Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bravo Salva Kiir!

The sacking of the two senior SPLM cadres brings music to the ears!

At last Salva Kiir is seeing sense and acting the leader he should have been long time ago. By sacking two senior members of the SPLM from their positions and membership sends a clear signal to all those who are trying to take the movement in the wrong direction.

Ever since the death of Dr John Garang and the appointment of Salva as successor, the top leadership has seen lots of changes. Salva sidelined all those who came to be called the "Garang Boys" from senior posts and bringing aroun himself people of dubious characters. Telar Deng is one of them.

How can you even dream of a coup at this time when the South is still in ruins. It is only the craving for power that can bring such unthinkable thoughts. Telar made sure that many people who could expose him were kept away from Salva Kiir with stories of disloyalty etc. What a shame. It turns out now they were the ones scheming against Kiir right in the presidential palace.

The likes of Alieu and others are not wanted in the movement. They have their own agenda which are contrary to the needs of South Sudan.

It is time Salva see sense and forget these labels of "Garang Boys" etc and bring closer to him people who could help him deliver the South peacefully.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Teddy bear teacher to be freed

It is being announced that President Bashir has pardoned the school teacher involved in the teddy bear crisis.

I for one believe that it is the only sane way to end the crisis. After letting the courts practice their laws without interference (it would have been termed meddling in internal affairs of a sovereign state!) a presidential pardon is the only way to save face.

She had already served out half her time. Atleast, she had not seen the inside of the women prison. (she was kept in a secret location and fed lots of apples!) I had hoped she does even for a day so that she can tell the world the conditions as an eye withness!

Go well, Mrs Gibbons. I hope you dont bear grudges against the Sudanese people. The ragtag group into whose hands you fell are a minority and does not represent us at all. I wish you well.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Juba International Trade Fair

Will it one day rival Khartoum International Fair?


A day for AIDS

Keep the promise, stop AIDS

Teddy bear case and sanity

Sudan is behaving like the bad boys and girls in hollywood who make headline news for the wrong reasons. I will change that to notoriety status.

The sensationalization of the teddy bear case of the British school teacher is just one of them. Yesterday's protest in Khartoum was organized by people who who don't care about the image of Sudan (or what is left of it) when calling for the death of the poor teacher. It is not un-imaginable knowing the track record, though.

The whole issue could have been handled more sanely.

Now two Muslim British members of parliament are in Khartoum to help with her release. I think the fact that she had already spent more than five days of her 15 days sentence leaves few margin for maneuvre. It looks more likely that poor Mrs Gibbons will serve her sentence before the appeal gets heard. Typical Sudanese justice.

I think it is only the president who can safe her the torment of the women prison in Omdurman. Now Sudan is in the headlines.

Friday, November 30, 2007

End the blame game, SPLM and NCP

When the SPLM pulled out its ministers from the Government of National Unity, everyone expects the worse to happen. When the blame game and name calling subsided, we are yet to see how it is all going to end.

It is unbelievably pathetic for the NCP to think that hey can get away with stalling and playing down the CPA. It is obvious from day one that the CPA will be in trouble. Where is the good faith everyone was singing in Naivasha?

The late John Garang said the CPA is a new born babe whose growth and development is the responsibility of the whole Sudanese people. It seems some people want this child dead before its fourth Birthday. It will fit with the general under five mortality rate for Sudan!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

BK is coming back soon . . .

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since BK was last here. SPLM and NCP were in crisis, the Darfur UNAMID force still in limbo and a teddy bear call Mohammed causing a storm . . .

Well, just another day for a fresh look. See you soon.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Am taking a leave off for a month on important business. Sorry.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

SPLM vs NCP: the standoff

Is the Sudan government really serious about peace in the country? Events happening these days in Khartoum cast a lot of doubt. Am not talking about Darfur. Not yet. Am referring to the CPA with the SPLM.

It seems the junior partner in the so called Government of National Unity is being ignored and harrased at will. The NCP government plays as if they don't care whether the CPA survives or not. Otherwise, what does their action mean?

The NCP security raided the offices of the SPLM in Khartoum in search of what they call illegal weapons. Whatever their motives, it will surely backfire oneday and war will come to Khartoum. It is an unfortunate incident and breach of trust, the little that was their.

It casts a lot of doubt on a lot of things. I think it is time the SPLM stand their ground as partners in the government, not just being accommodated for the sake of peace. Salva Kiir should show the leadership the South Sudanese want at this time.

No one wants to go back to war in Sudan these days but it seems the NCP wants to drag people of South Sudan back into one. Too bad.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A minute in remembrance . . .

I pause one minute for the victims of September 11. Six years on, the tragedy still fresh. And the world is not any more safer than it was before.

No killing is justifiable. I add another minute for all the viictims of injustice around the world, in Africa and Sudan: a minute for victims of the genocide in Rwanda, Darfur. A minute for the innocent dying in Iraq. A minute for the Israelis dying under Palestinian rocket fire. A minute for the Palestinians suffering the brunt of Israeli repression.

A minute for the victims of apatheid in South Africa. A minute for the Zimbabweans dying while fleeing in search of food. A minute for the Somalis being killed everyday in Mogadishu. A minute for the thousands of Africans who died trying to cross the oceans and seas to reach Europe. A minute for the Afghanis dying to safe their country. A minute for those who died in Guantanamo prison.

A minute for those who disappeared in Sudan, South Sudan without trace. A minute for the fallen heroes of the struggle for freedom.

And ofcourse, a minute for Dr. John Garang de Mabior, founder and leader of the SPLM/A and Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan, liberator, hero and freedom fighter.

Do you have a minute you want to share? Feel free to add in the comments.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ban Ki Moon press conference


Another round of Darfur peace talks

After reassuring Southern Sudanese of his support for the complete implementation of the CPA, Ban Ki Moon announced the resumption of peace talks with the rebels on 27th October in Libya.

What had exactly been agreed in the meetings remain to be seen. Which of the rebel movements are attending? How about SLM leader Abdel Wahid el Nur? It seems the talks will start without him. This guy is playing on the huge support he has in the refugee camps in Darfur to wait his time out. He considers himself the champion of the Darfuris.

Will his strategy work? Nur wants peace keepers on the ground and the disarmament of the Janjaweed first before talks. Is it reasonable or delaying tactics? Maybe, they should change the meaning of the UN force in Darfur from Peace Keeping Force to Peace Making/Enforcing! The former means there has to be peace for the forces to keep first, not the other way round!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What's in a kiss?

Don't hiss, just read on!

The first kiss can make or break a couple’s relationship, suggests a new study. This study says a kiss may contain potentially important information about your kissing partner. Uhm . . .

Is that why the Europeans and Americans go around kissing each other in the streets? In my part of the world, it can only be done in the dark when nobody else is looking, just the cuddly couple. I remember my first was at 2:00 AM after escaping from a party. Boy it was really tantalizing. Then the effect just goes down and the excitement with it.

