Defectors from the Sudanese regime explain their role in the Sudanese Government’s planning and execution of mass atrocities in Darfur, implicating members of the regime at the highest level.
Two years ago, Al Arabiya producer Nabil Kassem was asked to put together a documentary film on Darfur. What he witnessed there, and recorded in this film, were scenes of unspeakable brutality and untold suffering, scenes he thought would surely wake up an Arab public all too willing to let Darfur pass by. But ‘Jihad on Horseback’ never made it across the airwaves. Watch part 1 of the film to see perhaps the most provocative Arab documentary ever made.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
SOURCE: For an estimated three million Darfur villagers, it’s been seven long years of bombs dropped by (old Russian ex-military planes) camel-back raids, displacement, rape, and being robbed of humanitarian aid. For refugees unable to leave the region, it’s been as many as seven years in makeshift homes without basic utilities like clean water or electricity, public schools, jobs, markets, doctors’ offices or hospitals. And for the orphaned, it’s been as many as seven years without parents to provide or care for them.
In 2004, George W. Bush declared Sudan’s National Congress Party’s military-backed burning, bombing, and raiding of Darfur region villages a “genocide”. Though many people recognized that the incessant pillaging of the Masalit, Fur, and Zaghawa villages equaled the systematic destruction of Sudan’s black Christians and animists, the UN and the International Criminal Court have not seen fit, until this July, to indict Bashir with genocide for the initial attacks that took place years ago. The fallout amounts to a virtual lost generation of uneducated, voiceless, landless, and orphaned.
This past March, just when the beleaguered folks living in displacement had an offer of democratic election dangled before them, it was whisked away. Voters were excluded or dissuaded by violence, a much-disputed 2008 national census, and by the ballot-box-stuffing of Khartoum insiders. It was a reign in which the Janjaweed militia targeted and torched specific villages, slaughtered inhabitants, and pursued the survivors into the nether regions simply for belonging to ethnic groups suspected of sympathy with rebels. Omar al-Bashir has been the head of state who mandated, commissioned, supplied, and gave his blessing to it all. And in April of 2010, his displaced and ravaged and orphaned voters supposedly re-elected him – an accused genocidal maniac – to an eight-year term as their first democratically chosen leader in 20 years.
I watched this documentary about genocide in Sudan after I learned that the slave trade has once again risen up in the world of Islam in Sudan. Even though this documentary is hard to watch, especially when you see the amount of evidence for the mass genocide and learn nothing is being done about it by the US government, the part between 100:00 and 103:35 is very touching for me. Even though most of the aid sent from the US is stolen before it gets to people in need, the only thing these people have comes from America and this man says he is so grateful to the American People and the “free world”. Even though they are Muslims,,, no help comes from any Islamic countries, and that is because they are black African Muslims which the Arab Muslim controlled Sudanese Government have decided to kill in masses.
UPDATE: This full documentary was available on BlipTV but was removed. I have searched and cannot find the full video online now. I have watched and posted several videos on the genocide in Darfur and this is by far the best one. I first watched it online via Netflix. If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you find some way to watch this documentary because it is the best I have seen. The following video is only a trailer.
Here are more post on this blog about the genocide in Darfur.
Reporting the Truth About Darfur
Telling Brian Steidle’s Story
After Steidle’s stint with as observer for the African Union in the Sudan ends, he returns to the US, testifies before Congress and briefs Condoleeza Rice on the situation. Unfortunately, his testimony didn’t cause Congress or Condoleeza to do anything to help.
That’s why this film is so important. Steidle’s photos of the dead, his comments about the genocide and the testimony of survivors are a powerful call for people around the world to take action to stop the genocide.
The Story Will Shock You Into Action
Make no mistake, The Devil Came On Horseback is a brutal film–one that’s difficult to watch. There’s no question that Steidle is heroic in his persistence, and he has succeeded in raising awareness about the situation–but he alone can’t convince the US government and other authorities to intervene.
The UN wants to send peacekeepers to the Sudan, but the Sudanese government refuses permission. With US support, the UN might be able to send peacekeepers anyway, but the US isn’t stepping up. So, the carnage continues.
Over 450,000 people have been slaughtered in the Sudan; over 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes by murderous raids on their villages, Darfurians live under the constant threat of terrorism.
With extraordinary steadfastness Steidle tours the US lecturing on what is happening in Darfar, showing his photographs and telling of the ravages of genocide. And asking for public support.
Steidle’s heroism exemplifies the American belief in human rights and decency. It’s incredibly frustrating to see how his efforts are ignored and thwarted by US authorities. That’s where this documentary film can help Brian Steidle make a difference. Watch it and allow yourself to be moved to action.
