coming soon we will be sharing info on designers that contribute goods for charity auction with us
as seen in July 2011 People Style Watch Charity Finds… This cotton bag is lined with tiny zipper pocket inside & they are made in ghana/fair trade $10 of each sale here online is donated to 501c3 non profits like designers4africa
“Khartoum Dramatically Escalates War in Sudan” 
Posted by : ereeves on Jun 09, 2011 – 11:48 PM
“Khartoum Dramatically Escalates War in Sudan”
Violence, including ethnically-targeted destruction, has accelerated in South Kordofan over the past few days. Aerial attacks are reported throughout South Kordofan, especially in the Nuba Mountains; one report is of bombing attacks against the major base of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in Jau (Pariang County in oil-rich Unity State). A precipitous embargo on fuel and other goods moving from North to South Sudan is designed to create economic instability prior to the South’s independence in one month (July 9, 2011). Those in South Kordofan believed loyal to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) or opposed to the Khartoum regime are being hunted down in retribution; the destruction of churches and the targeting of Christians in and around Kadugli give an ominous sense of what is to come.
June 9, 2011
Highlights of reports, as of 7pm (GM -5) June 9:
•As in Abyei, the military actions by Khartoum in South Kordofan were clearly premeditated. The potential for precisely the conflict we are seeing now has been repeatedly noted by several observers (http://www.cmi.no/news/?787=the-nuba-mountains-central-to-sudans-stability/). And yet the international community has again been caught flat-footed, wholly reliant on the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS); this force has performed poorly, especially in Kadugli where it is widely perceived to have sided with Khartoum. Reports continue to stream in of more tanks moving south from el-Obeid, the main Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) military base outside Khartoum. Military air assets have been rapidly deployed in the conflict, for the Nuba Mountains—where the war will be concentrated—are within range of the jet fighter aircraft based in el-Obeid. Khartoum’s most brutal leaders, including President Omar al-Bashir and his chief advisor Nafi’e Ali Nafi’e, have publicly declared that the SAF has been given a “free hand” throughout South Kordofan, and that any southern troops in the North after June 1 would be “legitimate targets”—this despite the fact that tens of thousands of these troops consider South Kordofan and southern Blue Nile their home ) http://goo.gl/67uOK ). Reprisals against civilians thought to be sympathetic to the SPLM/A have been brutal.
Khartoum has explicitly declared its intention to “spread its forces throughout [South Kordofan] state after in gained military control in Kadugli” (Sudan News Agency [SUNA/Khartoum], June 8, 2011). Given the central location of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, this is a declaration of all-out war. UNMIS has already reported that the SAF is “shelling SPLA positions in the mountains of South Kordofan.” UNMIS also reports (June 9) that “fighting was ongoing and had spread across the state.” (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110609/wl_africa_afp/sudanunrestsouthkordofan/)
•As was true following the invasion of Abyei, Khartoum’s decision to resume war in South Kordofan has very quickly produced tens of thousands of displaced civilians, even as humanitarian organizations have halted operations or withdrawn. The humanitarian situation for the Nuba and non-Arab populations of South Kordofan has immediately become critical. The 10,000 civilians who have sought security at the UNMIS base in Kadugli are desperately short of water and facing growing security risks (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110609/wl_africa_afp/sudanunrestsouthkordofan ). Many have already left Kadugli, and the town of Dilling to the north is reportedly deserted. One estimate from a Nuba source is that 75,000 people have already been displaced.
•On Sunday, June 5 senior leaders of the SPLM flew to Kadugli to arrange a cease-fire with Khartoum officials, and signed an agreement to this effect. In a signature move of bad faith, an hour after Yasir Arman (head of the SPLM in North Sudan) and Malik Agar (governor of Blue Nile and senior member of the SPLM) flew out of Kadugli, Khartoum’s SAF began an assault on the home of Abdel Aziz el-Hilu, SPLM candidate for governor of South Kordofan during the rigged elections of May and a true son of the Nuba. El-Hilu is widely popular among the people of the Nuba and a superb military leader. If he had in fact been killed in the SAF attack, the consequences would have been enormous; as one Nuba put it, “If Aziz goes down the entire Nuba Mountains will erupt.” El-Hilu is now reported to be “fully in military uniform.” That Khartoum was willing to take this risk indicates that the regime has already determined on a course of war.
Here, the consequences of the Carter Center’s poorly informed ratification of the South Kordofan gubernatorial election—in which indicted war criminal Ahmed Haroun defeated el-Hilu following a fraudulent vote count—continues to make themselves felt, and contribute to the climate of deep hostility and mistrust. (see http://www.sudanreeves.org/Article325.html )
•The Sudan Tribune reports (June 9) that Antonov bombers attacked Jau in South Sudan (oil-rich Unity State); this attack on a major SPLA base of operations in the South represents a radical escalation in the war that is rapidly unfolding. Predictably, the long-range, high-altitude Antonovs (not “bombers,” but cargo planes from which crude barrel bombs are rolled without sighting mechanisms) dropped their bombs wide of the SPLA headquarters and hit civilian targets instead (see my report on Khartoum’s history of bombing civilian and humanitarian targets over the past twelve years: www.sudanbombing.org/). Three were reported killed, including a child.
