Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
As we speak,
hundreds of thousands of people are being herded into deadly concentration
camps, and tens of thousands of others, are being forced to flee;
to make hellish death marches under a searing sun, seeking a moment's
shade and rest.
These people are under relentless assault by murderous bands of
rapists and thieves, backed by a central government, and the governments
of the West, including the U.S. and the U.N., can barely raise a
murmur in protest.
What is happening
is the attempted "ethnic cleansing" of the indigenous
people of the Darfur region, in western Sudan, who have been subjected
to the venomous attacks of terrorist militias, called the Janjawid,
who are armed, paid, and aimed by the military regime in Khartoum.
For the Western
governments and international agencies, now is not a good time to
rock the boat with Khartoum, for it draws attention from the so-called
'War on Terrorism.'
Sudan is the
largest country in Africa, and it has a long and brilliant history
under the kingdoms of Nubia. From ancient days, it suffered under
the attempted invasions of its northern neighbor, Egypt. Both invaded
the other for centuries.
In more modern
times, Arabs have moved southwards and settled in Sudan's northern
provinces. When the National Islamic Front staged a military coup
in 1989, it began to favor these segments of Sudanese society, to
the detriment of traditional Sudanese tribal groups. This political
conflict has morphed into an ethnic and racial one, that has become
expressed as a struggle between "Arabs" and "Africans".
In the country's
west, Darfur is a vast area, about the size of France. The name,
"Dar Fur", means the "homeland of the Fur people",
and has been used for centuries. There, the Fur, the Zaghawa and
Massaleit, who are indigenous African tribal populations, dwell,
following their pastoral way of life. In the past, whenever there
was conflict between these people, and the nomadic Arabic tribal
groups, both would meet to peacefully negotiate compensation.
Those days are
according to Amnesty International reports, are killing over a thousand
villagers a week, and doing so, with the support of Khartoum. The
military government is using helicopter gunships, MiG jets, and
Antonov bombers for aerial assaults on the villages of Darfur.
a taped exchange between a Sudanese ground commander and a flying
pilot earlier this year:
found people still in the village. Pilot: Are they with us or against
us? Commander: They say they will work with us. Pilot: They're liars.
Don't trust them. Get rid of them ... [some time later]: Pilot:
Now the village is empty and secure for you. Any village you pass
through must burn. That way, when the villagers come back they'll
have a surprise waiting for them. [fr. Eric Reeves, "Sudan's
Reign of Terror," *amnesty now* (Sum. '04), pp. 18-19.]
attacks have indeed left a "surprise" for hundreds of
thousands of people, as they have systematically destroyed over
a hundred villages.
Although both these people are Black people, and both are Muslim
people, the issue of ethnicity has been exploited by the government
to achieve political ends. One survivor of the assaults lived to
quote the words of her attacker. "You are opponents to the
regime, we must crush you", he said. "Since you are black,
you are like slaves. Then all the Darfur region will be in our hands.
The government is on our side. The government plane is on our side
to give us ammunition and food", the Janjawidi said.
The Sudan has been visited recently by US Secretary of State, Colin
Powell, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Both have reportedly
received promises from Khartoum to "contain" the poisonous
Janjawid. Yet neither of these diplomats have called the Sudanese
government's actions "terrorist", nor "genocidal."
I guess Africans
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.