In Southern Sudan, constant attacks from the Arab militias in the North has led to a growing number of kidnap victims. But this is just part of the story. In the mid-1990s, a new trade sprung up, the “selling” of kidnap victims back their families. It has become a highly lucrative business for the kidnappers. Damien Lewis made a clandestine trip to Southern Sudan to find out the extent of the crisis.
Nairobi — Officially, [the] slave trade ended 200 years ago after abolitionists in Britain and the US banned the oppressive enterprise. Before the end of that dark era, millions of Africans had been ferried across the Atlantic and sold into servitude across the Americas.
But history has a way of repeating itself, and it is doing just that in Sudan, where thousands of black Africans from the south are abducted and sold as slaves in the Arab north.
According to reports from non-governmental organisations and human rights agencies, a black slave goes for between $10 and $100 (Sh800 and Sh8,000), and various sources claim there are more than 10,000 people living in slavery and servitude in Sudan today, most of them abducted from their villages by government-backed Arab militia.
The motivation for this, the sources say, is a desire for the northern rulers to terrorise their southern subjects and, in the process, distract rebel forces from attacking government targets.
Arek Anyiel Deng, seized from her village at the age of 10 by Arab militia, remembers the events of that fateful day vividly. After many of her fellow villagers were mowed down by bullets fired from the automatic rifles of the marauding Arabs on horseback, the surviving adults fled the melee, leaving behind children and cattle. After a five-day north-bound journey, the young captives were divided out as spoils of war between members of the raiding party.
“My abductor told me I was his slave, and that I had to do all the work he told me to do; fetching water and firewood, looking after his animals and farming,” Deng says. “When I clocked 12 years, he said he wanted to sleep with me, and I could not refuse because I was a slave…. I had to do everything he wanted, otherwise he would have me killed.”
Forced conversion to Islam
A study by the Rift Valley Institute indicates that some 11,000 boys and girls were seized in such raids in the last one decade alone. The captives were then taken to areas like Kordofan, South Darfur and Bahr-el Ghazal, where they are still being subjected to hard labour, beatings and forced conversion to Islam. Other atrocities include ritual gang-rapes, genital mutilation, sexual servitude and “marrying off” girls as young as 12 years old.
But despite overwhelming evidence by white-shoe institutions like the US State Department, UN Special Rapporteurs and Amnesty International, Khartoum has always denied the existence of chattel slavery, saying such claims are lies meant to tarnish the reputation of the Government of Sudan.
“President Omar Bashir reaffirmed the commitment of Sudan to laws and rules respecting human rights, and he denied the existence of any form of slavery in the land,” said a government statement during the visit to the country by a US delegation led by Martin Luther King Junior, the son of the late black civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
However, apart from institutional and international condemnation, few individuals have dared speak out against this atrocious crime against humanity, and among these is the controversial Sudanese female writer, rebel and human rights activist Kola Boof.
“I cannot, for a minute, be quiet about the fact that slavery is alive and well in my homeland, Sudan,” Boof says. “Before my parents were murdered, I saw it with my own eyes. Black African Christians rounded up, kidnapped, beaten, raped and routinely chained and put into trucks, never to be seen again”.
Ms Boof, whose parents were butchered for speaking against slavery and discrimination, lives in exile in the United States and has penned several books, among them Flesh and the Devil, Virgins in the Beehive and her autobiography, Diary of a Lost Girl.
Moved by the plight of these condemned souls, local and foreign non-governmental bodies and volunteers have established mechanisms through which slaves find their way back to freedom.
Pioneered and spearheaded by non-governmental organisations like the Swiss-based human rights group Christian Solidarity International (CSI) and the American Anti-Slavery Group, the redemption scheme involves purchasing slaves from their owners for between $50 and $100 (Sh4,000-Sh8,000) and reconnecting them with their families.
The lobby groups, which raise ‘redemption funds’ from well-wishers and donors in their home countries, estimate that around 40,000 slaves have been redeemed this way in a period spanning 15 years.
The repatriation programme has been hugely facilitated by a Dinka-Arab peace agreement signed in 1991 which established mutually agreed local channels of returning captured people. The Dinka tradition of intricate clan divisions has also been very important in helping returnees trace their families.
However, critics claim this buy-out scheme has upped the profitability of this hideous trade since slavers catch more slaves in the hope of reselling them back. In the past, the UN has decreed that it is ethically wrong to buy human beings, and argued that the system can encourage desperate people to sell their children or the militia to capture more slaves. And the same sentiments have been echoed by several other organisations.