Too bad, I broke up with my first kisser . . .

"The complicated exchange of information that occurs during a kiss may inform evolved, unconscious mechanisms about instances of possible genetic incompatibility"

Maybe that was it! ;*>

Ban Ki Moon in Sudan

The presence of the UN Secretary General in the Sudan is very important for two reasons: the fragile North-Peace Agreement is in need of support and importantly peace in Darfur. Everyone knows that.

The failure of CPA in the South will surely hamper any progress in Darfur. How can you believe Khartoum about any agreement in Darfur if they don't honour another in the South? The government in Khartoum don't seem to see this or they are just playing a game of wait and see.

Ban Ki Moon has a big task in his hands. If he failed the people of Darfur in his first year in office, he will be remembered for it years from now, no matter what he does again for the world. Now, everyone is giving him the benefit of the doubt.

I pray he succeeds.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The day Diana died

Like September 11 after it years later or the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster or the death of John Garang de Mabior, I still remember vividly where I was and what I was doing when the news came filtering in that Diana, Princess of Wales died.

Just from the news coverage marking ten years after her death, you could feel it that her memory is as strong as ever. In my school days, we use to have a beautiful young lady called Diana too, and naturally, became to be known as Princess.

Following her humanitaian work and visits to charities, I had this the vaguest of dreams to see her visiting our little corner.

Diana maybe the last voice of change in an establishment that has lost touch with its people. The British monarchy is on its way out. It would have been fun what it would be like if she had been alive today, although devorced from the future king.

Well, I leave the conspiracy theories about her death alone.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I have a dream . . .

The words of Martin Luther King still rang fresh in the minds of people who heard that epic speech on 28 August 1963.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character."

It is a dream that we hope would have been true to us in Sudan. With such diverse cultures and languages and religion and race etc, how beautiful it would be to judge us Sudanese as by the content of our intellect.

I have a dream . . .

Saturday, August 25, 2007

How the East African view Darfur conflict

Sorry, the original picture was lost in transcription. Here is another one. It is much older, though.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Al Hilal Sudani 3 - 0 Ahli Cairo!

There are few moments that one can sometimes be proud of the country, even for afew days!That day was last Sunday when Hilal FC bashed their age-old rivals 3 nil! It was a triumph worth celebrating! Ahli had the shock of their lives. And El Merrikh is progressing nicely too.

Am proud of our national team too. The fact that they qualified for the African Nations Cup after more than 30 years is quite amazing. But will they shine, or just show up and return home? For the love of the game, we wait and see.

And by the way our team is there in Osaka too for the IAAF! Three cheers for Muna jabir and the team! I am counting on more gold than Algiers for Sudan.

Atleast there is something to smile about, to take away the depression of Darfur.

Terrorists in Khartoum?

I don't want to be skeptical but the whole story stinks. It maybe another ruse to get at the opposition . . . :(

Friday, August 17, 2007

A babe call "@" . . .

What's in a name? A chinese family is naming their child "@" claiming it means "love him". Well you may think this is strange but wait:there is an Australian who wants to call a child "Hell", another wants to use the name "4real". That is the reality!

And the Virginia Tech shooter goes by the name "?". Call that weird? Although parents have the right to give ther children names, they should also think about the child later. Child ren can grow up traumatized as a child when other children make jokes of their strange names. Starnge names make good jokes you know.

In my part of South Sudan, starnge names are not given, but what ends up sticking are the nicknames: Abu Ras, etc. What is your take?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tribute to Madilu System

Africa has lost one great musician, the Congolese Bialu Madilu System, aka Ramsès II or also the Grand Ninja, who died Saturday in Kinshasa . (Link in French!)

Madilu was one of the musicians who worked with the late Franco Luambo Makiadi of TP OK Jazz. Madilu took over upon the death of Franco and has inspired many musicians with his uplifting rythms, in the style of the grand maestro Franco rumba music.

Here he plays one of his songs.

African music has lost a hero. R.I.P.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Black Kush: one year of blogging!

Yes, that is right. BK is one year today. Phew! I couldn't believe how time flies so quickly. It was like last week that I put fingers to key board and started this blog on August 11th . . .

Everyone has their own milestones, and for each stone at the miles, look back and take stock. I was just wondering where to begin. Maybe at the very beginning. In the beginning there was a story:

My first post was about the LRA menace in South Sudan. However, one year on, they have not yet reached any agreements. Yeah, giving them another year may help. Then it had been Darfur most of the time. From the initial acceptance of the hybrid force last year, its later rejection and to another acceptance again! A long journey. But I had always believed that Sudan will capitulate in the end, the pressure is just too unbearable! Darfur cost Bashir the chair of the AU.

And the Chinese came for a visit too! The presence of the Chinese leader boosted Bashir's stand, for he found an ally in the person who wants his oil. However, China gets bad publicity about "Genocide Olympics". Thanks, Mia and company!

Meanwhile in the South, the UN was accussed of abusing children and four got booted out. Corruption got the better of the GOSS, nickname the Government of self-service and lots of reshuffle. Yeah. So far, all seems to be fine on the Southern front.

I am looking forward to the next 365 days in which peace comes to Darfur, the refugees return to their homes, stability maintained in South and Eastern Sudan and everyone gets to live on more than 2 dollars a day! Amen.

I thank all of you out there for coming around always, reading about Sudan, South Sudan and Darfur and the commenting on the issues raised here. Thanks a ton. I hope you will stick with me for the next year too.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Darfur rebels Arusha deal

The rebels have finally reached a consensus on how to move forward towards negotiations with the government. However, it is not clear who will represent them in talks. It is still hard to see how they will workout the final details.

Meanwhile, the SLM leader has his own plans for Darfur, a three-prong approach he called conflict suspension, conflict resolution and conflict transformation. Now we wait and see how the process is going to turn out.

Next stop for the AU/Un mediators: Khartoum.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Darfur rebels talking in Arusha

The meeting to unify the ranks of the fragmented Darfur rebel movements is going on in Arusha, Tanzania. The AU and UN are hoping that they will be able to front one voice for talks with the regime in Khartoum. But will they?

I believe it is going to be a daunting task, but not impossible. What is fragmenting the rebels is not their demands for the people of Darfur, but greed for power. The regular splits wee all about power. They can all claim to be speaking for the poor people of Darfur, but what is happening is not the case.

Is the rebel group of Abdel Wahid el Nur right in not attending the reconciliation talks? He claims he will not attend the talks until fighting stops in Darfur and a multilateral ceasefire is in place. Unfortunately for him his actions will bring more damage to the people of Darfur. If they are fighting the same cause, at least he should go and listen to what the others are saying. His claims will be legimate if he joint the other groups, THEN demand cessation and disarmament of the Janjaweed or whatever as ONE voice. It will have more effect than his sole rantings.

The UN had already secured the force for Darfur, and he should not put himself as an obstacle now, for the sake of his people . . .

