,” but is instead similar to those fighting for survival in the ghettos in Europe. With an enemy killing them on site and using starvation as a tool, it is not rebels who rise up. All human beings rise up. We should stand in angry opposition to those who say, “Let them first lay down their arms!” May it not come to this:

The force that has overcome Europe and destroyed entire states within days could cope with us, a handful of youngsters. It was an act of desperation . . . We aspired to only one thing: to sell our lives for the highest possible price. 

– Mordechai Tenenbaum, resistance fighter in Vilna, Warsaw, and Bialystok

The Burning of the Church in Khartoum

General Bashir’s Racism and Promotion of Religious Hatred
are Behind the Burning Down of the Church in the Heart of Khartoum
In the last two weeks, General Bashir and his colleagues have used inflammatory language of racism and religious hatred against his own citizens and the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan, describing Southern Sudanese as insects. Later on, he tried to limit it to the Government of South Sudan, but he was much earlier exposed when he dehumanized and robbed half a million Southern Sudanese citizens from their rights. It is evidently clear that it is Southern Sudanese that he is targeting. Moreover, he used an old phrase of an Arabic poem against one of the black Egyptian rulers, which said that “you should not buy a slave without a stick.” This is not an insult to Southern Sudanese only, but it is in the first place an insult to Northern Sudanese in whose name Bashir is ruling. Moreover, it is an insult to humanity and a violation of all human rights and international charters. Likewise, it is an insult to the entire African continent and to black women and men worldwide, which includes all Northern Sudanese.
General Bashir is misreading and misjudging the recent international appeals to him and his government and he believes he is in a honeymoon with the international community. This is a recipe for disaster because it will encourage him to intensify war and human rights violations within the Republic of Sudan and to scale up the aggression against the Republic of South Sudan. He has already taken more than 500,000 civilians, displaced persons, in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile hostage, denying them from their very basic rights to humanitarian assistance, and moreover, he is bombarding them with his air force. He is encouraged that the situation of the hostages has been overshadowed with other crises. The policy of appeasement to Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, is the same policy of appeasement in a different context and environment that long ago created Adolf Hitler.
As a result of Bashir’s language of religious hatred and with direct encouragement and protection from the security and police in Khartoum, who are spoon feeding the fundamentalist groups; a religious group associated with the National Congress, burned down Algreaf Church, an evangelical church, in the heart of Khartoum. They looted the church and burned it down to ashes. This does not represent Islam and in particular the Sudanese Islam, which is a Sufi tolerant Islam. It only represents Bashir, his group and his ideology. This is an extension of what he is doing in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. The only difference is that it moved to Khartoum under his own eyes and protection. We call upon the Sudanese Muslims to stand against the policies of the National Congress and Bashir, who are destroying the very Sudanese social fabric, and we should defend the right of Sudanese Christians as equal citizens of our great country.
It is worth mentioning that the Sudanese security forces launched the biggest campaign detaining more than 30 of the SPLM-N leaders and members in the 15 different states of the North. Those are members of the SPLM-N who are not carrying arms and are working peacefully for what they believe in the areas controlled by Bashir. Among them are Izdhar Jmmua, a lawyer, and Alawya Kepada in addition to more than 200 who are missing, detained and are sentenced to death. Among them are the poet, Moniem Rahma, and Dr. Bushra Gamar and many others.
We, the Sudanese people, and all those who believe in the values of equal citizenship, human rights and religious and ethnic co-existence and those friends who are ready must stand against a racist delusional person who happens to be the president of a state and who is wanted by the International Criminal Court and is committing genocide and crimes against humanity that the world will live to regret. And in particular, the massive starvation policy that is putting more than 500,000 people on the brink of death must not be forgotten and humanitarian aid to them should be the number one priority. This is the SPLM-N’s message on my visit right now to the United States and we will leave no a stone unturned to deliver our message. The SPLM-N is ready to meet all requirements for the delivery of humanitarian aid including the cessation of hostilities on humanitarian grounds.
Yasir Arman
Secretary General
Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement North
April 24, 2012

Sudan Pledges to Fight “Food Smuggling”

The level of incompetence being exhibited by the United Nations in response to events in Sudan is so high as to render absurd any consideration of the organization as effective at saving lives or useful at promoting peace. A few days after ordering South Sudan to retreat from Heglig and demanding that South Sudan not aid the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North, which it already said it was not doing, the UN is observing the consequences. Sudan has pledged to continue to prevent food from reaching the tens of thousands of starving people who are fighting against a government that is trying to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing against them. Actually, Sudan is arguing that it is attempting to prevent food smuggling from Sudan into the regions of South Sudan where there are also significant food shortages.

While there may well be clandestine trade between the two nations occurring, the real reason for military action against cross border food trade is not to combat rebels, but instead

  • to try to heighten the famine that will be faced by the people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile,
  • to prevent humanitarian aid from non-governmental organizations from reaching them, and
  • to force the people to flee across the border into South Sudan to find food or
  • to perish in the mountains from starvation.

The United Nations’ Security Council’s refusal to act to save the people of the Nuba Mountains by ensuring that food arrives is tantamount to abetting the Khartoum regime in its war on civilians in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur as well as in its growing campaign against Unity State. That the UN’s policy concerning aiding those being deliberately starved by their government should be to ask that very government to allow the food to be delivered is an absurdity that borders on callous indifference. If sending in food against that government’s will enables the people to save their lives and to continue fighting one of the most brutal regimes of the past century, I should hardly the think the world would be worse for having done so.