Monday, April 30, 2007

Sandmonkey quits blogging

The Egyptian blogging under the name Rantings of a Sandmonkey is quitting!

Today is going to be the day that I've been dreading for quite sometime now. Today is the day I walk away from this blog. Done. Finished.

There are many reasons, each would take a post to list, and I just do not have the energy to list them. As anyone who has been reading this blog for the past month, I think it is apparent that things are not the same with me.

There are reasons for that: One of the chief reasons is the fact that there has been too much heat around me lately. I no longer believe that my anonymity . . . Continue reading here.

The pressure of the government on blogers is becoming unbearable. The case of the imprisoned blogger is still fresh in the minds. Another light just goes out in Egypt. First it was the Big Pharaoh. Now this . . .

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Global Day for Dafur: Time is Up

Today, the world came out in rallies for Darfur. In over 35 world capitals, people will came out in a mass protest against the crisis in Darfur.

Time running out indeed! With USA drive for sanctions on Sudan suspended with an ultimatum, there has to be a way out in this crisis. Has the international community failed Darfur or hyped the wrong reasons for the conflict? Now that it is four years down the road, the way ahead is even bleaker. The rebels are disunited without an agenda, the government wanting a military solution and the Darfurians bleeding. A region up in flames.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Shine Deng Shine!

Luol Deng had 26 points, five rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block in the Bulls 107-89 game two win over the Heat on Tuesday 24th April.

Analysis: Deng had 14 points in the fourth quarter to ensure that the Heat never had a chance. Reputations are made in the playoffs and should the Bulls win this series there is no doubt that Deng will have established himself as a primetime performer.

Luol Deng is Dinka from South Sudan, has a British passport and plays professional basketball with the Chicago Bulls.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Turabi and Abyei

I found this editorial in Sudan Mirror very entertaining. Turabi, the self-made Isalmic ideologue is at it again: creating controversy!

The outspoken Sudanese Islamic ideologue and thinker Dr. Hassan Abdallah el Turabi is at it again. Dr Turabi who is the Second Vice President of the Government of National Unity has this time proposed that Abyei should be the “joint political capital” of both the North and the South.

With this proposal, he is bound to raise some controversial debate and he loves that. He knows that Abyei is the homeland of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms who identify themselves with the South. He also knows that Abyei is one of the contested areas and its wealth in oil attracts the North. Read more here.

Turabi likes controversy. Since he fell out with the current regime in Khartoum, he was overshadowed. He no longer has the platform to push his ideas. I bet this idea will find no supporters.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Keeping the pressure

Bush vows unilateral and tougher sanctions on Sudan.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

UN Resolutions and Darfur

The USA is calling for more UN resolutions to push Khartoum to comply with the numerous other ones. How many UN resolutions will it take to make Khartoum capitulate? There were many UNR on Sudan, which include the ones about the previous conflict in the South.

Below are the ones that deal with the conflict in Darfur.

  • 1709 (2006) of 22 September 2006
  • 1706 (2006) of 30 August 2006
  • 1679 (2006) of 16 May 2006,
  • 1665 (2006) of 29 March 2006,
  • 1663 (2006) of 24 March 2006,
  • 1593 (2005) of 31 March 2005,
  • 1591 (2005) of 29 March 2005,
  • 1590 (2005) of 24 March 2005,
  • 1574 (2004) of 19 November 2004,
  • 1564 (2004) of 18 September 2004
  • 1556 (2004) of 30 July 2004
Some important ones highlighted are:
  • 1556 (2004) Calls on Sudan to end attacks by militias
  • 1564 (2004) Threatens Sanctions against Sudan if violence continues in Darfur
  • 1591 and 1593 (2005) Recommend suspects of war crimes in Darfur to ICC
  • 1706 (2006) Vote to send UN troops to Darfur
That last resolution is the one causing headaches to Khartoum these days.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sudan accepts Phase II of UN plan

It seems Khartoum has atlast capitulated to the demands of the international community on deployment of UN troops. The FM said they can now allow more deployment of AU troops with UN support, as part of the Phase II plan.

Is this a true change of heart or just a breathing space? The previous continuous resistance of Khartoum to the phase 2 plan, and changing its stand every time, withdrawing and reneging on agreements has always been the game. What is happening this time?

This moment is long over due. I don't believe this results from the threat of sanctions from the USA. Khartoum is relying more on its Chinese support than America and the said sanctions will not affect it much in the short time. They know that. There will be another long delay before the real phase 3 is agreed for sure.

So what is hapenning? Your guess is as good as mine . . .

Friday, April 13, 2007

To circumcise or not to circumcise?

An interesting piece from Imatong:

Eyebrows were raised when the recent randomised control trials in Uganda and South Africa were stopped prematurely because of ethical reasons. The trials show that male circumcision has massive protective effect against HIV transmission. You may wonder what these had to do with the youth . . .

Circumcision is a controversial subject in South Sudan. For most people it is an Islamic religious requirement for induction into Islam. For the Zande (correct me!) is a cultural thing that all males be circumcised. And if you transfer that to the Eastern Equatoria you will be labelled a "Jallaba" if they know you are circumcised.

Why should it be a dilemma for the young people? For town folks, it is no big deal as peer pressure guarantees that it is performed before the other boys find out. You will not go to swim in the river with your peers as you will be the subject of ridicule!