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sudan's diplomatic coup

Sudan has won a huge diplomatic coup with its acceptance of the new hybrid force for Darfur. UNAMID (United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur) will be a force that follows Sudanese demands: African structure, no chapter seven, no force disarmaments, no threat of sanctions. As the FM said, Resolution 1769 was made with their full consultation.

True, the international community watered down the resolution in order to avoid veto by China and ensure Sudanese acceptance. What happen next? With the rebels divided into a dozen faction and some refusing to attend the Arusha talks, Sudan looks on with glee!

Now the international community will have to work hard to unify the rebel command for a political settlement.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

UN approves Darfur forces

The UN has unanimously passed theresolution authorising the deployment of over 20 thousand peace keepers. Now let the waiting begin . . .

A hero remembered

Two years ago, the former freedom fighter and Vice President of the Sudan Dr. John Garang de Mabior died in a helicopter crash in the junlges of South Sudan. In his honour, the Sudanese lit candles, laid wreaths and pledged support of the CPA. However, the expectations of the peace is slowly turning into desparation.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Husband sticking by his wife

Despite the stories of desperation in the midst of the conflict in Darfur, some stories can bring a smile on your face.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Go, Muna, Go!

I got this picture of Muna Jabir celebrating her gold in the women's 400 m hurdles at the All African Games in Algeria. Notice any changes?

One, she has not covered her head and two, she is wearing a vest, instead of long sleeve shirt! :) The rest I leave for Drima! Is she wearing long trainings or shorts? Uhmmm . . .

But I can say this: there are changes happening in how the Sudanese their view women! Muna will do us proud in a long run.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Welcome, Baba Moi

I believe it is coming at the right moment. The appointment of former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi as the envoy to Sudan is a step in the right direction. It should not be seen only as an effort of the Kenyan government to safe guard its interest in South Sudan. There is more than that at stake.

Two years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the CPA is facing big problems. Many of the protocols have not been implemented fully, let alone tried. Abyei is still an issue. SAF has not redeployed from South Sudan rich oil fields and the militias are still at large. The litany of woes continuous.

Kenya does not want to stand on the sideline and see its efforts of bringing peace to Sudan unravel in front of their eyes. Moi should ensure that the CPA is implemented in full and the referundum is held in 2011. He may face difficulties on the way, but I believe Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi is ready for the task.

Welcome, Mr Moi.

The suffering Sudanese refugees in Egypt

What is happening to the Sudanese refugees in Egypt is the worse that could befall a refugee. I am getting reliable information of summary arrests, intimidation and beatings of the refugees. What is filtering into the media is just the tip of the iceberg.

Egypt is bend on preventing the refugees from crossing into Israel, killing afew every other day. Their are hundreds languishing in Egyptian prisons, like the infamous "Haris al Awal" prison somewhere near the Israeli border. What is the Sudanese government doing? What is the SPLM doing? What is the UNHCR doing? What deal has the Egyptians struck with the Israeli government to prevent the border crossings?

The brutality with which the Egyptian police is responding is utterly unwarranted. How can you shoot unarmed civilians? Even if they try to cross the border illegally? Unless they are drug smugglers, I see no reason at all. It brings to mind the massacre of the Sudanese refugees in December 2005, when more than 100 (officially 23) died and hundreds others missing.

Conspiracy theories abound about it all: that Egypt does not want to let the refugees either go further or return home! How are they benefiting from their stay? Millions of dollars are being sent every year into Egypt from relatives abroad to their families left behind in Egypt. It may sound rediculous, but you are welcome to do the statistics. If that is not the case, why is even the voluntary repatriation been stopped?

I respect Egyptian authority to try to settle the issues, but they should be more prudent in their approaches. Killing them makes the situation worse.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Only 3 Gold Medals for Sudan at AAG

I have been following the action at the All Africa Games in Algeria which is just ending. I am a fan of sports and was looking for representation and hoping that Sudan wins something.

Sudan participated only in athletics, taking along 20 young athletes. Why is a huge country like Sudan participating in only one discipline? Can we produce athletes in all the others? I find it strange indeed.

Sudan should do more to promote all the sports in the country and scout the length and breadth to get good and young athletes into the games. Unfortunately, all the participants were from one part of the country. I believe there is a huge talent out there that can be put into good use. The yearly Schools Competition can be used as well.

Thanks to Mouna Djaber, Kaki Abubaker and Yamile Aldama for the three Gold medals. Unfortunately, the efforts are not being covered by the Sudanese media.

Bashir in Darfur

Why is the high profile visit of President Bashir to Darfur causing a stir? Is it not only logical that a president visits any part of his country? These are the questions, but they seem to be different when it comes to Darfur.

The Sudanese media is hyping the visit to show case that Darfur is getting peaceful, although he travelled to the region amid massive security of his own! And his call for peace and development? It is being called propanda in the West, because he finds himself squeezed on all fronts.

Yah, the playing field is still littered with conspiracy, etc. But peace will come to Darfur oneday.

Friday, July 20, 2007

How the UN is re-colonizing Africa . . .

And the rest of the third world. Just food for thought, guys. . .

United Nations missions
1. Middle East (Untso, Jerusalem) 2. Kashmir (Unmogip) 3. Cyprus (Unficyp) 4. Golan Heights (Undof) 5. Lebanon (Unifil) 6. Western Sahara (Minurso) 7. DR Congo (Monuc)
8. Ethiopia/Eritrea (Unmee) 9. Liberia (Unmil) 10. Ivory Coast (Unoci) 11. Haiti (Minustah) 12. Sudan (Unmis) 13. Sierra Leone (Uniosil) 14. Burundi (Binub)

15. Afghanistan (Unama and Nato-led Isaf) 16. Kosovo (Unmik and Nato-led K-For) 17. East Timor (Unmit and Australian-led force) 18. Georgia (Unomig and Russian-led CIS force)

19. Darfur (African Union force) 20. Somalia (African Union force) 21. Sinai Peninsula (mainly US force) 22. Bosnia (EU - Eufor) 23. Tajikistan (Russian-led CIS border force) 24. Trans-Dniester (Russian force)


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What next, SPLM?

After a full week of meetings, the final speeches given, the files are closed, tickets boaught and all the heads of the SPLM Chapters around the world are packing and leaving the country? What next for the SPLM after the Chapters meeting?

Wani Igga urged them o be ambassador for the CPA in the diaspora, Joseph Lagu sang for them his famous war songs and the people danced. Bu is that all. These guys have travelled all these distances not to see Juba only. They have huge tasks on their soldiers.

The SPLM should be strenghthening its position in the country first, not outside. Two years after the CPA, the citizens have lost trust in the SPLM. With widespread corruption going unabated, poor services and lack of salaries for teachers, it could be even worse than these. Kiir had to put his house in order.

Even GOSS has a new nickname in Juba: Government Of Self-Service! The meeting could be over but the future is getting bleaker. God forbid.

Let there be water . . .

