What does a small child have to do to survive in South Kordofan, Sudan?

Children in Kauda, South Kordofan, Sudan, shelter from a passing Antonov, 2012. Photograph: Peter Moszynski

Hi everyone,

What does a small child have to do to survive in South Kordofan, Sudan?  This photo says it all.  How can we possibly even begin to imagine what it is really like for them to be in this horrific situation?  The accompanying question is, why do we continue to do so little to help them?

An eerie silence suddenly descends upon Kauda’s market as people scan the skies for the source of the distant yet all-too-familiar throb of Soviet-manufactured plane engines.

“Antonov!” the cry goes out, and people scatter, diving into the nearest hole or scrambling for cover wherever they can. After a few minutes the engines fade and people get up, dust themselves off and attempt to get on with what passes for normality for the beleaguered inhabitants of Sudan‘s Nuba mountains.

“Women and children usually constitute the largest number of casualties from these bombing raids,” says Ahmed Kafi, local co-ordinator for one of the few international NGOs that still maintains a presence on the ground. “Most of the men and older children learned long ago to take cover when they hear an Antonov approaching, but the younger ones often run in panic and there is nothing in the world that can prevent a mother from chasing after her children.”

From “World again turns blind eye to people of Sudan’s Nuba mountains,” by Peter Moszynski

Then this morning’s news:  Two Antonovs dropped 28 bombs in the town of Kauda in South Kordofan.  Amazingly, no one was reported as having been killed.  A few days ago in the village of Eieri a family of five was not as lucky.  They were killed.

Here is one little helpful thing you can do.  Ask the UNSC, AU and US to Provide Civilian Protection in Sudan. To sign the petition, click here.

Thank you.

Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
(949) 891-2005

African Union grants immunity to Omar Al-Bashir


Omar Al-Bashir (Photo by US Navy / MC2 Jesse Awalt

The African Union (AU) has decided to denounce the International Criminal Court (ICC) for indicting Omar Al-Bashir for “crimes against humanity”.  This implies that

  • AU members “shall not cooperate” with the court in The Hague.
  • Al-Bashir is free to travel to any African country without fear of arrest.

Initially Botswana and South Africa had publicly stated that they will arrest the Mr. Bashir if he travelled to their countries.  However, South Africa’s stance has since changed.

“Maybe at one point, the new South African government expressed some negative views … As South Africa was part of the decision at Sirte, it implies that this means he would be able to travel there” Al-Sadiq said.

“As far as we are concerned, whenever there are meetings in the African continent, or in Arab countries, he will go there,” he added.

I am deeply disappointed by this decision.  The innocent people of Darfur need the leaders of Africa to hold brutal regimes like the Sudanese government accountable and in check.  They are still waiting for justice.

Read the complete article at Sudan Tribune.

And the article in the Star Tribune.

The decision at the African Union summit says AU members “shall not cooperate” with the court in The Hague “in the arrest and transfer of President Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan to theThe

Protecting Darfur’s Women

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

African Union – UN hybrid peacekeeping mission UNAMID has teamed up with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) to push a new initiative aimed at empowering the women of Darfur.

Efforts will go towards achieving gender equality – both politically and economically – and putting an end to sexual and gender-based violence.

It is important for us to note that women empowerment in Darfur also means girl empowerment as several of the victims of rapes, beatings, and discrimination have yet to even reach adulthood.

UNAMID Delivers Exams to Darfur Schools

News coming out of Darfur has been pretty dire recently (and rightly so given the current situation). With story after story of violence and suffering, it is hard to imagine that any “good” is taking place in the region.

However, there is “good” in Darfur. Consider this –

Today, UNAMID airlifted examination supplies to various secondary schools located in North Darfur. The supplies will be used for national certificate examinations which are held throughout the country.

Nevertheless, it is highly likely that the schools receiving the supplies are lacking resources of another kind. It is also highly likely that the students attending the schools are lacking appropriate nutrition, shelter, and medical care. How exactly is one supposed to perform well on an exam with one’s survival in question?

So, yes, there is “good” in Darfur. Just not nearly enough.

Darfur Town Captured

As expected, the Darfur town of Muhajiriya is now in the hands of the Sudanese army.

Rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) left Muhajiriya in an effort to prevent further fighting from impacting the town’s 30,000 residents.

UNAMID peacekeepers remained in the town – also for the sake of protecting residents.

In other news, Libyan leader and new African Union chairman Moammar Gadhafi said today that finding a resolution to the Darfur crisis is now his “personal responsibility“.

US Authorizes Airlift, Blasts Kristof, and Meets with Kiir

US President George Bush has ordered an airlift of much needed (and much delayed) equipment to the UN-African Union mission (UNAMID) trying to hold pieces together in Darfur.

According to US National Security advisor Stephen Hadley, the airlift will “help UNAMID directly protect civilian lives and improve the safe and effective delivery of lifesaving humanitarian aid”.

Certainly a curious move by the US – occurring during the final two weeks of Bush’s presidency regarding a now almost six-year-long crisis.

However, in perhaps an even more curious move, the US criticized NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof for his own criticism of the Bush administration’s inability to accompany its tough words for Sudan with tough actions.

Kristof responded by saying he was “flattered” to be mentioned in a statement issued by the US government.

In other news, Sudanese First VP Salva Kiir met with President Bush Monday to discuss the North-South peace agreement and the Darfur conflict. To read more about their meeting, click here.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

BBC News has released its 2008 Africa – Year in Pictures. Check it out.

Sadly, most monthly highlights show violence and instability.

Hopefully, 2009 will bring more awareness and aid to regions in need.