The threat of much greater military incursion into South Sudan has been dismissed by many observers, but this seems unwise (http://www.sudanreeves.org/Article321.html ). Indeed, a SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer notes today, “The borders have not been demarcated and SAF plans to take some of these areas now. We have said this is part of a plan by SAF” (http://goo.gl/F8NwS ). And indeed, any inspection of a map of the oil concession areas reveals just how much is concentrated along the 1956 North/South border. In a January 2011 report for Pax Christi, researcher Julie Flint writes in “The Nuba Mountains: Central to Sudan’s Security”:
“Today senior SPLA officers in Southern Kordofan claim that SAF is ‘preparing for war all the way along the border.’ They claim SAF divisions recast as brigades in 2009 remain at division strength; four separate brigades that arrived in 2008-09 constitute another, unacknowledged division; and 40-barrel Katyusha rocket launchers, B-10 anti-tank guns and 120 mm mortars have been moved to the border area. Deputy governor al-Hilu says that despite agreement that SAF would move into 15 assembly points, it now has 55,000 troops in more than 100 garrisons—’more than needed to control Southern Kordofan; more even than at the height of the jihad.’”
•In South Kordofan SAF military aircraft and artillery reportedly attacked five villages south of Kadugli as well as Talodi, Heiban, Kauda, Abdel Aziz el-Hilu’s compound on the outskirts of Kadugli, and many other towns. Civilians are reportedly fleeing from many locations: Kadugli, Talodi, Dilling, Umm Dorein (again, Dilling is reportedly nearly deserted). The SAF spokesman, al-Swarmi Kahled, has refused to take calls from journalists. One source on the ground reports that there have been 100 casualties in Heiban (Nuba Mountains). Khartoum shows no interest in the SPLM offer [June 8] of an immediate cease-fire (http://www.sudantribune.com/Sudan-s-NCP-declares-situation-in,39149 ).
•Civilians who fled from Khartoum’s brutal military seizure of Abyei are struggling, as humanitarian organizations increasingly find themselves short of supplies, most critically fuel by which to maintain mobility. The outlook is increasingly grim, according to a news dispatch from Turelei, South Sudan (http://goo.gl/XBrbf ). These Dinka Ngok people are struggling simply to survive. At the same time it is clear that the original UN report on the Abyei invasion found sufficient evidence to claim that Khartoum’s “‘attack and occupation’ of the disputed town of Abyei ‘is tantamount to ethnic cleansing’” (http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/06/06/sudans_invasion_of_abyei_is_it_ethnic_cleansing_or_isnt_it ). But in the final report—leaked to Associated Press on June 3—the language has been changed substantially by the UN bureaucracy: now the report claims only that “the ‘occupation’ of Abyei could lead to ethnic cleansing….” This revision was made with transparently political motives, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and senior UN officials sought to mollify Khartoum. The spineless Ban declared flatly that it is “far too early to claim that ethnic cleansing is taking place” (http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/06/06/sudans_invasion_of_abyei_is_it_ethnic_cleansing_or_isnt_it ).
•The origin of the fighting will be disputed in the absence of any neutral reporting presence; in this sense, it is like the military invasion of Abyei, which was precipitated by the disputed events of May 19—events that nonetheless served as a casus belli for Khartoum. One highly informed source reports that the initial shooting occurred at Umm Dorain when Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) attempted to disarm SPLA troops at the border stations that delineated the military boundary between the two sides during the civil war; this has been confirmed by a Western official who closely follows regional events. But Khartoum was clearly planning for this war in the Nuba and many tanks quickly appeared in Kadugli, along with a rapid deployment of other offensive military resources.
•Civilian reprisals are increasing, and are like to accelerate rapidly going forward. A reliable source reports that Khartoum’s fearsome Military Intelligence forced its way into UNMIS headquarters in Kadugli and took many suspected SPLM sympathizers. This source also reports that a “disabled man in a wheelchair was found killed outside the UNMIS compound after he sought protection [there].” This has had an understandably chilling effect on those looking to UNMIS for protection, and many who had originally gathered at the UNMIS base are melting away. A number of those caught and labeled “SPLM sympathizers” have almost certainly been executed.