. . . and there was water, much water, under the sands in Darfur! Good news for the people. Now that "water" will end the cycle of violence, once the wells are dug, I hope they don't find another excuse to go to fight.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Coup or sabotage?

The report of the arrest of the leader of the splinter Umma Party, Mubarak al Fadil al-Mahdi, and some other opposition figures over charges of an attempted coup or sabotage is of concern to every citizen. The NCP is alleging that the groups plans to coause unrest in Khartoum, by recruiting retired gernerals from the troubled Darfur and Eastern Sudan into their ranks.

Whatever the truth behind the arrests will never be known. The facts are that the government is getting wary of opposition. Like in any other dictatorship, when you want to silent them up, what better charges than tramp up accusations of treason, in the name of national security?

We shall be monitoring to see where all these go. Turning Khartoum into another Bagdad is not the solution to Sudanese problems. The fact that things like these are happening calls on the NCP government to rethink its strategies. It is a clear sign of desgruntled majority in the streets.

Time to talk, again

Another Darfur peace talk starting in Libya, but without the rebels! No, the AU, UN and the Libyan government say they are laying down the blue prints for talks that will be restarted soon. Good to hear. At least, also, the rebels are talking to each other and are fronting one body for the talks with Khartoum.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

GOSS reshuffle: timely or too late?

Two years after the formation of the Government of South Sudan, South Sudanese are still waiting to see the fruits of the peace. A government that started almost from scratch is being bombarded left, right and center for corruption, inactivity and ineffectiveness. We shall be taking stock, but let me first say some few words on the reshuffle.

The reshuffle is long overdue, as far as I can see. GOSS turn out to be corrupt and the only thing they were good at was squandering government money. No one in the government is clean from the president down to the last MP. They all want to make money at the expense of the people without delivering any services. The only plus for Kiir is that he started acting.

For instance: government contracts were awarded to companies without the normal bidding processes, kickbacks pocketed by the dealers. In the end no work gets done and no one is accountable for the mess. Riak Machar is said to always ask new companies coming into south Sudan "what is my share in this venture?" Unbelieveable.

Rebecca Garang, the wife of our great hero Dr. John Garang de Mabior surprised everyone with her behaviour. Initially thought to be the champion of the CPA and anti-corruption, she has yet to explain where all the money had gone for the reconstruction of the roads in Juba. Juba town is a shame to move in. The roads are worse than they were before the GOSS take over. Potholes everywhere. Instead, she was busy siphoning money into her private businesses. Bogus Italian companies were given huge contracts to repair the roads in Juba one year ago, but up to now the only thing they do is fill the potholes with concrete (see photo), something never heard of in the world!

And the electricity in Juba? And the finance Minister scandal? How about the Ministry of Health? The woes are too many. I leave them for next time.

The reshuffle? Better late than never, at least.

Stoves that save lives . . .

How can stoves that use fire wood safe lives in Darfur? Strange, but it is something that is happening. A group of scientists have built a special stove that uses less firewood for effective cooking. Result: it reduces the number of trips to gather firewood, thus less chances of attacks and rapes.

Ingenious. More people are doing lttile things for great achievements. They are flaming hope in Darfur.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Am back

I am back to blogging. Unfortunately, I will not be blogging from my base coz of work relocation. I will be missing the SPLM International Chapters meeting in Juba and the effects of the new reshuffle of GOSS ministers. There is optimism in the air in Juba . . .

More to come. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

07.07.07 . . .

Even if you are not superstitious, today is not that ordinary . . .

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is Sudan a failed State?

I find the recently published Failed States Index 2007 utterly unbelievable and rubbish. It is one of these publications that doesn't hold water. I have a lot of grievances with my country, but I don't consider it a failed state. For this am sure.

The Index puts Sudan at the top of the list, followed by Iraq and Somalia. Every sane man on the planet knows that there is no government in Somalia for the last ten years. Actually there was no STATE! And how will you describe the carnage raging in Iraq, with a hopelessly impotent American-backed government? It is in a state of civil war, a government that doesn't have control over its territories, etc.

The Index may have used different indicators to arrive at this conclusion, but it is wrong. There is stability in South Sudan after twenty years of war, the East is quiet. Darfur is the only war-torn spot in the country now, and does not reflect the whole picture.

You can call Sudan what you want, but not failed: ask Somalis and Iraqis what they think first!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

South Sudan: a rival for Serengeti

I am not yet back, but I couldn't resist letting you know about this! Wildlife experts have found the largest animal migration in South Sudan that will rival Serengeti. Many people have thought that twenty years of war may have devastated the vast animal resource in South Sudan. But lo, and behold: they have survived! See the pictures for yourself.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I am taking a month off the blog to do some work. See you sometimes in late June. If I pass by Khartoum, will let you know. For those who love this blog, I will be back.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Another envoy for Darfur

How many special envoys will it take to bring peace to Darfur? 10, 20, 50? All the ones there are no good enough, or just not doing enough. Any country with a conscience wants to be seen doing something for Darfur by having an envoy there.

Now the Chinese are following suit. After being criticized left, right and center for not doing enough for Darfur, it has caved in. China now appointed a seasoned diplomat as its special envoy for Darfur.

This is a significant move to deter the pressure on China. The call by some quarters to boycott the Beijing olympics come 2008 is hard one for China to bear.

Let us hope, with arrival of yet another envoy, the elusive peace may atlast be around the corner.

Darkness at noon! Haboob in Khartoum.

Haboob comes to Khartoum! Here are some pictures from last Sunday's dust storm.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wanted by ICC: Haroun and Kushayb

The ICC has atlast issued the arrest warrants for the two suspects of the Darfur genocide: Ahmed Haroun and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman, also know as Ali Kushayb.

We remain to see how this can be executed. Sudan has already rejected the warrants and said they will not hand over the suspects to the ICC. It is interesting, knowing that Sudan is not a signatory to the ICC.

The world's efforts to solve the Darfur conflict seem to be disjointed. There is a big drive to see the hybrid force sent to Darfur, and the rebels are trying to unite for a peace talks. The USA has already acknowledged that their are signs of Sudan relaxing its refusal of the deployment.

What could the arrest warrants add to these efforts? Nothing. Sudan will get more stubborn, the rebels more divided and the Darfurians will continue to suffer. As Khartoum plays the time game, the world wonders what to do next.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Darfur talks in Juba

Breathing new life into the Darfur peace talks. Now it is the turn of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS). Will it happened this time?

With the rebels still divided, Khartoum grins with glee. Will they ever unite?

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.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

What to keep in mind...

Always remember to forget the things that made you sad
But never forget to remember the things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue
But don’t forget to remember those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget the troubles that have passed away
But never forget to remember the blessings that come each day.

(Sent to me by a friend. Don't know who the author is.)

New South Sudan minister of finance freezes govt accounts

The corruption saga goes on. Now the new finance minster has frozen the government accounts of GOSS. We just have to wait and see how things turn out. The only consolation is that when people see that GOSS is really serious about tackling corruption, they may think twice before considering playing.

