Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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.

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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.

Iran, Al Qaeda, and Why Sudan Matters to American Security

When I talk to most people about events in Sudan, the response is all too often simply, “Those poor people.” Those who are able to do something about the situation in Sudan spend their time working on fixing symptoms. The response to “Those poor people” is most often consideration of sending them humanitarian aid, knowing full well that they will need more of it later.  What happens when “Those poor people” are being abused and oppressed by people who not only wish to do harm to the United States and its interests, but have the ability do so? What happens when the oppressor can threaten severe harm to our allies and to our way of life? The response becomes “I’m interested.”

Starting in 1992 and ending in 1996, Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden were based in Sudan. They had been invited by Hassan al Turabi, the Islamist leader, in the aftermath of a coup led by Omar al Bashir. Al Qaeda established training camps and grew in strength. The world knows the results of the failure to stop Al Qaeda then. Sudan’s troubles came to America’s cities. Moreover, when we left Sudan alone, Bashir oversaw the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents during the next decade, “those poor people,” first in Darfur and then in the Nuba Mountains.

Pleas of “never again” fall on deaf ears. Yes, we send humanitarian aid where and when we can, but as Samantha Power, in speaking about Bosnia, noted:

No U.S. president has ever made genocide prevention a priority, and no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on.

Today, Iran supports the Sudanese government financially in exchange for the ability to operate from Sudanese soil and to manufacture weaponry there so as to ease transport to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Syria and Hizballah. Great efforts are now being made to halt weapons smuggling through the Sinai into Gaza, but weapons are freely flowing elsewhere, destabilizing the region.

Iran is seeking to station medium and long range missiles in Sudan that could be used to strike Israel. These weapons could just as easily be fired to the east towards Saudi Arabia instead of towards Israel in the north. They could also be fired by Al Qaeda affiliated militant groups instead of Iranian troops. Either way, this could be a game changer, not only for Israel but for the region.

Policy makers are so focused on the threat by Iran in the Persian Gulf that they ignore the fact that the Gulf of Aden and the entire area to the south of the Suez Canal could just as easily, if not more easily, be shut down by attacks from Sudan. How many ships attacked while attempting to cross through the Suez Canal would lead to a reduction or halt of shipping? What would happen to oil prices if the Suez Canal were shut down? How would that affect the US economy? Anyone listening now?

Meanwhile rebels from Mali have been fleeing to Darfur for refuge.

We are not paying enough attention to the threats posed by the situation in Sudan including Iranian involvement and a long history of welcoming militants who hate America including Al Qaeda. The terror incubator remains open for business and business is unfortunately booming.

Screening of Across the Frontlines at Drake University Today

Join us as we screen the movie, Across the Frontlines, and have a panel discussion including members of the Sudanese community.

Today, February 16th 3 pm at Drake University, Cartwright Hall, room 213. http://www.drake.edu/visit/map/ Cartwright Hall is the Drake Law School, #10 on the map.

Thank you. The Help Nuba Coalition, Drake Law School International Law Society, Des Moines Chapter of the Iowa United Nations Association, and United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities. For additional information, contact helpnuba@gmail.com www.helpnuba.net

Sudan Emergency Action Summit

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Sudan Emergency Action Summit 2013

March 10 – 11, 2013

George Mason University, Washington D.C. (Arlington Campus)


Join Act for Sudan and 300 of the leading activists from around the country for an energizing and educational event.

Register Now*

Download Summit Flyer (PDF)

Summit Highlights


Notable Speakers:

Prominent Sudanese Activists Leading Breakout Sessions:

  • Ibrahim T. Ahmed, Co-founder and Executive Director, Beja Organization for Human Rights and Development
  • Niemat Ahmadi, President, Darfur Women Action Group
  • Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih, U.S. Department of State 2012 International Women of Courage Award Winner
  • Abdalmageed Haroun, Chairperson, Human Rights & Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND)
  • Jimmy Mulla, Founder and President, Voices for Sudan
  • Mohamed Suleiman, President, San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition
  • Bahar Arabie, CEO, Unite For Darfur
  • Gogadi Amoga, Chair, Sudanese Marginalized Forum-USA
  • Khalid Gerais, Human Rights Activist and Representative of Nubia Project
  • Daowd Salih, Board President, Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy

Plenary Speakers and Panels

  • Lessons from 10 years of Sudan policy
  • The Future for Sudan
  • Perspectives on Sudan Media Coverage
  • Policy and Action – Changing US Government Policy
  • Insights from International Leadership
  • Genocide Scholars: Intervention and Prevention

Workshop Topics

  • Lobbying 101
  • Leveraging Multi-Media Projects
  • Upholding Responsibility to Protect When States Fail
  • Arresting Bashir
  • Advocating for Human Rights in Sudan
  • Making bones for the One Million Bones event on the Mall in June

Monday Afternoon Group Activity

  • Lobby on Capitol Hill

Registration


Early Bird Registration Donation of $60 ends February 15, 2013!

