Can a dress unify Sudan?

Here is an interesting piece from Al Jazeera about the “Thobe”, the national dress of Sudan.

The national dress of Sudanese women is the thobe – locally known as “Top” – a traditional form of dress that wraps the body in a long bolt of fabric.

Influenced by the Roman toga and the Indian Sari, “Top”, is worn by women everywhere throughout Sudan.

And with the country confronting a traumatic possible break-up into North and South Sudan, the idea of a unifying national dress is reassuring for many.

Al Jazeera’s May Welsh reports from the capital, Khartoum.

AFRICOM and the “War On Terror”

This past December, Rageh Omaar from Al Jazeera did an extremely informative documentary on AFRICOM, the United States new initiative in Africa.  It sheds light of little known aspects of American foreign policy in the Africa — our involvement in Somalia, Cameroon, Uganda and yes Sudan.   Watch it below.

Part 1

Part 2

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Sudanese Nubians worried about new dam

Here is another drama unfolding in Sudan.

Hundreds of people in northern Sudan have protested against the construction of a dam that is being built over the Nile, the world’s longest river.  The Nubian population of northern Sudan is already familiar with having their hometowns flooded by government-approved reservoirs.

Mohammed Vall from Al Jazeera reports.

Gration: We don’t have all the monitoring mechanisms that we need yet

Yesterday, Special Envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration and National Security Council Director, Samantha Power sat down with Jerry Fowler of the Save Darfur Coalition and Layla Amjadi of STAND.  They discussed a wide range of topics regarding the recently released policy by the Obama Administration.

Click here to watch the complete webcast.

Gration:  We don’t have yet all the monitoring mechanisms that we need.  When the NGOs were expelled, we lost some very valuable NGOs that we have not gotten back in yet…  And the fact is that while we’ve been able to compensate for food and water and healthcare and sanitation, some of the protection NGOs have not been able to get back in…

For us to objectively verify, we’re going to have to have different types of NGOs on the ground and more of those NGOs on the ground. And we’re going to have UNAMID with more freedom of movement and the ability to monitor better what’s happening on the ground, so that we can take action.  And those are the things we’re working on right now.

Other highlights that stuck out at me in this illuminating conference include:

  • Samantha Power mentioned that  everytime President Obama has sat down with Chinese President, Hu Jintao,  “this issue has been discussed”.
  • And Scott Gration mentioned that “a major impediment to [Darfuri] people returning home is the ‘pschological stuff’.”

I’m glad senior officials in the Administration recognize the deep impact of such trauma and how that affects peacemaking.

Obama in Ghana – Hope for Darfur?

President Obama spoke in Ghana following the G8 summit. While encouraging Africans to take responsibility for their own future, he does acknowledge that the genocide in Darfur is not simply an African problem. He calls for an international system to oppose human rights violations and help those who have suffered. He specifically spoke out against the criminality and cowardice of systematic rape.
“We must bear witness to the value of every child in Darfur and dignity of every woman in the Congo.
Mr. Obama outlined the need for democracy, opportunity, health care, and peaceful conflict resolution. For the entire speech, click here.

The Reckoning, a new documentary on the ICC premieres in July

“The Reckoning” by Pamela Yates, follows dynamic ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and his team for three years across four continents as he issues arrest warrants for Lord’s Resistance Army leaders in Uganda, puts Congolese warlords on trial, shakes up the Colombian justice system, and charges Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir with genocide in Darfur.

Watch the trailer below.

In this place killers go unpunished.  Without justice, people have no respect for each other.  If this is left unpunished, it will happen again.

This documentary was the official selection of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.  And it premieres on PBS on Tuesday, July 14thCheck your local listings.

You cannot have lasting peace without justice.

The Reckoning (official website)

See the broadcast schedule on PBS.

Stop Genocide Now – Live from Chad

Gabriel, KTJ, Eric and Ian from Stop Genocide Now have been broadcasting from the refugee camps at the Sudan-Chad border for the last 2 weeks.  Here are some of their videos from I-Act 8.

Preparing to enter the camps

“We got them (permits)…”

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