Gabriel Changson Cheng was a founding member of Ivory Bank, the first bank instituted by South Sudanese. Unfortunately, the bank was terribly bogged down by corruption that almost cost its closure! Will Cheng deliver now as finance minister?

Olympic Genocide and Darfur

China came out blasting. It is to be expected when calls are being made for the world to boycott the Olympis Games over their policy in Darfur. Are these people really serious in making such huge unprecedented moves?

Itis like the world is pinning its only hope in ending the crisis in Darfur on China. Instead of engaging it more constructive, such calls labeling the 2008 games as "Oympic Genocide" by actress Mia is by far too extreme.

But still we live in a world of hypocresy and bullying, where the big call the shots.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sudanese football and the African Cup of Nations

I have always find it a big shame that Sudan, a founding member of the Confideration of African Football that organizes the African Nations Cup, has never participated since 1976. There is no doubt that Sudanese are passionate about the sport.

What usually caused our poor performance are interference in team selections that are biased. There is no programme for seeking talent among the youth. Shamefully, most sports arenas are run down and has bad pitch. (El Marriekh and Hilal FC has good stadia, admittedly compared to the National stadium!)

So has there time come to make it to the next African Nations Cup 2008 finals ? Our coach thinks so. I am wishing him luck!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I do . . .

World's tallest man gets married.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Khartoum police, Darfur former rebels clash

The Darfur fighting has come to town . . . I was following closely the developments of the fighting between Minawi's forces and the police. It is a clear indication of the tension between the former rebels and the government, the severity of the degree of mistrust.

No matter who was responsible, the police should have known better instead of being trigger happy. The Khartoum police are notorious for fuelling these kinds of tensions. There have been several such attacks between former SPLA forces in Khartoum and the police over the flimsiest of issues. They lack the power to diffuse tensions. Whether intensionally or not, it does not add to trust.

Meanwhile, Khartoumers have to brace themselves for more of the same . . .

Saturday, March 24, 2007

419 email scam

I have been getting these kinds of emails in my inbox for quiet a long time. I just wonder how people fall for these kind of scam.







I am IBRAHIM RASHEED, the manager in charge of auditing and accounting unit foreign remittance department of bank of africa (BOA)ouaga-burkina faso in west Africa.With due respect and regards I have decided to contact you on a business
transaction that will be very beneficial to both of us at the end of the transaction ,

During our investigation and auditing in the bank, my department came across a very huge sum of money belonging to a deceased person, a foriegner who died in a plane crash and the fund has been dormant in his account with the bank without any claim of the fund in our custody either from his family or relation before my discovery to this development,Although personally, I kept this information
secrete within myself and to enable the whole plans and idea be profitable and successful during the time of execution.

The amount involved is (us$9,210.000.00) (Nine Million Two Hundred And Ten Thousand United State Dollars ). Meanwhile, all the whole arrangement and directives needed to put claim over this fund as the next of kin to the deceased, Upon your acceptance all the information will be forward to you as soon as you indicate your interest and willingness to assist me and also benefit your self to this great business opportunity,In fact, I could have done this deal alone but because of my position in this country as a civil servant,we are not allowed to operate a foriegn account and would eventually raise an eye brow on my side during the time of transfer because I work in this bank, this is the actual reason why it will require a second party or fellow who will forward claims as the next of kin with affidavit of trust of Oath to the bank and also present a foriegn account where you will need the said fund to be transferred into, after due verification and clarification to designated bank account,I will not fail to inform you that this transaction is 100% risk free,

On smooth conclusion of this transaction, you will be entitled to 40% of the total sum as ratification, while 10% will be set aside to take care of expenses that may arise during the time of transfer such as telephone bills etc,While 50% will be for me.Please you have been adviced to keep top secret as I am still in service and intend to retire from service after I conclude this deal with you, I will be monitoring the whole situation here in the bank until you confirm the money in your account and ask me to come down there for subsequent shearing of the fund according to percentages previously indicated and further investment,either in your country or any other country you may advice me to invest in. All other necessary information will be sent to you when I hear from you, I suggest you get back to me as soon as possible, stating your wish in this deal.

Yours Sincerely


There is nothing authentic about in the letter. With all the ramblings in poorly punctuated, spelt and composed English, I wonder how they catch their prey. But it happens. Be warned.

UN envoy barred from Darfur camp

The Sudanese government don't cease to amaze at every opportunity. This latest move barring the top UN envoy from visiting the refugee camps in Darfur will do nothing to ease the tension.

I just could not understand the political move. They could just have refused him visa from the start.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Darfurian women sentenced to death by stoning for adultery

This is the worse barbaric act being done in the name of Islam. Stoning women for adultery and letting the men go Scot-free just beats the mind. It takes two to tango, the saying goes. If you cannot prove that the men commit adultery, how can you convict the women?

It is just mind boggling. Let us campaign for the release of these poor women from Darfur.

Get more information from Drima. Let us spread the word.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Darfur peace talks in Juba?

VP Salva Kiir has apparently convinced the rebels to come to Juba and mend their fences before meeting Khartoum.

Fingers crossed, though.

Sink or swim

When I read the story of the Ugandan school children getting , swimming lessons it brought tears to my eyes. The fact that children get drown in the lake they grew around is a sad one.

I grew up near the Nile river, and taught myself how to swim. I have known of many children who drowned in the river. Some are neighbours, or school friends. I took it for granted that you teach yourself how to swim, not someone else. Our only protection used to be strick rules not to go to the river. But ofcourse we do secretly.

I wish more could be done for our children living along the Nile. Instead of a blanket ban, parents should make sure their kids learn how to swim.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Salva Kiir and graft

Salva Kiir is having a test case at his hands and all are waiting to see how he is going to fair. With the South Sudanese still very tribalistic, he is in for a tough ride.

Whenever someone is accused of corruption, all the tribe rise in his support, suggesting that their man is being targeted, their tribe is being fingered for dstruction etc.

There are many examples: the recent accusation against the FM Lam Akol saw the whole Shilluk community crying foul; removal of the former governor of West Equatoria send the Zande seething; when Riak Machar was named as having millions of dollars stashed away, the Nuer were up in arms!

Now it is the Dinka. The GOSS finance minister Arthur Akuien has his immunity lifted in the investigation of corruption. Now the Dinka from Bahr el Ghazal are up in arms too. Don't touch our man or you will be playing with fire. His hench men include Bona Malwal Madut Ring, Ambrose Barac Atem, Aldo Ajou Deng, among others.

We still have a long way to go . . . (sigh)

Sudanese family in limbo in Israel

This is what is referred to as being caught between a rock and a hard place. . .

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sudan and the ICC: the story continues

Sudan has categorically ruled out challenging the admissibility of the Darfur report. Its point: being non-state member, there is no point in doing so. Period.

