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Sudan: Today's ignored holocaust

By Rachel Alexander
web posted June 10, 2002

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated that there is perhaps no greater tragedy on the face of the earth today than the war in Sudan. The State Department views Sudan as one of the most egregious violators of human rights. George Bush's "Axis of Evil" should have included Sudan.

Strangely, the media has relegated the holocaust in Sudan to the back pages of the newspapers as if thousands of people being killed, children raped, and enslaved every day is not really that important. As a result, most people don't even know what is happening in Sudan.

The northern fundamentalist Muslim government, the Khartoum, has declared jihad against the mostly Christian south. The fighting began in 1983 when rebels from the Christian south rose up against Khartoum's forced implementation of Muslim law. Muslim students were lured into fighting for the Khartoum with promises that they would be allowed to keep whatever they stole from the south. Captured women have been raped and their children sold into slavery. Christians from the north who refuse to fight with the Khartoum against the south are forced to be mine sweepers. Hospitals, schools, relief centers, and marketplaces are constantly under bombardment.

Because of the war, there is massive famine. Christians compose 19 percent of the population. Since the war began, two million have died from the war and famine. In comparison, six million Jews died in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany. There are no other wars currently going on that have had as many deaths. Even the current war in Afghanistan, which has been going on since 1979, probably has not reached two million deaths. And in the entire twentieth century, there have been only about seven wars that have seen more than two million deaths.

Although the U.S. has negotiated an agreement that limits attacks on civilians in Sudan, this agreement is ignored by the Khartoum regime. Groups such as Servant's Heart and the World Food Program, which are trying to send grain to the impoverished areas, are being thwarted by the Khartoum regime, which is destroying the food supplies. Sudan has been sanctioned by the U.N. for bombing U.N. relief helicopters. However, unbelievably last year, Sudan was given a seat on the Human Rights Commission, while the U.S. was kicked off for the year! This happened because each U.N. member country is allowed one vote – equal to any other country, democratic or not, and there are plenty of Sudan allies in Africa. It appears the U.N. is set up "non-judgmentally."

The Khartoum regime receives its financing from the powerful government-owned Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, which has international partners in Russia, China, and a Canadian oil company, Talisman. The government has made profits of $300 million from Talisman alone, and collects about $1 million a day from all of them. This money is then used to buy Western, Russian, and Chinese planes to bomb the south. Ninety percent of Christians in the south have been displaced, mainly to make way for oil exploration. Khartoum also receives money from allies such as Libya.

Not only has this government killed and enslaved Christians, but it has tortured them. Christians have been baked to death, their lips have been padlocked together to prevent them from talking about the torture they have endured, they have been crucified, forcibly converted to Islam and circumcised – including women. Slaves have had their fingers and limbs cut off for reasons like losing a goat.

Journalists like Dan Rather have bought into reports that slavery is not really taking place, and instead of visiting Sudan to verify the accuracy of the reports, have dismissed the work of human rights groups such as Solidarity International and the American Anti-Slavery Group, groups that are trying to stop the slavery. John Eibner, an official with Christian Solidarity International, has reportedly freed about 60,000 slaves, mostly by buying them. In all, it is estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 people from the south have been enslaved by the north and sold into slavery in other nearby countries.

The U.S. has made little progress negotiating with the Khartoum regime. In 1998, the U.S. bombed Khartoum because of suspected terrorism. Recently, the U.S. appointed John Danforth, former U.S. Senator, as special envoy to Sudan. In January he attempted to convince Khartoum to cease its bombing of civilian targets in the south. The government agreed to briefly suspend bombing to allow humanitarian aid, but then in February dropped six bombs killing two children. As a result, the U.S. suspended its peace talks with Sudan. Danforth admitted this month that the U.S. alone will not be able to end the civil war. But since September 11, the U.S. has been less critical of Khartoum, eager for the government's cooperation with the U.S. war on terrorism. This month, the U.S. posted its first resident diplomat in Khartoum in six years.

The Khartoum would like to convert the entire continent of Africa to Islam. A Khartoum sympathizer characterizes the Khartoum's disdain of the West's opposition this way, "The advantage, from the West's point of view, is that it will prevent the spread of Islam southward. Islam's appeal for Africans is natural. Its egalitarian system fits in well with the good-natured Africans, unlike the racist brand of Christianity propagated by the west. Africa is essentially a Muslim continent."

So why aren't we hearing more about this dreadful situation?

Why is the media relegating the holocaust from the Sudan to the back pages of the newspapers, if at all? Perhaps it is because the crimes being committed are by blacks upon blacks, which is something the media doesn't care about since it is not politically correct to point out. Perhaps it is also because the victims are Christians, which are usually the media's target of ridicule and criticism, not their sympathetic victims or heroes.

So the message from the media is this: if you are a black Christian, your death is a lot less important than somebody else's death. Sounds eerily similar to how the early U.S. viewed the black slaves, who were primarily Christians - as 3/5 of a person. Funny, since the liberal-leaning media never ceases to insist that their "progressive" left wing philosophy is the least racist philosophy.

The author is the editor of IntellectualConservative.com

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