Many within the SAF ranks are forced recruits from the South or the Nuba; many wish to join the SPLM and have started defecting. It is ironically appropriate that Khartoum yesterday [June 8] described the situation as a “mutiny”:
“The National Congress Party [National Islamic Front] today declared that situation in South Kordofan is an ‘armed mutiny’ and a breach of the law by the SPLM supported by foreign powers and some internal opposition movements who are working to further ambitions of some SPLM figures.” (Sudan Tribune translation of the Arabic)
This trend of defections from the SAF is likely to increase quickly, although for the moment it has created a highly dangerous situation in Kadugli. One report from the ground, confirmed by a US government source, puts the matter this way (lightly edited for clarity):
“There are many Nuba in the SAF and Kadugli police who are defecting to the SPLM/A, and at times unwittingly [complicating] the situation. For SAF troops and Popular Defense Forces have no qualms about killing and destroying the Nuba people or their homes and businesses, whereas the Nuba must show such restraint because it is their own people in the crossfire. This gives the SAF and PDF an advantage as well as ‘plausible deniability’ by deflecting responsibility to SPLA. In short, SAF soldiers may not only kill such ‘traitors,’ but easily accuse the SPLM/A of the attacks.” (email received June 7, 2011)
•Economic warfare has begun in earnest, as Khartoum has virtually shut down the movement of all commercial and other goods to the South. This means that the South has run extremely short of fuel, and this is putting humanitarian organizations in a highly dangerous situation, one in which they have insufficient fuel to evacuate. Prices have skyrocketed, especially for fuel. Earlier this week Juba accused Khartoum of deliberately closing all commercial routes to the south. In the words of Stephen Dhieu Dau, minister of trade and industry in the Government of South Sudan:
“The government in Khartoum is not happy to see people of south Sudan living in peace. It says one thing and does another. It is not sleeping. It is working day and night to sabotage peace and development in the area. It has adopted detrimental policies.”
UN IRIN today reported on the threats felt by Southerners living in the North following the secession of South Sudan in a month (http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=92943 ). The have good reason to fear, and this extends to the people of the Nuba:
“‘If south Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution, and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity … shari’a and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language,’ [al-Bashir said].” (The Guardian, January 8, 2011, at
As one prescient military observer has put it,
“‘The North will get away with horrors in Nuba again,’ a western military observer warned in Tchalian’s time [Karen Tchalian was first UNMIS head of security in Kadugli]. ‘The UN would probably be able to do little. But right now it knows too little.’” (http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=24931 )
This was many months ago, and very little has changed.
•The spirit of the Nuba: In January 2003, while traveling in the Nuba Mountains, I was able to dispatch these words from Kauda (one of the sites that UNMIS today reports has been attacked) (http://www.sudanreeves.org/Sections-article129-p1.html ); my effort was to reveal both the extraordinary determination I found among the people of the Nuba, and their supremely clear understanding of their own history since independence in 1956, particularly in light of the Machakos Protocol that had been signed in July 2002, guaranteeing the right of a self-determination referendum to the South. I concluded at the time, and can only emphasize again, that these people will not surrender, they will not again be forced into “peace camps,” and they will fight ferociously, realizing that if they should succumb militarily, their lives are over.
Kauda, Nuba Mountains
January 13, 2003
“The Nuba Mountains Region: An Inescapable Issue at Machakos”
The Khartoum regime has delayed, and perhaps ultimately aborted its participation in the most recent round of the Machakos peace talks. It has done so because it refuses to accept a decision by the peace process mediators that geographical issues must have a place on the agenda if a true and just peace is to be realized. The Machakos mediators have rightly decided that there can be no meaningful agreement that ignores the historically marginalized areas of Abyei, Southern Blue Nile, and the Nuba Mountains. Twenty years of fighting cannot be ended by ignoring the fate of peoples who have allied themselves politically and militarily with South Sudan, and who feel themselves culturally at risk from the tyranny of Khartoum’s Islamicist project.
The Nuba people in particular have recently expressed their determination to be part of any peace agreement, and have designated the SPLM/A as their representatives at the Machakos talks (as have the people of Abyei and Southern Blue Nile). There should be no mistaking the passionate resolve of these people to live in dignity, to see their culture preserved, and to exercise the right of self-determination.
One reason that international optimism about Machakos has seemed excessive is that the difficulties of remaining issues, while recognized in general terms, have not been sufficiently appreciated in their particulars. Nowhere is this more the case than with the southern part of Blue Nile Province (Southern Blue Nile), as well as Abyei and the Nuba Mountains region of western and southern Kordofan Province. Though these areas have ended up in what was determined to be “northern Sudan” at the time of independence in 1956, this is little more than perverse historical accident, and fails utterly to take account of current political, ethnic, and cultural realities.
In the case of the Nuba Mountains, this history has been especially perverse. The people of the Nuba were not consulted during the process that led to Sudan’s independence from British and Egyptian condominium rule, and have never felt themselves represented by any of the governments that have come and gone since 1956. Though the Nuba people have made various political efforts to secure just representation, they have seen no success in these efforts. In the Addis Ababa agreement of 1972, the people of the Nuba were again without meaningful representation, and that deeply flawed peace agreement offered them nothing. War resumed all to predictably in 1983, in part because of Jafer Nimeiri’s imposition of the infamous “September shari’a laws” throughout Sudan, including the Nuba region (where Muslims and non-Muslims have historically coexisted peacefully). The people of the Nuba long ago decided to resist militarily the tyranny of Khartoum, joining cause with the SPLA in 1985. This resistance has only increased since the current regime—the National Islamic Front—came to power by military coup in June 1989.