But will it get away? Let us just shade some light here. Put the nature or gravity of the case aside and let us look at ICC. The ICC has no jurisdiction over Sudan because it is a non-signatory of the Rome Statute. The statute said non-signatories can be referred for prosecution to the ICC if the conditions are deemed "a threat to international peace and security". The UN had referred Sudan on these grounds.

Now the question: why should any government sign the Rome statute if either way you will be prosecuted with it? Signing or not signing makes no difference. Now if Sudan does not cooperate, the arrest warrants go to Interpol for execution. I feel that Sudan is being tried as a test case and they want to succeed whatever way. Too bad.

The case is not going to end soon. And mind you, America is pushing Sudan to cooperate with the ICC, when it is no signatory itself! It is wary about Americans being dragged into the ICC! Call it double standards at global scale.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

VP Salva Kiir to meet Darfur rebels

Atlast VP Salva Kiir is trying to throw his weight on the Darfur crisis. Where was he all this time. The SPLM hands off approach was ot acceptable. His party is part of the government and will certainly be equally blamed.

Hope his peace efforts bear fruit.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A limerick . . .

There was a man called Hassan
Who was accused of genocide in Sudan.
He did not sleep
Even in his jeep
As he ran and said, "catch me if you can!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


The judge in the USA ruled against Sudan in the case concerning the bombing of USS Cole. Bashir now have lot more to worry about.

Why don't they learn from Libya? Libya had abandoned terrorism, nuclear weapons and support to extremist groups and has become American ally! Qaddafi can be cunning. If Bashir thinks he can get away with Qaddafi-like tactics of the 80's and 90's he got the script all wrong. This is the 21st century.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

LRA conditions for talks

The elusive Ugandan Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels are at it again. After avoiding the Juba talks out of fear, they now have conditions to be fulfilled before they could return. Yeah, rebels too, have conditions. With ICC indictments hanging over their heads, they have all the reasons to be wary.

Including expansion of observers in the talks and increased security at collection camps, the LRA want the following:
  • an allowance increase for the negotiation team
  • the deployment of 1,000 peacekeeping troops to areas where the rebels are to assemble in south Sudan
  • Ugandan soldiers to withdraw from south Sudan
  • to be treated with respect by the mediation team
  • a guarantee of security for their delegation in Juba.

People just gotta to be patient with the rebels, cajoling and persuading. But time may run out . . .

US to build largest CIA Center in Sudan

The CIA will build the largest operative center in East Africa in Sudan? These guys never cease to amaze!

Monday, March 12, 2007

China seeks explanation of Sudan

The Chinese are now listening. Asking Sudan for an explanation for the descreptancy in the agreements between the UN is a welcome move.

Now we just gotta wait and see how Bashir will reply. The plot thickens.

Two South Sudan officials arrested on corruption charges

That is a bold move by the Government of South Sudan on corruption. Martin Malwal became one of the richest South Sudanese men in Khartoum these days and his wealth has been the issue of debate among the people. The other guy seems to be a scapegoat and there are definitely many heads going to role. It is about time, anyway.

Martin Malwal is known to be corrupt ever since he was in the army, siphoning army food for South Sudan into the black market. And for your information, he is a member of Normeca Sudan Board . (Previous post) A coincidence?

Raping to shame . . .

. . . in Darfur. Until when?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Normeca: Project Southern Sudan

Normeca AS , the Norwegian company specializing in mobile hospitals is embarking on a major health project that will dwarf anything that had ever been done in South Sudan.

Normeca AS signed its largest contract ever with the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Ministry of health, to dramatically improve the health care situation for the people of Southern Sudan. The contracts were signed by the Minister of Health in the presence of the President’s Advisor, State Secretaries from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development. The Signing Ceremony was covered by leading media in Southern Sudan; TV, radio and the largest newspapers.

Under the contracts, Normeca AS shall build 10 semi-permanent state hospitals in Southern Sudan each with 80 to 150 beds and accommodation for approximately 150 people. Each hospital will have 5 mobile clinics, a total of 50. In addition, Normeca AS will provide 2 floating hospitals for the river Nile.

In addition, Normeca AS signed a 5 year management and operations agreement covering all hospitals and clinics. Consequently, Normeca AS is in need of a considerable number of new employees in Southern Sudan over the next years.

Great ambition. I wish them great success. I hope they succeed. I want them to succeed for the sake of the people dying everyday from preventable conditions. But could anyone tell me how much it is costing South Sudan?

UN opens repatriation corridors from Ethiopia to Sudan

Refugees are returning home to South Sudan. To what are they returning? Many have not seen their homeland for more than twenty years. Some were born in refugee camps and knew nothing except life on the run. Many never saw what life in South Sudan is like.

Welcome home, nevertheless. There is much to be done that requires every citizen to participate. There are many who expect a lot at home and get disappointed when they find no water and food waiting for them.

Home could not be what they expected, but home is home. There is nothing like home. As the former SPLM leader used to say, South Sudan is going to be built from zero. Let everyone come home and put a brick.

Mr. Lonely

I feel like Akon here . . . :( I hope the feeling will pass.

Bush vs Chavez

The score: Bush 1 1 Chavez?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Long time...

It has been all quiet on the Western front... Although much is happening on the Sudanese scene, I got loads of stuff in my hands. Couldn't help it. Stick around, though. Will be back.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lam Akol under fire

The Sudan Foreign Minister, who happens to be an SPLM member, is under fire from the leadership. Although the SPLM is part of the Government of National Unity, Lam Akol has been acting like the member of the National Congress Party. He does not tow the party line, opposed UN force for Darfur (SPLM wanted the force to come) and does things without referring to his party.

Now they are out to get him. The reports that he supports a millitia group in Upper Nile is going to be his Waterloo. SPLM has formed a committee to investigate the claims. The fact that a committee has been formed a tall shows how serious the SPLM is taking the allegations.

This power hungry man is not satisfied and wants to see the SPLM destroyed as a party. Why is he keeping a millitia in the South? These guys never cease to amaze . . .

Time running out

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to release the names of the genocide suspects in Darfur on the 27th February.

The important point is what this all mean for Darfur? Will it help resolve the Darfur crisis or make it worse? Will the Sudan agree to hand over the suspects? Will Sudan later agree for the UN force?

I just have a feeling it is going to have the reverse effect . . .

Jallabiya and tob?

I once had a discussion with a colleague from North Sudan about the question of national dress and national food in Sudan. It was interesting how he feels strongly about it.

The way the discussion went, if you asked a person from North Sudan what is considered the National dress in Sudan, (s)he will automatically say "Jallabiya" and "Hima" for men and "Tob" for women! But I find the argument not quiet right. I feel Sudan doesn't have one!

A national dress should be representative of the whole country. If you go to the village in the southern most corner of the country or anyway where else people wear it. People are identified with it et cetra. Does it happen in Sudan?

The people in Northern Sudan (who happened to be the majority) wear the jallabiya and tob. It has become the norm and been taken as the national dress. It is more the traditional dress, than national. However, some people in the south don't like it. That said, the Dinka and some of the tribes have a much shorter form of the jallabiya, usually made from colourful materials and end just below the knee. It is convenient for going with it to town, if you know that most go naked when living in the cattle camps.