Now with AIDS continuing to spread like wild fire and all prevention methods don't seem to do much, a much subtle approach seems to be promising. The trials showed the protective effect that circumcision can be promoted as one intervention for controlling HIV. The dilemma is: how can such an interventions be promoted in a traditionally non-circumcising community without raising controversy?

Culture and religion aside, male circumcision has some medical advantages: cleanliness, reduced chances of viral infection like human pappiloma virus and sexually transmitted diseases.

Mind you it doesn't mean the circumcised can go play around. It is an added advantage but does not replace the condom. While the world continues to debate the ethics, the question remains: to circ or not to circ?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mega lake discovered in Darfur!

Before you started jumping with elation, that deserts of Darfur will be turned soon into beautiful resorts, save your energy. That was years ago.

Using radar techniques scientists "reveal an ancient basin that once housed a mega-lake" in Darfur, dubbed the Northern Darfur Mega-lake. Maps of the ancient lake could help with groundwater exploration efforts in the Darfur region, where access to fresh water is both scarce and essential for refugee survival.

Then the question: The likelihood of groundwater to exist in huge amounts is almost certain, so why not explore it for groundwater to help these refugees and the people who live in Darfur? Indeed.

And then they will find oil . . .

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Darfur at # 5 on Yahoo! search

How would you know that people worldwide are interested in Darfur? Easy: look at the search engines results online. This week Yahoo! search ranked Darfur at number 5 among the top ten words being sought. Did that tell us something?
  1. Larry Birkhead
  2. Manchester United
  3. Johnny Cash
  4. Tasmanian Devil
  5. Darfur
  6. Rutgers...
  7. 28 Weeks Later
  8. Drew Barrymore
  9. Friday Night Lights
  10. Prom Hairstyles

Google Earth focuses on Darfur

So Google Earth has joined the fight. It seems the company has turn to politics, sensing to bring more focus, literally, on the crisis in Darfur.

By teaming up with the US Holocaust Museum in Whashington DC, Google Earth has introduced the new Darfur images with interative information on the region. That link shows where Google stands on Darfur: a holocaust in the making!

Their aim? "The hope is that people around the world will then put pressure on their governments to stop the violence in Darfur".

The world seems to be running out of ideas in containing the Darfur mess. This is one of the latest innovative ones, however. Information at your finger tips: just google . . .

Anna Nicole babe's dad

The father of Anna Nicole's babe identified by DNA.

The vicious circle

First you said it never happened, then you deny you were involved. Later you admit, but said reports were not true. A day later you say yes it happened and then apologies. What do you do next? You send your top minister to explain what happened: damage control.

Yes, Chad now admits fighting inside Sudan with SAF and is sending a mission to Khartoum. Cool. A politcal vicious circle.

Mercury Rising 2.0

The pressure seems to be mounting on dear Bashir on the Darfur catastrophe. The heavy weights are in Khartoum: China, America and now South Africa.

Thabo Mbeki is a respected African Statesman who is well respected in Sudan. He was instrumental in helping Sudan sign the CPA and was personally present in Naivasha, Kenya on 31st December 2004 when the agreement was signed. Infact I was there too! :)

Maybe he could be the voice that Bashir can listen too, just for once. He is now charged with telling Khartoum that the world is getting impatient with him and must be clear on the issues. Mbeki has the right to be concern, for his troops are currently serving in Darfur with the AU.

Let us see how he fairs . . .

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Pope, Easter and Darfur!

As the Christian world celebrates Easter, it is not strange that the Roman Pontiff Benedict 16th decries the humanitatrian catastrophe in Darfur, and other African hotspots.

The Pope said he also looked with apprehension at conditions prevailing in several parts of Africa, including the "catastrophic" humanitarian disaster in Darfur, violence and looting in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the "grievous crisis" in Zimbabwe.

Who else is listening? For many he could be just another voice . . . Happy Easter to you, anyway.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

UK Darfur Diplomacy

The UK must be basking in glory after the successful diplomatic effort that led to the release of their navy crew.

So Blaire thinks he can transfer that type of diplomacy to Sudan and Darfur. I give that a long shot, but is it worth the try? I guess so.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sudan tortures journalist

I told you before that I as following the clashes in Khartoum when it happened. Now the journalist who was beaten up was someone I personally know. I got this letter on 29th from him through a friend when he got out of prison .

Dear Brothers and sisters,

I would like to inform you all that I was arrested and detained for the last (5) days Saturday 24th March and released on Wed 28th March 2007. I was arretsed at 8:00 PM by Security and handed over to Sudan Armed Forces(SAF) officers, later to Security inteligents and later on to different groups where I was blind-folded and taken to 5 different locations and later on to Omdurman-North Prison.

I was released when the Attorney General for Omdurman North canceled the court case filed againts us(Article 130) from Sudanese laws-criminal case or participation in massive killing. I was proved innocent by the investigation committee.

I went there(Muhandisin) area in Omdurman to cover the event that you all know. I wanted to balanced the story by getting "Accurate and Balanced" information. I ended up in prison, beaten, insulted, humiliated etc...! Details to you later.

Only that I am following up the case of my equiptment which were confisicated by te security till now. Sudan Radio Service Manager is now in Khartoum following the issue from here. He came together with EDC(Education Development Center), Africa Regional Director. Things are moving well and I will keep you informed. Thanks to everybody for your prayers and concern.

I have not phones now because they are with the confisicated property! Once recovered, will update you on the same. I thought it was good to write this message my self to all of you.

Freedom of the press? Say that again.