Saturday, May 22, 2010


"The United States has a moral obligation anytime you see humanitarian catastrophes..We can't say 'never again' and then allow it to happen again and as President of the United States I don't intend to abandon people or turn a blind eye to slaughter.”
Barack Obama

Email from my friend, Mohamed Suleiman:

Darfuris in Darfur could hardly believe that AlBashir has a free hand in bombing them, killing them, and displacing them while Washington says almost nothing. Now this Administration is moving to shatter the last pillar of hope for the genocide victims in Darfur: JUSTICE, the ICC??!!

NO, this is too much to bear.

The article he is commenting on here is just below.

Obama Setting Up Clash With the Hague Over Darfur

Benny Avni - Special to The Sun

May 20, 2010


UNITED NATIONS — President Obama is setting up the next big clash between America and the International Criminal Court, according to human rights activists who say Washington ’s Sudan envoy undermines the Hague-based world judicial body’s prosecution of President Bashir.

In stark contrast to the Bush administration, which has eyed the ICC’s concept of “international jurisdiction” with much healthy skepticism and declined to join the court, Mr. Obama’s team has sent observers to ICC gatherings and vowed to cooperate with Hague investigators in what is largely seen as an attempt by some of the president’s top jurists to promote full American membership.

At the same time, Mr. Obama’s personal envoy to Sudan , Scott Gration, testifying at the Senate last week, said he is supporting an African Union initiative to create locally-based “truth and reconciliation mechanisms.” Hague watchers fear that such mechanisms will undermine the ICC’s ambitious – and first ever – indictment of a sitting head of state.

Mr. Bashir was indicted in 2008 by the ICC’s prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, on allegations of war crimes at Darfur . But the leader of South Africa, President Mbeki, who has long complained that the ICC only takes up African cases, responded to the indictment with a counter initiative to set up a “hybrid” body of Sudanese and international jurists who would look into Darfur cases. The African Union embraced Mr. Mbeki’s plan, and announced it would shun the ICC.

Now America is “coming to support Mbeki’s approach, and that’s a change,” the United Nations’ representative in Darfur , Ibrahim Gambari, told me today.

Speaking to the Senate’s foreign relation committee last week, Mr. Gration said that the Obama administration remains supportive of “international efforts” to try genocide suspects. But, he added, America is also pursuing “locally-owned accountability and reconciliation mechanisms in light of the recommendations made by the African Union’s high level panel on Darfur .”

Administration officials deny that Mr. Gration’s testimony represents a policy change, saying that since October 2009, the Obama administration has supported both the international track and the regional approach. When it comes to Darfur , “we are for accountability, period,” a State Department official told me today.

Critics say Mr. Gration’s embrace of the Sudan-based trial process will allow Mr. Bashir to get off the hook. “ Sudan ’s courts are under the thumb of Bashir’s dictatorial regime,” the director of the David S. Wyman Institute for holocaust studies, Rafael Medoff, said in a statement. He has set up “Bashir Watch,” a group tracking the movements of the Sudanese dictator. “If Bashir is tried before a local Sudanese court, there is a real danger he will escape with a slap on the wrist,” Mr. Medoff added. America “has a moral obligation to facilitate Bashir’s arrest and bring him to justice” at Hague.

The Bush administration, which studiously refrained from any hint of support for the ICC, nevertheless declined to block the U.N. Security Council referral to the Hague of Darfur , where Secretary of State Powell has said “genocide” is taking place. Mr. Ocampo then indicted Mr. Bashir, calling on all ICC members to arrest and bring him to justice. But the African Union and the Arab League declined to cooperate, allowing uninterrupted visits by Mr. Bashir to several African and Arab capitals.

In the West, the debate over Mr. Bashir’s prosecution has long pitted human rights advocates against proponents of “real-politik.” Several public clashes erupted even within the Obama administration over Sudan policy, as General Gration advocates a go-easy approach to the Khartoum regime, while a group of hardliners, led by the American envoy here, Susan Rice, demands that Mr. Bashir pay for his crimes.

Mr. Gration nevertheless has raised Khartoum government’s ire when he recently suggested an American support for establishing an independent state in the oil-rich south of Sudan , where a referendum on secession is scheduled for January.

The south Sudan independence movement commands a sizable majority in the largely Christian and Animist region. If the south splits from the country, the war in Darfur, which is in the west of Sudan , may escalate anew as the locals demand independence as well. Fearing the loss of oil revenues, Mr. Bashir’s government has warned a split could lead to horrible bloodshed.