“Our objectives — and, I believe, the sincere objectives of others — was to carefully investigate legitimate claims, redeem on a case-by-case basis, report our findings and seek international pressure to end the hideous practice of slavery,” explains Jim Jacobson of CFI, which was involved in slave redemption.
“But what started as an act of mercy has turned into a debacle. Selling slaves is now more profitable in Sudan than narcotics. Slave redemptions are now enriching slave traders, slave dealers and slave masters.”
Mr Jacobson also added that money generated through the slave buy-back scheme is used to purchase guns and hire people to conduct more slave raids in southern villages.
Tell their tales
But, regardless of whether they are bought back to freedom or they manage to escape by their own, many freed Southern Sudan slaves are grateful for living through their ordeals to tell their tales.
Nyamut Aruop Buoi left her village to go to the market sometimes around 1996 (she is unclear about dates) when she was caught in a crossfire between raiders and locals.
“When I heard the gunshots, I tried to run. My friend was killed, shot while running. Their faces were covered. They were on horseback. I was surrounded by a group of Arabs,” she told the Washington Post.
While debating whether to kill her or not, one raider decided to take her as a wife.
“They tied both my legs and hands,” she recalls. “In the process, I was thrown down and lost a tooth. The first night, many houses were set on fire and people were killed in a Dinka village. I was so frightened I could not sleep.” That night, Nyamut says, she was raped by five men.
Marko Akot Deng, whose limbs were paralysed after a severe beating by his master, told the BBC his harrowing story tinged with bitter emotions.
“In 1987, the Arab militia came and attacked our village and took me. My niece was also abducted but she was taken by a different man and I have not seen her since. I had to look after the cattle, goats and sheep. For food, I was only given left-overs, and sometimes nothing at all. One day, a cow went missing and I was beaten so badly that my right arm and leg paralysed.”
Captured in 2004, Abuk Garang Theip (camp doctors estimate her age to be around 12) is terrified and traumatized as she retells the way she was plucked from comforts the simple of childhood and plunged into the vagaries of servitude.
“As we marched along, they would sometimes killed a person or two on the way. Some were shot. They told me: ‘If you don’t stop crying, we’ll kill you also.’”
Things were never easy during her stay in bondage.
“They wanted me to pray with them,” Abuk says. “When I refused, the wife cut my leg with a knife. She said she intended to amputate my leg.” Asked why she paid such a high price for resisting conversion, she explains. “I’m Dinka. I have nothing to do with their religion.”
Although she successfully resisted conversion, she was forcefully circumcised.
Apart from those who have escaped or been liberated, there are thousands of others trying to trace their families, abducted years ago. Although they know chances of ever being reunited with their loved ones are slim, a glimmer of hope still lingers.
“My wife Abuk Deng Rual and son Deng Aketch Arol were both abducted in 1988. I have been to the north but could not find them,” says a distraught Akech Arol Deng. “I feel so sad because I miss them so much. I really hope that one day they will come back. If my wife has been taken as a wife by an Arab man and comes back with children, I will gladly accept them as my own.”
This explosive subject has been explored in detailed in the book War and Slavery in Sudan. Written by Prof Jok Madut Jok, a member of the Dinka community, the book brings an insider’s perspective through vivid descriptions of the methods of capture and the heinous experiences of captivity.
The plight of Sudanese slaves has also been articulated in the film ‘I am Slave’ [Channel 4 UK – it may be avalaible view via YouTube or on the Channel 4 website in some countries, but we are not allowed to embed it here – Ed]. The movie tells the real-life experiences of Mende Nazer, who was abducted in Nuba and held in bondage in Khartoum and London. The British drama, which was partly shot in Kenya, claims that an estimated 5,000 people work as trafficked slaves in the United Kingdom.
“Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave girls whom God has given you as booty.” Qur’an, 33:50
Modern liberal education traditionally leaves students with the impression that slavery was a product of the British, early white Americans and others of European origin. In fact, although Europeans certainly were active in the slave trade for a period, nothing could be further from the truth.
Islam had codified and institutionalised the abhorrent practice long before the transatlantic slave trade. The taking of non-Muslim slaves is sanctioned by the Qur’an – and the practice is further supported in the ahadith, the sayings and traditions of Mohammed (himself a slave-taker and owner); with swathes of text dealing with the jurisprudence, treatment and commercial rules surrounding slavery.
The transatlantic trade was also supported by Muslims – with slave traders often buying their human commodity from Arabs.
And now it is back with a vengeance – with the slide of many Muslim-majority countries into near or actual failed states, legitimate government gives way to Sharia law and slavery (although it never really ended, merely declining in scale and retreating into the shadows); is becoming common practice once again.
More Cultural Enrichmnent™ from the Religion of Peace.