The recent “All Nuba Conference” (December 2002) marked a consensus decision by the people of the Nuba to be represented by the SPLM/A at the Machakos peace talks. This sends a clear signal, and must not be ignored by those who understand the suffering that has defined so much of their recent history. Before the Nuba Mountains cease-fire was secured by the international community last year, the people of the region had been living under brutal humanitarian embargo for over a decade, denied all food and medical assistance, even by the UN’s Operation Lifeline Sudan. The most recent humanitarian assessment conducted before the cease-fire was negotiated revealed that Khartoum had brought many tens of thousands of people to the brink of starvation. This followed years of driving Nuba people from the fertile valleys to much more difficult and less productive mountainous areas.
Peace that excludes the voices of the people of the Nuba, and a recognition of their suffering at the hands of successive regimes in Khartoum, cannot be a just peace. It is thus difficult to imagine that the present Nuba Mountains cease-fire will survive in the wake of merely partial peace, one that leaves the essential geographical issues unresolved and ignores the voices of the Nuba. I recently had the privilege of hearing many of these voices during a lengthy discussion with regional leaders at Lwere, near Kauda. I was struck both by the passion and unanimity in what I heard—from Commander Ismail Khamis (acting governor of the SPLM/A-controlled region of the Nuba), Abais Ibrahim (Food Security Coordinator for the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation, and Development Organization [NRRDO]), Mariam Yuhana (regional chair of the Nuba Women’s Association), Simon Kalo (regional director of education), Sodi Ibrahim (SPLM/A secretary for Rashad County), Mosa Abdualbagi (regional director of health care), Tia Tutu Tutu (assistant coordinator for NRRDO food security program), and Alamin DaHalla (secretary in the regional political office).
Again and again I heard the same words: to be consigned to a forced integration with Khartoum’s Islamicism and Arabism was death—and that resistance would continue if the international community attempted to foist such a resolution upon them. “Khartoum does not consider us to be human beings,” was a steady refrain amidst the anger and bewilderment over what is felt to be an all too obviously intolerable state of affairs. No Nuba has forgotten the deliberate denial of humanitarian access by Khartoum for over a decade, or the steady denial of agricultural land—efforts that marked a destruction that has widely been described as genocidal.
“We have no way out,” I was told. There is neither a political nor a geographical exit for the people of the Nuba unless it is achieved at Machakos. For as all those present in our discussion recognized, Machakos is a singular opportunity—as singular for them as for other parts of Sudan. If they area abandoned, or made part of an expedient compromise with Khartoum, they will have no recourse, no choice in their minds but to fight on for their own right to self-determination. They can no more concede this right than can the people of South Sudan.
“The 1956 boundaries have become irrelevant,” Commander Ismail told me. The historical vagaries that left this distinctive region of southern Kordofan as part of “northern Sudan” have long since ceased to have any relevance, culturally or politically. The deep resentment of a viciously tyrannical Islamicism and Arabism was never far from the surface in our discussion. Notably, in a comment that suggested to me that there is finally no parochialism in the Nuba point of view, Commander Ismail (representing Abdul Aziz el-Hilu, Governor of the Nuba region) said, “people should not talk in terms of geography, but in terms of politics.” By this he meant that it is not geography per se that is, or should be, the issue at Machakos; rather, the essential issue is the political and cultural realities of the people who are geographically located within the Nuba Mountains regions.
“The problem at Machakos is not the problem of Southern Sudan,” or the problem of the Nuba or other marginalized areas—”the problem is Sudan,” he continued. By which Commander Ismail meant that the essential problem is the National Islamic Front regime, which rules Sudan without support from any region of Sudan outside Khartoum. And of course there is resistance to the NIF’s tyranny even in Khartoum, though it continues to be harshly repressed.
The case of the people of the Nuba Mountains may be special in a sense, but it all too aptly crystallizes the essential challenge of Machakos. Either Khartoum is confronted forcefully, consistently, and with the sharpest moral focus, or the regime will delay, obfuscate, promise and renege, and delay further—continuing negotiations only in bad faith, calculating merely what best serves their survivalist desires. And if military victory should seem within reach—if resistance in the Nuba Mountains, Southern Sudan and other marginalized areas comes to be regarded as militarily vulnerable—then Machakos may overnight become irrelevant. The massive redeployments of offensive military power that have marked Khartoum’s activities since the cease-fire was agreed to on October 15, 2002 are a clear sign of this possibility.
But whatever the chances that remain for Machakos, what is represented by the people of the Nuba Mountains cannot be forgotten. To lose sight of their suffering will be an ominous portent of a much greater moral blindness.
[Too little has change in the past eight years---June 9, 2011]
Not a good couple of weeks for Madonna: After a scandal late last month involving her Raising Malawi charity, another one of the Material Girl’s nonprofits is under fire. The FBI is looking into “irregularities and suspicious activity” involving Success for Kids, an educational charity, the Daily reports. The organization has raised $33 million in contributions since 2001, and claims to have helped 60,000 kids in seven countries. Raising Malawi split from Success for Kids in 2008.
