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?