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Oct-01-2009 15:26printcomments

Darfur, Are We Listening?

Please answer the voice of the displaced Darfuri, “I hear you; I will help you see justice!”

President Barack Obama and Special Envoy Major General Scott Gration

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Six years later, human atrocities; maiming, killing, rape, looting, 80+ percent of villages burned and destroyed and hundreds of thousands displaced both within and outside of Darfur.

Our president, “Sudan is a priority for this administration, particularly at a time when it cries out for justice. The worsening humanitarian crisis there makes our task all the more urgent.” (March 18, 2009) also, “That is why we will strengthen our support for effective peacekeeping, while energizing our efforts to prevent conflicts before they take hold. We will pursue a lasting peace in Sudan through support for the people of Darfur, and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, so that we secure the peace that the Sudanese people deserve.” (September 24, 2009)

What is happening with these strong words? The answer came on Tuesday; Special Envoy Major General Scott Gration answered “We’ve got to think about giving out cookies. Kids, countries - they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement.” Gration also expresses his confidence in the Sudan government. – Washington Post

While Gration is busy handing out cookies and gold stars the people of Darfur are being killed, raped and starved. This week while our president speaks about what the Sudanese people deserve and his special envoy is showcasing his confidence in their Government:

September 22, 2009 - In the town of Korma (south of Jebel Marra and west of El Fasher), on Friday and Saturday the Janjaweed entered the town -looting, killing, raping, and burning. Civilians in the thousands were fleeing the villages around Jebel Marra, Ain Siero, and in the North Darfur in Donkey Housh area - some fled to the already crowded IDP camps.

September 23, 2009 – A US Darfuri, learned from his relatives in Darfur that his village Gefafil (near Kutum - North Darfur) was attacked and burned by the Janjaweed last week. His grandma Dagla was among the dead. She was brutally killed along with his cousin. His grandma was 74 years old. He said he spoke with survivors from his village and other neighboring villages ( Um Liyanah, Garbah, Kaffout) the Janjaweed were brutal and vengeful. The Janjaweed and security agents were looking for teachers in particular. Some teachers were shot dead on the spot. The relatives told him, the teacher of the village who had refused to leave for years, Ustaz Alnueil, was shot dead. The survivors who managed to reach an IDP camp told him that in their flight they saw many dead bodies scattered in the open in the destroyed villages along the way.

September 24, 2009 - The first displaced people have arrived from the battlefields in North Darfur to the capital El Fasher. The first group of people arrived on Tuesday in Al Salaam camp. Sudan Air Force is continuing aerial bombing of the area of Korma in North Darfur.

September 25, 2009 -A Darfuri in US, contacting his relatives in Kutum (North Darfur) reported heavy aerial bombings east of Kutum - 36 incidents of rape in the village of Delil (in east of Kutum).

September 26, 2009 - In the deadly conflict in Darfur, the pro-government militias and the Army of the Government of Sudan rob and loot the targeted villages. In the ongoing violence there are reports of killing many owners and shepherds of livestock and their animals are taken by the pro-government militia.

Is this important to you, is a human life worth the the minutes of listening and speaking out. This is not Africa’s problem, this is your problem, and this is my problem. We are spending millions on aid, numerous resources and time. A country that allows its own men, women, children, teachers, doctors to be exterminated in such a fashion will not stand against atrocities in other countries. If we choose to ignore this and walk away, than we are saying this is allowed, this is OK. Hitler watched the world forgot about the Armenians, he concluded they can and will forget about the Jews. The consequence of not listening or acting quickly– 6 million dead. I have to ask, is this the kind of world I want to live in, how about you?

September 28, 2009 – More displaced people from Korma are arriving at Abushouk and other camps around El Fasher. Eyewitnesses are telling horrible stories of atrocities committed by the Government of Sudan (GoS) and its militias in Korma. One eyewitness said that he gave up seeing justice in this life. He said that the Army and militias entered the town without a fight; immediately started looting the market, assaulting the civilians, and raping women. His family was beaten, his wife was assaulted after her baby was thrown on the ground, his 90 year old mother had a gun barrel in her mouth so as not to scream, children were slapped in their faces, and he was forced to watch all this while being beaten. He said was spared killing because the damage caused to him is worse than been killed.

I graciously thank Mohamed Suleiman, his courage and strength is inspiring. He continues to write and speak daily, to use his voice in an effort to bring these atrocities to the forefront. Stay updated, help to spread awareness via his blog While we Wait and Radio Dabanga. Thank you again for your continued diligence and your strength in listening.

Please answer the voice of the displaced Darfuri “I hear you; I will help you see justice!”

Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the belegured people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at: alyshann78@comcast.net

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Ryan Randall October 3, 2009 7:00 am (Pacific time)

The Governor of North Darfur Osman Kebir should be taken to the Hague for this.

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