Meanwhile, the Daily Beast takes a closer look at the Raising Malawi scandal after reports came out that Madonna’s plans to build a school in Malawi had been scrapped after millions were squandered. Turns out Madonna’s partner in the foundation, the Kabbalah Centre International, is now also a focus of federal investigators. The Beast looks at some of its questionable practices. Among them: Its founders, despite claiming to have taken “a vow of poverty,” live large in Beverly Hills mansions owned by the center. Of the $3.8 million spent—and lost—on the Malawi academy, only $850,000 was paid out in Malawi—the rest was spent by the center’s LA office.
New book by John Prendergast & Michael Mattocks
This is a picture of me — when I was 20 years old — with a family I met when I was visiting a homeless shelter. Michael, the boy on the far left, became my “little brother,” and I’ve been his big brother for the last 27 years. Michael and I wrote a book in dual narrative about our lives together and apart, called Unlikely Brothers, and it comes out today via Random House.
In the book I write a lot about why I first took notice of what was happening in Africa. I describe my first few trips to the continent, and how I ended up in war zones as a human rights activist. I touch on the close calls I’ve had, as well as some of the amazing African success stories that I’ve been able to witness. And I cover the birth of the Enough Project and what we’re trying to do here to build a permanent constituency to battle human rights crimes like genocide, rape as a war weapon, and child soldier recruitment.
Through my long relationship with Michael, which endured my living and working in African war zones while Michael was growing up in a different kind of war zone only minutes away from the White House, I learned anyone can make a difference in another’s life if we take a risk and make a commitment. Through the book, we’ll be helping Big Brothers Big Sisters recruit new “bigs” as well as mentors and tutors and others willing to take that step.
Through my years of working on war and peace in Africa, I have learned that there are solutions to some of the greatest human rights challenges, and we all can be a part of those solutions. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Angola wouldn’t be peaceful today if we didn’t raise our voices about blood diamonds. Apartheid would still be the law of the land if we didn’t join forces with South Africans to support peaceful change there. Unlikely Brothers talks about the importance of citizen action, and shows why and how we can make a difference.
I wrote my share of this book to chronicle my life, warts and all, in the hopes that I might be able to inspire others to get involved and act both locally and globally. As you’ll find out if you read the book, if I can make a contribution, trust me, ANYONE can.
I look back at my father’s rage when I was too young to understand it, our constant relocation throughout my childhood, Michael’s living out of Hefty bags in the shelters when he was a kid, the near misses we both endured, and the extraordinary paths to redemption we both traveled, and I realize the only way we had a chance to experience all the things we did and have any success is that we dove in head first and tried our best. Michael and I put our hearts and souls into Unlikely Brothers. We hope you’ll read our book, and that it inspires you to make a commitment locally to being a mentor and/or globally to helping to end Africa’s deadliest wars.
On the Unlikely Brothers Facebook page, people are posting their own stories of mentorship. Visit our Facebook page to read inspiring stories and to post your own.
John Prendergast is a human rights activist and co-founder of the Enough Project.
Follow John Prendergast on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EnoughProject
San Diego Reader
By Chad Deal | Published Wednesday, May 18, 2011
When Dep Tuany arrived on a drilling rig in the impoverished Sudanese village of Boriak, hostility lingered thick in the air. The village held roughly 1200 refugees living in grass and wood huts. They had recently returned from camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. A local chief had just been killed by one of the larger tribes in the region, and his people were rallying to execute the offending tribe’s chief in retaliation. Though he hadn’t been in Sudan for 17 years, Tuany recognized the chief who was scheduled to be slaughtered. He used to wage war on Tuany’s village in neighboring Maiwut County. He was responsible for the death of Tuany’s friends and family.
“The community leaders said, go to the village where the chief was killed,” says Tuany, one of the first southern Sudanese refugees to come to San Diego in 1991. “They have nothing. Now they are filled with anger. They want to kill people. The well may be good enough reason for them not to retaliate.”
In a village where the people walk over eight hours to retrieve unclean water daily, a freshwater well is a godsend. Tuany went the next day and, two days later, hit water. He called the tribes together at the site of the borehole and said, “Look at it. Now I am coming from a faraway distance. Before I get to my village, and knowing that you also killed my people, you guys have the first well.”
The people of Boriak were filled with guilt and said, “We are not going to do anything. If we were fighting, for sure we could not get this drinking water.”
Pleased with their decision, Tuany told them they would be used as an example so other tribes would stop fighting. The village, just days earlier on the brink of war, exploded instead with celebration. People came from all around and danced, slaughtered goats, and showered Tuany and his team with beer, wine, and chickens.
“It was one of the most beautiful wells I can remember,” Tuany recalls. “Look at the beauty of having clean water bring forgiveness between the community themselves. Is it good to retaliate? Or is it good to forgive?”
When Tuany and his team left, the villagers asked when he would return. The well was capable of providing 200 gallons a day, but unfortunately, it was not nearly enough. When Tuany later returned, the population of the village had grown to about 2000.
