Tag Archives: Sudan

Bush Loves Olympics-He Never Uses Politics!

China expressed its “regets” at the decision of Steven Spielberg not to attend the Olympics as a response to failure to act in Darfur and the Chinese government’s continued support of Sudan. President Bush said he had no hesitation attending the Olympic games and “I am not going to go and use the Olympics as an opportunity to express my opinions to the Chinese people in a public way.” Chinese Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao complained those supporting action in Darfur did not grasp how much China is doing to help solve the humanitarian crisis in that region. It has already sent 315 engineering troops to Darfur.

Many Chinese leaders simply do not believe it is fair to place the Darfur crisis on their shoulders snce it is an event happening far away in a region having nothing to do with China. As one Chinese defender put it: “The West has seized on China’s tremendous emphasis on the Olympic Games to criticize China.”

Back in 1980, President Jimmy Carter protested the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by urging a boycott of the Olympic Games that were being held in Russia. China sells weapons to the Sudan and it purchases large amounts of oil. If it threatened a boycott there would be action on the part of the Sudan government. But, Spielberg and others are not merely concerned with Darfur, they want the Chinese government to cease harassing dissidents and allow greater freedom within their nation– things they promised when awarded the Olympic Games and things so far not done. It is refreshing to learn our beloved president never allows politicsl to get in the way of what he does.

Will Olympic Party Lack Guests?

A coalition of Nobel Prize-winners and international athletes, are demanding that China make dramatic changes in its Darfur policies and human rights behavior it it wishes to have full attendance at the Olympics this year. The government of China is being urged to cease trading and assisting the brutal regime of the Sudan which has unleashed thugs and murderers on the people of Darfur. The signatories also told President Hu Jantao that his government “continues to carry out atrocities against its own people.” Steven Spielberg, who is artistic adviser to the 2008 Olympics, has withdrawn from that position in protest against China’s policy toward the issue of Darfur.

China purchases about two-thirds of Sudan’s oil exports and sells weapons to the Khartoum government. The Olympics were initially envisioned as a means of bringing together people throughout the world in a spirit of harmony and friendship. But, the Chinese government continues to aid a brutal regime as well as stifling free speech and human rights within its own society. When Beiing was awarded the Olympic games in 2001 it pledged to improve basic freedoms, but dissidents are still arrested and basic rights of free speech are not at an appropriate level for a society which aspires to be a modern nation. Access to Internet is frequently blocked by the Chinese government. It is time for the world to make clear to China that changes are immediately necessary in its human rights both domestically and internationally. The first step would be for China to halt selling weapons to the Khartoum government.

China Dodges On Darfur Pollcy

The Chinese government is upset at attempts by humn rights activists to link their policy of cooperation with the Sudan government to the upcoming Olympics. Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu insisted “it is of apparent politicl intention and purposes to link the Darfur issue with the Olympics.” He rejected hopes by organizations his government would exert pressure on Sudan to halt the janjaweed attacks on innocent civilians. Although, China has important economic links with Sudan, the foreign ministry claims it lacks the power to exert pressure and is doing all in its power to help the people of Darfur by dispatching 140 enlgineering troops to assist.

China continues with its policy of doing what is best for the economic interests of itself regardless of how that impacts other people in the world. China today is an important economic power, but it dodges any responsibilities to aid those who are suffering. It will conduct business as usual with any repressive regime on grounds it is none of their business because its own business comes first. Hopefully, at some future time when China becomes a democratic society, it will assume its role on the world scene as a beacon of hope for those who need hope.

Cambodian Government Halts Darfur Ceremony

American actress Mia Farrow expressed shock and bewilderment at actions by the government of Cambodia to block a ceremony at a former Khmer Rouge prison which was designed to highlight the crisis in Darfur where people are being brutalized by Sudan troops. “It is pretty harsh to be against a ceremony that honors the victims of Darfur and genocide survivors everywhere,” she said. “Frankly, I’m a little bewildered.” Farrow and other activists will procedd with the ceremony and hold it at the prison gates of the infamous Tuoi Sieng torture facility. She is working with a U.S. based advocacy group, ‘Dream For Darfur,’ which is staging a mock Olympic torch-lighting ceremony at the former prison to send a message to China, a major provider of arms to the Sudan government. The Cambodian government claims it opposes the ceremony because it is a “political message” against China.