What is commonly worn down south are the traditional skirt with loose cloth wrapped round the body and tied over the shoulder (called the laou?). It is common among the Shilluk and the Bari tribes in the South. The men go around in shorts!
Sorry, couldn't get nice photoes to illustrate my post.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Tagged . . .!

I got tagged by Nomadic Thoughts (P2H) who was tagged by The Usual Suspect , and was tagged by Mumbo Jumbo. Nothing interesting, but here we go. Some points you never could have guessed about me, perhaps . . .

  1. I am a tall guy, just short of 2 meters and basketball is my favourite sport. I tried snooker the other day and got hooked! Maybe will go pro sometime.
  2. I am the quiet type, never wanting to get into trouble. As far back as I could remember, I only fought once with a friend in our neighbourhood, and we ended up both crying!
  3. I hate mathematics. If not for that, my first craze was to do architecture, but I am now far from that field and ending up doing a noble profession, but bad for business - medicine (Quoting Antoine de san Exupery!?)
  4. I have very good handwriting in English, and my very first girl friend had a crush on me coz of that! I always got picked to write posters and things in school.
  5. I have fallen in and out of love, been jilted twice and currently free wheeling.
  6. I like travelling, but hate flying. I get scared stiff during take offs and landings! I may try a long journey on a cruise ship. Better the sea sickness than the air sickness!
  7. I like reading and writing . I can devour tons of novels and romances. I also like mysteries of Agatha Christie. I have tried my hands on writing fiction and short stories as well as poems. My dream is to get at least one published!
  8. I once worked as a rookie journalist for a local paper.
  9. My desire in life is to have positive influence on people's lives. I want to be an agent of change for the better. I am open minded and habour no prejudices ( I wonder whether there is such a thing, though)
  10. And lastly, well, couldn't think of something interesting, sorry . . .

Who is there left to tag? Daana Lost in Translation you are tagged!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Déjà vu . . . ?

Sudan and neighbours agree not to support each other's rebels? Why do I feel we have done that before?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

SPLM: between a party and rebel movement

Can the Sudan People's Liberation Movement be successfully transformed into a party? The efforts of the movement are hard to dismiss but that is turning to be a big mountain to cross.

There recent summit in Yei disccuses just that. The current administration in South Sudan is being ran, to a large extent by former generals who run them like the military. Most of them have never been in political positions before and were thus oblivious to the nuances. The movement have resolve the following in their meeting:
* SPLM Transformation;
* CPA Implementation and partnership with the National Congress Party (NCP)
* SPLM relationship with other political forces and their engagement in the democratic and peace process in Sudan;
* Review of the SPLM performance at all levels of government;
* The Sudan foreign policy.

It will be interesting to see how they follow up on these resolution. The foreign policy is the tough one. The National Congress Party runs the country like its own, ignoring the contribution of ts partner in the Government of National Unity. The SPLM must assert itself in the government.

However, two years down the road, we are waiting for the fruits of the CPA . . .

Mercury rising

EU wants the UN peace keeping force to enter Darfur with or without Sudan's acceptance. I wonder how far this will go . . .

French's turn in Africa

Last year, there was a big fan fare when China organized the summit with African leaders, pampering them and making tem feel good. When Hu visited Africa, he signed several pacts with African countries, reaping the fruits of that summit.

Now it is the French turn. The Franco-African Summit used to celebrate relations with former colonies. Now France is trying to recreate thatnich in Africa.

Unfortunately for our president, Bashir found himself in the lime light and being lambasted left, right and center over Darfur! What a year for Sudan.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Expand Juba International Airport

The Juba International Airport does not fit the name. I mean if you pass through it, there is nothing that "shows" it is international from the appearance. It looks horribly like any other local airport.

That should not be the case. Juba International Airport is truely international. Being the main hub in South Sudan, it is now the major route into the country. Juba is now receiving flights directly from Dubai, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Entebbe and as far South as South Africa.

The expansion is not for the runway, for it is large enough to land jumbo 747. It had been initially expanded by the French Company CCI in early eighties. They have to abandon the completion because of the war. I believe it is time they return to complete the job.

I am talking about the lounge. The arrival and departures are horridly small. There are not not enough room in there. They need to build a new terminal with modern equipments and proper luggage handling services. For the new face of South Sudan, the airport must too reflect the new emergence of the country.

Darfur no longer genocide?

Is America changing its stands on Sudan or just tesing the waters by sending mixed signals?

Ambassador Natsio is saying that what is going on Darfur cannot be called genocide any more. It is just a humanitarian catastrophe. It has happened before, but not now. Interesting.

Mixed signals or not, the world is hearing. Is it the carrot and stick? Is it a ploy to placate Khartoum so that they open up a bit?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Israeli Jokes

I thought I should try something different today. Let us look at this joke. It seems the Israelis hate Olmert and his government more than the Palestinians and the rest of the Middle East combined!

I wonder what the Racoon has to say about the current joke making rounds in Israel, according to the Dry Bones:

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the Tel Aviv/Jerusalem highway.

Nothing is moving in either direction. Suddenly a man knocks on his window. The driver rolls down his window and asks, "What happened, what's the hold up?"

"Terrorists have kidnapped Prime Minister Olmert, Defense Minister Peretz, and their chief of staff. They are asking for a $100 million ransom. Otherwise, they are going to douse them with gasoline and set them on fire. We are going from car to car, taking up a collection."

The driver asks, "On average how much is everyone giving?"

"About a gallon."

Monday, February 05, 2007

John Garang on the question of identity

I found this old Washington Post article about the former leader of the SPLM Dr John Garang interesting as it touches the ambiguity of the Sudanese identity crisis. Check the full article here:

A Former Rebel's Search for Sudanese Identity
By Nora BoustanyFriday,
February 11, 2005; Page A21

The year was 1974, and a young Sudanese army officer from the southern part of the country and his superior, a major from the north, had come to the United States with hundreds of other people from around the world for military training at Fort Benning, Ga. .

The group spent a week of orientation in Washington studying U.S. history, the Constitution and government. During one session, the Africans in the group were asked to stand up and be counted, but the two Sudanese remained seated. When the Middle Eastern members were called on, they still stayed put.

"At the end, we were the only two left," recalled John Garang, the southerner, who later led a decades-long rebellion against the Sudanese government. "We were obviously African . . . but this is the issue of identity. We don't know who we are, and that underlies the ambiguity."

Since 1956, when Sudan was freed from foreign mandate powers, the country has "failed to find itself and to have a soul," Garang said in an interview in Washington this week. "Various governments have come and gone, and the Sudanese have looked for their identity elsewhere -- in Christianity, in the Arab world, in scenarios of an Islamic state. But we did not ask ourselves: What made us Sudanese?"