The celebration at the next site was similar. Upon striking water, Tuany and his team were given a lamb by the village chief, which they planned to slaughter in the morning. While it was staked in place overnight, the lamb was eaten by a hyena. In the morning, the overjoyed chief gifted them another lamb, in addition to firearms, to defend themselves against animals and vandals. Their third stop was Maiwut County, where Tuany’s mother lived. He hadn’t seen her in 21 years. After drilling 80 meters into the earth, the crew hit water. Tuany’s mother was the first to drink from the well.
Tuany first returned to Sudan in December 2008 and spent several months driving Water for Sudan’s (A Rochester, New York–based nonprofit organization) $290,000 drilling rig from Mombasa, Kenya, to southern Sudan. He purchased supplies in Uganda along the way. Tuany reached Sudan in April 2009 and was able to drill two wells (only one of which struck water, in Malek) before being forced to stop by May rains. The wet season was in full swing, and many roads became impassable. He stored the equipment for his next trip, which came in February 2010. Water for Sudan’s rig was being used in another area, so Tuany hired a Russian contractor to drill the wells in Boriak, his hometown, and surrounding areas. Each borehole cost $15,000 and there was no guarantee of hitting water. Of the 15 planned boreholes, Tuany and the contractor were able to drill seven. Only three struck water. Over 260 southern Sudanese villages still lack access to clean water.
“Sometimes, when I see the time coming for me to return from Sudan, I don’t want it, because I need to give more,” Tuany says. “But there is no way I can give more because this is it. I don’t have enough. I have to leave.”
Tuany, 47, wears a black suit and speaks softly as he shows me around the Southern Sudanese Community Center in City Heights. The center was founded in 1995 to assist refugees of the second Sudanese civil war with the transition to life in San Diego. English, Arabic, computing, and domestic lessons are among the free curriculum offered to the community, which peaked at about 5000 people in 1998 and now counts between 1000 and 2000 people, Tuany estimates. Over 30,000 South Sudanese have sought refuge in the United States since the war broke out in 1983.
The center moved into its current City Heights location on Polk and Fairmount, a former public library, in December 2006, after 11 years at nearby Presbyterian, Latter Day Saints, and Seventh-day Adventist churches. The words “Kuben ke mal” are written over the reception desk — “Welcome in peace” in the language of Tuany’s Nuer tribe. A lion painted on the wall proudly guards the entrance.
“The lion welcomes you,” Tuany says, smiling. The computer lab walls are adorned with murals, photos of livestock and villagers in southern Sudan, and art projects from Sudanese children. A poster reads, “Women, your vote is your voice,” urging women to take part in the January referendum to grant southern Sudan independence from the north.
In the next room, a volunteer named Quincy acquaints herself with a sewing machine for the new weekend sewing classes. The center is run entirely by volunteers such as Quincy.
“If you have anything at all, you have to give back to the community,” the San Marcos woman says. “It feels good to give back.”
A portrait of Dr. John Garang de Mabior, the original leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, overlooks the room. A banner next to the Sudanese flag reads: “‘Would you like to be a second-class citizen in your own country? It’s absolutely your choice.’ — Dr. Garang.”
Tuany and the current executive director of the community center, Chuol Tut, organized a carpool of several personal and church vehicles for the January 9 referendum vote. The closest polling center was in Phoenix, Arizona, and saw 149 San Diegan southern Sudanese refugees choosing between symbols of two clasped hands for unity and one raised hand for secession. As only 15 percent of southern Sudan’s 8.7 million people can read, the icons were used in place of words at both U.S. and Sudanese polling centers.
On February 7, it was announced that southern Sudan would become an independent nation on July 9. The referendum passed with a 98.83 percent in-favor vote after a six-year cease-fire (the Comprehensive Peace Agreement), following over two decades of civil war that devolved into all-out genocide against the south. Sudan’s second civil war officially began in 1983 with the formation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, a rebel group that fought for a secular, democratic Sudan against the Arab Muslim capital of Khartoum. The conflict has left an estimated 4 million displaced, an estimated 200,000 in slavery, and 2 million dead — one of the highest civilian death tolls since World War II.
The first civil war began in 1955 after British colonists left Africa and, at the urging of northern Sudan, lumped two inherently incompatible cultures into one nation. The war lasted for 17 years and claimed the lives of half a million people, including Tuany’s father. Only one in five were armed combatants. Hundreds of thousands were displaced. The conflict ended with the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972, but the underlying religious and racial tensions were never addressed, much less resolved. The second civil war is seen largely as a continuation of the first, aggravated by disputes over the nation’s rich oil resources, which now account for about 70 percent of Sudan’s export profits.
George Bush Senior initiated a hunt for Sudanese oil in 1974, just two years after the Addis Ababa Agreement had decreed that the north and south would share the nation’s resources equally. Then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bush, after analyzing satellite maps, suspected that deposits sat beneath Sudanese soil. In 1978, Chevron found large oil fields in the south. By 1980, Khartoum was attempting to redraw its borders in order to annex oil-rich areas to the north. By 1982, Sudanese army soldiers and the government endorsed murahaleen, nomadic Arab horsemen, were massacring southern villages with machine guns and burning them to the ground.