China is a strong supporter of the Cambodian government and a strong suppporter of the brutal Sudan regime. Cambodia, of all the nations of the world, knows the experience of having a brutal government in power which mistreats its citizens. The world should simply boycott the Olympics until China ceasing aiding the Sudan government.0

Teddy Bear Teacher’s Own Story Of Captivity

Ms. Gillian Gibbons told Elizabeth Day of the Manchester Guardian the real story behind her captivity in a Sudan prison after being charged with the ridiculous crime of giving a name to a teddy bear. She said it was difficult to explain what she went through during her days of ordeal. “It’s hard to describe what it’s like. I was just terrified, absolutely terrified” being in a hot sweltering prison with dirt and noise as her constant companions. Ms. Gibbons also revealed that parents of the children knew all about the teddy bear being given a name of Mohammed and not a single one objected. “For the children, it was a member of the class,” said Ms. Gibbon, and “the parents had to ask(if their children could borrow the teddy bear for a night at home)so they write and say, ‘Can we borrow Mohammed?’ and they’re Muslim parents, so you can imagine that I had no idea at all that I’d done something wrong because none of the parents said anything.” It wasn’t until two months after the teddy bear was named that a school employee, Sara Khawad expressed her anger at the school by going to authorities and complaining about the teddy bear naming.

Ms. Gibbon noted that when first arrested, she was interrogated in Arabic, a language in which she had three weeks of instruction. According to Ms. Gibbons, at the trial, an irate prosecutor brought the offending teddy bear into the court room, placed it on a table and roared at Ms. Gibbon, “Is this the bear?” She spent the days in jail with great fear and was ridiculed by the guards for being upset, and they wanted to know why she had these feelings. “Well, I’ve lost my job, I’ve lost my home, there’s a mob baying outside that wants to kill me, I’m in prison, and I’m going to get deported, and you ask me why I’m crying?”

This entire incident is obviously a set up. The parents knew about the teddy bear being named Mohammed and not a single one uttered a word of complaint. The Sudan government could readily have contacted the school after Ms. Khawad came with her complaint, and the entire incident never would have happened. It is blatantly cleared they wanted an issue, they wanted to get a mob in the streets shouting something about England or Europeans being hostile to the Muslim religion. The “crime” of Gillian Gibbons is really the “crime” of a Sudanese government which was trying to divert attention from its “crimes in Darfur.” As Shakespeare put it, the teddy bear naming was much ado about nothing.

Chad Fighting — A Fall Out From Darfur Tragedy

Observers found charred bodies and burn-out trucks lying on the blackened grass of a a valley in eastern chad as sad reminders of the war now raging in the nation. Chad’s army claims it has finally pushed rebels fighting against the regime of President Idriss Deby Itno’s government across the border into the Sudan where they have bases. General Itnok, Chad’s commandeer in chief of the armed forces, pointed to ruined buildings as proof that his troops were victorious in the fighting. Warfare resumed after the collapse on October 25th of a peace accord and now there are three rebel factions fighting against the government. A UN force of about 3,700 soldiers is shortly expected to arrive in order to maintain order and protect humanitarian groups who are trying to feed those caught in this tragic event.

The war in Chad is partially a result of the tragedy in Darfur. The government of the Sudan has unleashed murderous thugs to harass and kill people in the Sudan which, in turn, has opened the door for other irregular forces to appear on the scene. Rebels utilize bases in the Sudan to cross the border into Chad and create disruption and chaos. The inability of the UN or of the African Union to provide an effective fighting force that could crush such military ventures is producing a humanitarian crisis in Africa as thousands again are being uprooted and forced to flee to the safety of Un refugee camps. There is little doubt of an African need for an international army that could enforce peace in many parts of the continent in which violence runs wild.

Teddy Bear Terrorist Goes Home!

The storm in a teacup episode created by the Sudan government over an issue that was much ado about nothing finally concluded with a gracious pardon by the government and releasing Ms. Gillian Gibbon from jail. The Sudanese got their “riots” from “angry mobs who felt insulted” and Ms. Gibbon was spared the six months in jail and forty lashes that could be inflicted on those who “insult the Muslim religion.” This writer believes the entire episode was fabricated by the Sudan government in order to deflect world opinion away from its horrendous policies in Darfur which are leading to the death of thousands. The entire episode was akin to a Kabuki dance in which everyone played their role, an “angry mob,” expressions of concern from noted “religious figures,” cries about insulting the Prophet Muhammad, and then serenity when Ms. Gibbon was released with a pardon.

