Dafur has been smouldering along, a genocide in open sight that the UN is still discussing, since the UN is more busy condemning Zionism and other more important things.
But today’s IHT has an article discussing the 2005 peace treaty between Sudan and the southern secessionist tribes. The article is quite hopeful, and the UN sees this peace as an example for resolving the problem of Dafur.
The horrors of Dafur, where the victims are black Muslims persecuted by an Arab Muslim government, is not the first genocide in that country. The original Sudanese genocide was against their black tribes in the south, who are non Muslim (mainly Christian and Animist religion).
You might have heard about the “lost boys” from this war.
Dau said he was one of about 27,000 boys from across the south, who jointly came to be known as the “Lost Boys of Sudan” that fled.
Theirs was an exodus, by foot, of 1,000 miles during which they struggled to survive ambushes, unforgiving desert conditions, famine, thirst, sickness and attacks by wild animals. A three-month journey took them to Ethiopia, the Lost Boys’ first extended stop before war there in 1991 drove them on a six-month trek to Kenya.
Of the 19 he began walking with, two were killed and 12 died of thirst before reaching Ethiopia.
Sitting in a luxurious, Glenwild community home Sunday morning, Dau spoke about the journey that brought him there. He was one of 4,000 Lost Boys, who eventually resettled in America.
Back then, in the 1980′s, few reports of the genocide was in the newspapers, but Christian missionaries working with the refugees did manage to get word out (all foreign missionaries were deported in 1964, but they did work with refugees in nearby countries).
Gale’s paper quotes estimates of casualties:
Burr estimates that over 1.3 million southern Sudanese perished in the conflict between 1983 and 1993 in a population….During the next five years, 1993 through 1998, Burr estimates that another 600,000 southern Sudanese perished in the war.
Yet even this war was not the first genocide against minorities in that country. There is a long history of very brutal civil wars against the southern tribes.
The First Civil War, 1955 through 1972, had ended with a litany of brutality and terrorism in remote places where accountability was of little concern and the media absent. The fighting was unremitting for the civilians and debilitating for the army of the Sudan. The conflict displaced thousands of southern Sudanese, resulting in a massive number of refugees. It created a coterie of exiled southern elite. It destroyed the fragile infrastructure left by the British. It produced Christian martyrs. It convinced many southern Sudanese that there could be no compromise with their northern Sudanese brothers.
So will the UN manage to get peacekeepers into Dafur? Will Dafur, like the Southern Sudan, soon become peaceful?
And is the “peace” merely because millions have died from genocidal war, disease, and famine against the non Arab minority, and as a result those surviving are too exhausted to fight back? For if the Sudanese government does not accept that 30 percent of it’s population who is not Islamic and the non Arab Muslim tribes in Dafur as equal in that country, another civil war will break out again.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and FishmarketÂ