Washington is talking now about a “peaceful divorce” between the south and Khartoum , Sudan ’s ambassador here, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, told me today. America should instead discourage secession and “avoid sending mixed signals,” he said.






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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 406 - May 20th 2010

From Reuters


Darfur rebels and army clash, peace hopes fade

Thu May 20, 2010 12:02pm EDT

* Darfur rebels, army clash in South Darfur

* Hopes for peace talks fade

* Sudanese journalists protest against arrests, censorship

KHARTOUM, May 20 (Reuters) - Darfur rebels fought government troops on Thursday in the east of the troubled region, the latest in a wave of clashes which has seen hopes of reviving a faltering peace process fade away.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's counter-insurgency campaign in Sudan's west sparked one of the world's worst humanitarian crises and earned him an arrest warrant for war crimes from the International Criminal Court.

Darfur rebel divisions and clashes have been the main obstacles to Qatar-hosted peace talks. The militarily powerful rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has warned it would attack the government "anywhere" after suspending its participation in the talks, citing bombardment of its areas.

"Yesterday (Wednesday) JEM went into Um Sa'ouna village and began to use the civilians as human shields," Sudan's army spokesman said. "We have surrounded the roads leading out of the village and have heavy clashes with anyone who comes out," he said, adding the standoff was ongoing.

The spokesman said the army was not fighting inside Um Sa'ouna village in the east of South Darfur state, because it was worried about civilian casualties.

JEM said the army had been routed. "Their troops fled to Ed-Daeen and She'aria," said JEM commander Suleiman Sandal, referring to two nearby towns. He said JEM had lost four soldiers and had killed more than 200 government soldiers.

There was no independent version of events.



Also on Thursday, about 50 Sudanese journalists delivered a memorandum to government authorities condemning the closure, seizure of assets and the arrest of four employees of the opposition al-Rai al-Shaab paper in a midnight raid on Saturday.

Sudanese authorities also censored two papers on Wednesday night, which the journalists criticised as a step backwards in developing democracy.

One security source said the papers had been inciting people against the state.

Sudan held its first open elections in 24 years in April, and lifted direct censorship of the papers last year.

But journalists said restrictions continued in other ways like withdrawing government company advertising revenues, essential for papers to survive.

"This means papers are forced to self censor and that is more dangerous than the direct censorship," said Yasir Haroun from the English-language Sudan Tribune daily.

The Ajras al-Huriya daily is also facing five court cases raised by the police, army and security forces.

The journalists said if their four colleagues from al-Rai al-Shaab were not charged or released they would begin regular protests and lobbying against the authorities.

Al-Rai al-Shaab is the mouthpiece of opposition Islamist Hassan al-Turabi's Popular Congress Party. Turabi was also arrested on Saturday but the party said none of the five has been charged yet.

(Reporting by Opheera McDoom)


Websites regarding Darfur


Standing with Darfur

If you want peace, work for justice
إذا كنت تريد السلام ، أعمل من أجل العدالة

Contact President Obama:


or for organizations at

Secretary of State Clinton:

State Department Facebook:

Ambassador Susan Rice:

Vice President Biden:
or for organizations at

Who will comfort me?


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Call to the Mystic

We built our fires and we gathered
We built our altars and we prayed
We shed a tear for what we longed for
And we cried out to be saved
'Cause in our minds we could remember
Something that we no longer had
And in our hearts a burning ember
What did we lose that made us so sad?

So we called to the Mystic to keep our dreams alive
Yeah we called to the Mystic
For reasons to survive
For reasons to survive

And we would gaze at night in wonder
At beauty we could not reflect
So to the moon and to the thunder
Our simple shrines we would erect
We built our temples and religions
But where have they all led us now
To greater walls and more division
Our symbols turned to golden cows

So we called to the Mystic to keep our dreams alive
Yeah we called to the Mystic
For reasons to survive
For reasons to survive

And where are You mysterious maker?
In outer realms or deep inside?
And is this asker just a taker?
Are we the reason that You hide?
Is it we can't see You in temples
That are not made of brick and stone?
Is it when You appear we fear You?
Is that why we're so all alone?
There are so many many questions
There are so many many ways
Oh make us stupid make us simple
And come back to us in these days

Yeah we call to the Mystic to keep our dreams alive
Yeah we call to the Mystic
For reasons to survive
For reasons to survive

Oh we call to the Mystic to keep our dreams alive
Yeah we called to the Mystic
For reasons to survive
For reasons to survive

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