The most interesting facet of this case was the complete absence of anger from any Muslim group other than the 600 member mob of “protestors” who suddenly appeared on the streets of Khartoum. The world’s Muslims stood by in bewilderment at the idiotic behavior of a government that caused the world to feel anger toward the Muslim religion. For those who respect the Muslim religion, it is the Sudan government which deserves six months in jail and forty lashes. It is expected Ms. Gibobn will be flown out of the Sudan within days.

Teddy Bear Fiasco Allows Intolerance to Flourish

The British schoolteacher who was convicted of insulting Muslims by having her children name a teddy bear Mohamed is being placed in a secret location because a mob of 600 protestors shouted, “Shame on the UK,” and “No tolerance, Execution.” The Sudan government has placed itself into a quandary, by allowing the silly situation to even begin. It has enabled just about every fanatic in the Sudan to rush to grab the limelight of extremism by shouting hate and anger against a Westerner. Noted hard line cleric Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karori, urged on people bent on hate with, “Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in the Sudan.” Fortunately, in England, the British Federation of Student Muslim Societies denounced the sentence as being out of all proportion to the crime.

There are some who support sentencing a teacher who named a teddy bear on grounds each nation’s culture should be respected. One can understand another culture, but this does not mean accepting it makes any sense when practices go against universal codes of conduct and morality. Genital cutting of women is deplorable even if it is defended on grounds that “it is our culture.” Nazi Germany had its “own culture” but few today defend its practices. The Sudan government used a silly incident as a means of reinforcing its own power and of pretending to stand up against Western critics of its failed and deplorable policies in Darfur. This entire matter has nothing to do with naming teddy bears, it is a blatant play to the crowd effort by a pack of sadistic rulers of the Sudan who kill thousands and then supposedly become upset because of a teddy bear.

Teddy Bears And Muhammad–The Saga Concludes!

People of the Muslim faith are encountering discrimination and prejudice from religious bigots throughout the world and the last thing they needed was for the clerical bigots in the Sudan to add fire to the flames of anti-Muslim feeling. In a decision that would have seemed logical to the 15th century mind, Ms. Gillian Gibbons of England, a primary school teacher working in the Sudan, was found guilty of “insulting religion” because the children in her class chose the name of “Muhammad” for a teddy bear. The British Foreign Office is furious and British Muslim groups are distressed because the court case is a God-send to every idiotic bigot in their nation who wants to make a case that the Muslim religion is backward and bigoted. It now turns out that a member of the school staff– Sara Khawad, was the one who told religious authorities about the “crime” and even testified against Ms. Gibbons. The judge who heard the case, Mohammed Youssef, said “We are happy with the verdict. It is fair. We will be very sad to lose her.” Huh!

Every time situations like this occur, Muslims confront anger from those who believe their religion has scant relevance to life in the 21st century. This writer knows the overwhelming majority of Muslims believe Judge Youssef and the Sudan court system behaved in an incredible stupid manner by even identifying this situation as an example of “insulting religion.” The best solution at this time is for every ambassador to leave the Sudan for a month in protest against the close minded fools who actually believe naming a teddy bear Jesus or Muhammad, or Moses, or bin Laden or teddy makes a difference in our lives. So, let me print it, the name of the teddy bear in the Sudan was Muhammad.

The Tangled Mess Of Sudan And Darfur

The tangled mess of Darfur and Sudan continues with factions battling one another and themselves. UN – African Union, efforts to bring together various factions continue running into one obstacle after another as thousands die. The joint AU-UN team is trying to get people talking rather than fighting. The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army(SLA) are not only opposing one another but within their own ranks several factions have broken away to create independent power groups. JEM Chief Ahmed Tugod Lissan said if they want us to come to peace negotiations, they have to remove the other rebel factions. He also accused the UN and AU of siding with the Sudan government. Meanwhile, the SLA head Abdallah Yehya said he needed time to get things straightened out among the various factions within his own group before there could be meaningful dialogue.

Some factions also object to having Libya be the site of meetings since they don’t trust its leader, Gadaffi. “Libya is not a neutral place,” said SLA commander Jar-el-Neby. But, another rebel leader, SLA chairperson and founder Abdel Wahad Mohamed el-Nur, who is supported by many people in Darfur, said he would not attend any meetings until UN forces are deployed in Darfur. It is quite clear confusion is the only constant in the morass of Sudan and Darfur. As these factions and interest groups argue and refuse to talk, thousands of people continue dying in Darfur. In a sense, the dying are the ones who should be at the negotiating table, but they will not be heard anymore than peace is present in the quagmire of Darfur.