Register Now*

*You don’t have to be affiliated with Act for Sudan to attend!
*After February 15, registration will be $75
*Act for Sudan has arranged for special hotel pricing of $99/night. Once you have submitted your registration and payment you will receive information on booking the special hotel rate. Book soon to ensure you get the special rate.

Registration Donation Waiver

We understand that travel to DC can be cost prohibitive, and hope to reach as wide and as inclusive an audience with this conference as possible. To that end, we have a limited amount of fee waivers or other travel assistance available.

Apply Here

 

An Update on Sudan

There have been a number of developments over the past couple of months that should be of concern and interest to those who care about events in Sudan.

First, the Sudan Revolutionary Forces, working with the National Consensus Forces, created the New Dawn Charter. The New Dawn Charter is a document that declares the intentions of the SRF and NCF to work together to build a western style government with freedoms and liberties, including separation of church and state,  in the aftermath of the fall of the Khartoum Regime.  While it would be reasonable to assume that every party involved does not necessarily support all of the details of the New Dawn Charter, some of the parties being Communist, Baathist, or religiously oriented, the crux of the document is that the parties involved will work together to create a stable and healthy Sudan should the regime fall. This is a hopeful occurrence. Gibriel Ibrahim Mohamed, the Chairperson of the Justice and Equality Movement, wrote a good editorial explaining the purpose of the Charter which may be found here.

Second, fighting along the Sudan – South Sudan border continues and the two nations do not appear to be able to move forward in settling their disputes. Every week, there are villages bombed and civilians killed by Sudan’s armed forces.

Third, the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is deteriorating. What aid was able to be brought in prior to onset of the rainy season is rapidly diminishing. Food, clean water, and medicine are all in extremely short supply.

Fourth, there is a strengthening relationship between Sudan, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Hizballah and Hamas that is being developed by the Iranian government. Iran had already been manufacturing weapons in Khartoum for Hizballah and Hamas to use against Israel, but now seeks to use Sudan as a base of operations in the Red Sea as such. We may see a significantly increased Iranian military presence in Port Sudan in the coming months.

Fifth, there seems to be little or no political will to enforce sanctions against the government of Sudan. Germany recently held a conference promoting investment in Sudan. More importantly, the United States has been pressuring South Sudan to restart the flow of oil, which provide a significant income stream and undermine the affect of sanctions. This certainly is also aimed at helping the South Sudanese economy, but it will help Sudan as well.

Help Nuba - A Sudan Advocacy Organization

USASSCA Logo

UNITED SUDANESE & SOUTH SUDANESE COMMUNITIES ASSOCIATION (USASSCA)

Calling on all Sudanese communities from Sudan and South Sudan, the genocide prevention activist community, and Nebraskans who are concerned about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Darfur.

Sunday, December 16

2:30-6:30 PM

Temple Israel

7023 Cass St  

Omaha, NE 68132

You are invited to participate in the creation of the USASSCA Chapter in Omaha.

USASSCA is an umbrella organization whose mission it is to bring together Sudanese with South Sudanese Communities in the Diaspora and facilitate cooperation and well being between them. The first conference was held in Des Moines, Iowa in August. Many members of the Nebraska Sudanese and South Sudanese communities attended.  For information about the creation of USASSCA please click on this link.

Rabbi David Kaufman,  Chairman and Co-Founder of HelpNuba.org and Executive Advisor to USASSCA, and  

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USASSCA Meeting in Omaha Nebraska – December 16

USASSCA Logo

UNITED SUDANESE & SOUTH SUDANESE COMMUNITIES ASSOCIATION (USASSCA)

Calling on all Sudanese communities from Sudan and South Sudan, the genocide prevention activist community, and Nebraskans who are concerned about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Darfur.

Sunday, December 16

2:30-6:30 PM

Temple Israel

7023 Cass St  

Omaha, NE 68132

You are invited to participate in the creation of the USASSCA Chapter in Omaha.

USASSCA is an umbrella organization whose mission it is to bring together Sudanese with South Sudanese Communities in the Diaspora and facilitate cooperation and well being between them. The first conference was held in Des Moines, Iowa in August. Many members of the Nebraska Sudanese and South Sudanese communities attended.  For information about the creation of USASSCA please click on this link.