“The legacy of war will still stay with us for some time to come,” said Salva Kiir Mayadrit, the president of southern Sudan and the current Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement leader, at a press conference in the southern capital of Juba in February; he was wearing his trademark black cowboy hat. “But let us not forget to build our own country after all these long years of war and instability. We must protect the new nation and never, at all cost, take it back to war.”
A decree read by the minister of presidency affairs, Bakri Hassan Salih, on behalf of northern Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 military coup and institutionalized Sharia law on a national level, reads: “We declare our acceptance of the southern Sudan people’s choice, and we pledge to work for resolving the outstanding issues and build constructive relations between north and south Sudan.” The International Criminal Court announced ten criminal charges against al-Bashir and issued a warrant for his arrest in 2008. A second arrest warrant in 2010 bears the added charge of genocide. Regardless, al-Bashir remains the president and leader of the National Congress Party in Khartoum.
Sudan is home to about 42 million people, including 597 tribes speaking over 400 dialects and split into two major ethnic groups — the primarily Muslim/Arabic north, and the African animist and Christian south. Roughly the size of France, southern Sudan is among the poorest regions in the world, with only 30 miles of paved road. Around 17 percent of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day. Although 85 percent of Sudanese oil (about 500,000 barrels a day) comes from southern Sudan, the oil and revenue have historically been piped to the north via more than 1350 miles of Chinese-built pipeline, leaving the south in squalor. China has provided arms to the north to protect their investment, fueling the bloody conflict. The 2005 Comprehensive People Agreement decreed a 50/50 split in southern oil profits, a figure that is liable to change pending negotiations after the referendum, which will focus largely on the oil-rich region of Abyei.
Tuany’s words are deliberate and his accent distinct as he talks about the problems facing the recently liberated people of southern Sudan. The horizontal creases across his forehead, which at first appear to be enduring furrows of concern, are actually traditional scars from the Nuer tribal coming-of-age ceremony. They were cut into his forehead with a knife at the age of 13.
“It is a beautiful, vast land with natural resources,” says Tuany, who lives in Spring Valley with his wife and seven children, “but it’s missing the best thing in the world, which is drinking water.”
Tuany, a mental-health aid at a hospital in Point Loma, has made two return trips to Sudan to drill wells for war-torn villages in the south. He plans to return in 2012 to drill several more. Like many in San Diego’s southern Sudanese community, his story is one of courage, perseverance, and obstacles overcome.
At 16 years of age, Tuany had been working as the assistant manager of an oil-production center in Khartoum for about a year when the violence preceding Sudan’s second civil war broke out. Much of Sudan’s Muslim community, which accounts for about 70 percent of the population, felt a renewed hostility against southern Sudanese African Christians and traditional animists after a series of raids conducted by the rebels, who would later be known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Tuany and his family fled for refuge in Ethiopia with a group of about 20 others in 1981. The two-month walk southeast to Ethiopia was ridden with hardships. The threat of lions and adversaries meant much of the travel was spent running and hiding in the brush.
“We were hungry most of the time,” Tuany recalls, “eating whatever we could find.”
Like many others over the course of the long walk, his one-year-old son, Wichieng, became sick with an intestinal illness caused by the unclean water salvaged from puddles. After three days of fighting the illness, the infant died. When the group finally arrived at the refugee camp in Itang, western Ethiopia, they numbered nearly 500. The camp offered little education and many died due to the unsanitary conditions. In seven years, Tuany reached a seventh-grade level of education.
“My dream was to educate myself in the city,” Tuany says. In 1988, he went to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, with his wife and children. He was educated to the ninth-grade level before being told to return to the refugee camp. The city did not have sufficient funds to support him.
“I saw there were no new things I could learn from the camp,” Tuany says. “When I lived there, it was a place where you just sit and don’t do anything. No education. No health care. There’s nowhere to go. My only blessing in that refugees’ camp was for me to know the word of God because the church became the educational institution where I could go in, read the word of God, and see the difference it can make.”
Tuany was told that, if he didn’t want to go back to the camps, he could go back to Sudan, where the civil war raged on. Returning meant joining the revolutionary soldiers to fight against northern Sudan.
“It didn’t reach my spirit so well,” Tuany says. “I did not want to go and kill and be killed.”
“Don’t do anything that will disturb our life,” Tuany’s pregnant wife advised. “Let’s go back to the refugee camp.”
They decided that she and the children would return to the camp, while he would make the dangerous passage to the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
“My four-year-old son was very close to me at all times,” Tuany recalls. “Every time I went out of the house, he came. And he wanted to know where I was going. I didn’t want to tell him. In the night, I tricked him. I told him I was going to go take my shoes out. But still he followed me. So I forced myself to run between the buildings, and he was crying so hard. I come back around the building to see if he was inside the house. And I go in the room until he calmed down a little bit. And that strong emotion he has from the crying forces him to go to sleep at around seven at night. And I said, ‘Now is the time for me to go run.’”