New Chinese Provinces?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sudanese woman denied medical attention in Kansas City, USA

I came across this story and is shocked. This things still happen in America. You can call it an isolated incident, but when it happened to someone close, it is no longer isolated. Here is the story:

Chief suspends two KC officers
The Kansas City Star

Kansas City Police Chief Jim Corwin on Thursday suspended two officers who ignored a pregnant and bleeding woman’s pleas for medical help during an arrest last year. He called the officers’ behavior “inconsistent with the values and policies of this department and inconsistent with the training they received in the police academy.”

The Feb. 5, 2006, traffic stop became national news this week after The Kansas City Star obtained and released Tuesday a patrol-car video of the event.

Sofia Salva, who was nearly four months pregnant, spent 10 hours in police custody after the traffic stop. After her release, she delivered a premature baby at a hospital.

The baby lived for one minute before dying, according to a personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit Salva filed last week against the officers and the department.

The video outraged many people locally and across the country. Officer Darin Snapp, a department spokesman, said the media office received offensive e-mails and more than 100 calls. Angry calls also flooded into the Office of Community Complaints and the Internal Affairs Unit.

You can read the rest of the story here:

The video of the arrest is also here.

Just imagine the humiliation the poor woman went through, pleading for attention. These officers must be thrown behind bars!

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Chinese are coming!

This cry used to cause fear around the world, but it is too late now. They are already here, at least that is what the situation is in Sudan.

What does the Chinese want from Africa, say from Sudan? It is no secret that the Chinese have been investing heavily in Sudan ever since. When the Western countries moved out of Sudan, the Chinese moved in to fill the gap. Who is going to blame Sudan? They are everywhere, building roads, dams and bridges in Sudan, getting oil and what have you.

China is seen as the only country that can put pressure on Sudan with regards to Darfur because of their investment. What can Hu say? Stop the carnage or we pull out? Nobody expects that. If it is human rights, China itself had been at loggerheads with the West for a long time over it.

Hu s certainly welcomed in Sudan. If his presence can do something about Darfur, the better, instead of saying why he should visit Sudan in the first place.

But caution: is the Chinese interest in Africa mainly businees driven or they have other tricks up their sleeves?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Redefining poverty by the number of holes in the socks!

I am richer than Mr Paul Wolfowitz, the President of the World Bank . At least by one measure: the number of holes in my socks!

Despite being responsible for the World's famous body, Mr Paul couldn't afford a new pair of socks. During a visit to a mosque in Turkey, he took off his shoes and lo, and behold! There were holes in the socks, with the big toes peeking out!

Come on that must be a kind of a joke, you know. How can that happen to a man like that? He may be dedicated to freeing the world from poverty - but he seems unable to get himself out of it, that is if he is considered poor with a salary of $391,440.

Dirty smelly, socks or clean socks with holes, anyone?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bashir and the AU: more questions remain

Darfur is proving to be a great embarassment for the African Union. Praised as an African response to solve and African problem the African, it is turning out to be the AU's undoing. So it is pertinent that the body does something right and sends the right signal. But is Khartoum listening?

Sudan has all it takes to make a geat nation: large country, diverse groups and race, multi-religious, abandon natural resources with oil in the fore front. You name it. However, our series of governments seem intent on losing all these for mere chance of holding power forever.

The AU is acting to save its reputation. It will certainly be awkward for Sudan to head the AU while it is fighting rebels in Darfur and also overseeing AU peace keepers. No one in Khartoum seems to find this ironic. The focus on the deteriorating situation in Darfur comes second, in my humble opinion.

Lots of questions remain and will be unanswered for a long time. What does Bashir and his government stand to gain by making Sudan a pariah state in the world? Why are they pushing the patience of the international community over an issue that can be easily solved?

That said, what are the chances that Sudan will have the chair of the AU next year? Will there be peace by the end of 2007? Will Khartoum say enough is enough? Who has the power to make things move ahead?

Let there be change in Darfur. Let there be peace.

Bashir lost bid for AU chair

So the African heads have spoken. In the traditional way of resolving conflicts, the post of the AU chair has gone to Ghana

You can give a sigh, but what deal has been made for next year? Nobody is speaking about it yet.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Black Kush for President 2008!

I want to run for the presidency in 2008. You got it wrong: not of Sudan, but of the United States of America! To come to think of it many people are throwing their hats into the ring and I guess I should try my luck too. When Tom, Dick and Harry are trying, why not me?

Both Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls are busy testing the waters to consider a run for the top job. They rangef from the only black guy so far, Barack Obama, to the fomer first lady Hilary Clinton (Democrats) to the Republican camp including McCain, Duncan and Tom.

With such heavy weights in the run, I guess I should wait a bit longer and try something closer to home. Sudan is also holding elections sometime in 2008, a result of the CPA. If Garang were alive he would have been a strong contender, since he was both loved and hated in the North. He could have gotten all the votes in El Matema (he liked their coffee, don't know why) Will Bashir run?

Unlike the Sudanese election (I have never voted in my life though) the American one is decided by the voters conviction of what you could do for the country. Our format is the African way: I vote for my tribe and I rig when I cannot gurantee winning. Simple. Dinka vote for Dinka, Nuer for Nuer, Shaiggy for Shaiggy and Fur for the Fur. The Party comes second. African democracy has a long way to go.

Black Kush for 2008? Unlikely. However, come 2008, I will be there to let my voice be heard and make my vote count. I will wait my turn, when the old and rusted thugs die out. As for the USA 2008 run, I give my vote to Barack Obama the novice who will deliver a hat trick. (Seriously, I don't believe Americans will vote for a Black president.)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bashir AU Chairman?

We shall be reliving last year's drama at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa. Will they give the Chairmanship to president Omar el Bashir, as agreed in 2006?

I will not bet on that . . . The ground is already set for another confrontation.

To hang or not to hang . . .

There is too much hanging going on in the world these days. I was not able to comment on the high profile hangings of Saddam Hussein and his friends, but not because I approve of them, but merely because I thought a lot has been said already.

I am definitely anti-capital punishment. Most countries have reasons for constitutional hangings. That will need a different post to argue that out. And most countries have banned capital countries like in the European Union, and some African countries are currrently pushing for its removal too.

Innocent people have been wrongly hanged or just to deter others. Are they justified? The recent sentence of the Bulgarian nurses and other in Libya is raising eye brows about capital punishment (hat tip: Mimz ). Libya has its own reasons for pushing for their execution, whether they are right or not is not the issue.

There is this disturbing news coming out Singapore on the death sentence meted out on the young Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi, 21 Nigerian executed for drug smuggling. It has been proven that he had no knowledge that the drugs have been planted in his luggage, but nevertheless sentenced for being STUPID/FOOLISH? Does this deserve death? Singapore has one of the strictest laws on drugs punishable by death.

If there is something in the world that Sudan shares with the USA, it is the death penalty! No one knows how many people are executed in Sudan every year. I remember the early years in which people were executed for possessing dollars!