Rabbi David Kaufman,  Chairman and Co-Founder of HelpNuba.org and Executive Advisor to USASSCA, and  Dr. Henry Lejukole, Chairman of the USASSCA Steering Comittee will join Sudanese and South Sudanese community members from Nebraska as we work to bring the communities together in Omaha with our friends from the broader community. Many thanks to Rabbi Azriel and to Temple Israel for hosting this event.

Please share this invitation with anyone you think would be interested attending.

Sudan – The Failing Economy and The Future

Over the past few months, I have written several articles dealing with the state of the Sudanese economy and implications for the ongoing conflicts in which Sudan is involved. I wrote in October about ongoing attempts to bail out the Sudanese government in direct contradiction to the sanctions imposed upon it for its genocidal actions, but I wrote as early as May and  June that the economic situation will eventually have a major impact on Sudan’s ability to maintain its military or to avoid uprisings in the streets. Economically, things have gotten much worse in the months since. Professor Eric Reeves wrote a lengthy description of the economic situation faced by the Sudanese government in which he detailed an array of major problems. I encourage you to read the full article, but wish to highlight here some of what Professor Reeves describes. He notes that:

  1. Sudan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world which makes business investment there very difficult and expensive to conduct as well as causing resentment and distrust.
  2. Sudan is one of the worst performing economies in the world. There is negative economic growth in Sudan. The economy is getting smaller at a rate of -11.2% per year.
  3. Inflation is sky-high. In October the official rate was 45.3%. Meaning that next year, everything will cost nearly one-and-a-half times what it does right now. The inflation rates for food and fuel are much worse than that. As bad as this is, Reeves notes that in September, the official rate was listed at 42% but some suggest that the actual rate was closer to 65%.
  4. The Khartoum Regime has sold off much of its oil assets in order to pay current bills.
  5. Anti-regime protests forced Khartoum to reinstate fuel subsidies that the World Monetary Fund demanded that it end so that Sudan’s currency market could stabilize.
  6. The Sudanese government is now printing money to service its increasing debt resulting in both inflation in prices and devaluing of its currency. One US Dollar now is exchanged for 6.5 Sudanese Pounds in the black market compared with 5 pounds earlier this year.
  7. Sudan has limited foreign currency reserves and thus is facing a situation in which it is forced to use its own devalued currency to purchase needed items in foreign markets including the 400,000 tons of Sugar it imports each year.
  8. Arab governments are reticent to offer financial backing to the regime. Only Qatar (and I would add, probably Iran) has offered aid. Claims to the contrary about large deposits in the Central Bank of Sudan actually diminish the regimes credibility and therefore credit with other nations and exporters.
  9. Future prospects of oil income are far more limited than they once were with most of the oil reserves located in South Sudan. In April, 2012 Sudan was actually listed as a net oil importer by the International Monetary Fund meaning that it uses more oil than it produces.
  10. Agricultural land has been poorly managed or destroyed and Sudan no longer has sufficient native agriculture to meet national food needs.
  11. A huge percentage of Sudan’s gross domestic product GDP is going to pay for military operations. These bills are being paid in Sudanese Pounds which are being devalued. Thus soldiers who are being paid the same wages each month are seeing the value of what they are being paid diminish. With 50% inflation, someone paid $3000 per year is now being paid the equivalent of $2000. That is going to promote resentment and could spell the collapse of the regime’s efforts to defend itself.
  12. Political support is weakening along with increasing resentment among those who work for and support the regime.

Professor Reeves concludes:

Despite the already acute and growing danger of complete economic implosion, the regime persists with immensely expensive and unproductive policies, including war in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, as well as hostile actions along the North/South border, and the supplying of renegade militia groups inside South Sudan.  For a regime that is ruthlessly survivalist, this makes no rational sense: current economic realities are diminishing the chances that the regime will survive.

The world needs to stand up to the Khartoum Regime and force it to change its ways or leave power, not only for the benefit of the greatly suffering peoples in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile, but also for the sake of Sudan itself and its population held hostage by an irrational, destructive, and hate-filled regime.

Help Nuba - A Sudan Advocacy Organization

  • December 14th
  • Washington DC
  • 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Lafayette Square (Directly north of the White House)

The Khartoum regime has increased bombardment and the burning of villages and crops across the Nuba Mountains. It is unimaginable. We want to have this rally as a way to show solidarity with the people of this area and the Blue Nile state. We will also remember people from other regions of Sudan who are suffering including the people of Darfur who have never rested from the brutal Sudan regime since 2003.

The world has blinded itself from what is happening in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Sudan in general. We are calling on you as humanitarian organizations, activists, Sudanese opposition and Diaspora, pro-democracy groups and everyone who cares about Sudan to come out and tell the US government that innocent lives in Sudan must be protected. We need ideas and help with…

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