Suspecting that neither the Ethiopian nor Kenyan border guards would allow them to pass, Tuany and his childhood friend William Tut went. They arrived via bus at midnight at the Ethiopian city of Moyale near the Kenyan border. “I told my good friend, let’s be open. Let’s tell the truth. If somebody didn’t like it, we are not Ethiopian, we are Sudanese. We are going to Kenya.”
When they were approached, Tuany did most of the talking because his English was better. “I said, ‘We are going to Kenya because we are refugees, we have no place in Ethiopia, we have done no crime. Will you let us go?’ They said, ‘Okay. You go.’”
After sleeping briefly between a police station and a garbage truck, they attempted to cross the border but were detained by Ethiopian guards. They were put in jail for two weeks without any food besides red tea. They became weak and could not walk. Finally, the guards allowed them to exchange their clothing for food. One night, the window of the jail was left open. “Why don’t we jump out the window and run?” Tut proposed. Tuany refused.
“If we jump out the window, the police outside will shoot, and we will lose one of us, even if some others make it over the fence.” In the light of the morning, they saw that the window dropped into a moat of sewage and insects. That day, a guard told them they would be going on a truck to Addis Ababa.
When they were taken to leave, they decided to confuse the guards by running through the buildings and into the bush. They lost their captors and traveled through the jungle to the top of a mountain. Looking down at the wall between Ethiopia and Kenya, they planned their route. “We were just brave enough not to be scared of a trap. The area is full of snakes and animals. I could not believe we made it out of that place.”
Tuany and Tut emerged on the Kenyan side late at night. They slept, and in the morning were awoken by the Kenyan police and again put in jail. They were interrogated for a week about why they had come. Tuany and Tut feared being sent back to Ethiopia, as they believed they would be tortured for escaping from jail. They were ultimately allowed to stay due to UN laws requiring Kenya to harbor refugees. They were transported from the border to Nairobi, where they reported to the UN office. They were put in a refugee camp and wrote their families letters telling them they had arrived.
Although others at the refugee camp told them they would be arrested for approaching the American Embassy without permission from Kenyan immigration, Tuany and Tut went to the Embassy in Nairobi to request passage to America.
“We worried that when the Kenyan immigrations knew that we went to the American Embassy, they could do two things. One, they would not do anything and leave us alone. Two, they would send us to Sudan. Deported. I said, I am okay with either one of them. If I was not able to go to America, I would not have blamed anybody. I would go back and fight the revolution.”
However, their ambition paid off at the Embassy. “Someone stuck their head out the window and said, ‘What do you want?’ I said I wanted to go to America. And they said, ‘Oh, okay, go to the next window.’ So simply.”
The friends spent several hours filling out forms and, two weeks later, were called back. Fellow refugees were incredulous. Tuany and Tut were given UN identification cards. They became certain that they would be sent to America, though they didn’t know where it was.
“We were told we were going to San Diego, a place, where? We had no idea. The day when I left the country it was so tragic. To see a lot of people with mass movement into nowhere, in the field or jungle, walking long distance, no car, and you see so much destruction and disease and sickness, and no building and no school and anguish, and there’s no feeling like it — when you are running from something and you don’t know where you are going.”
Arriving at Lindbergh Field in January 1991, Tuany and Tut were the first southern Sudanese refugees to call San Diego home.
Adapting to life in San Diego was a process for Tuany. Daily tasks like shopping at the grocery store and riding the city bus were foreign. Catholic Charities, a local community-service ministry, gave him an apartment in City Heights. He got a job working at the Goodwill downtown and sent the majority of his earnings to his family in the Kenyan refugee camp. At one point, Tuany’s telephone, gas, and electric were cut off because he had no money left to pay bills. The utilities stayed off for several weeks. After a year, he bought a cheap car, which, having no license or training, he crashed after driving two blocks. He ultimately taught himself how to drive a stick shift in the zoo parking lot.
“Nobody showed me the way to the American Embassy. Nobody showed me how to drive a car. I learned on my own. Nobody ever said, ‘Just sit down like this.’ I used my own imagination.”
Tuany worked picking up furniture in a Goodwill truck for $4 an hour. He sent most of the money he made to his family, who followed to San Diego two years later. He put his children in school and enrolled in City College, working during the day and attending classes at night.
“I realized two barriers: being black and being uneducated. I told my children, ‘If you are not educated, you will find it difficult to live here. You better be educated, and then live with anybody, walk with anybody.’”
In 1995, in order to assist the growing refugee community, Tuany established the Southern Sudanese Community Center. He recruited volunteers from local universities to bring refugees’ education up to par with their peers. After speaking with Tuany, the Chancellor of UCSD offered a four-year scholarship to any Sudanese refugee who completed high school.
“We started simply to have a place to coordinate our problem. The number-one problem that we identified was the language barrier. Here we are living in a community where we are told to go to work. And when we go looking for work, you cannot pass the interview because you cannot speak, even though you can know how to do the work. It’s difficult.”
Adjusting to American culture was difficult for many families. In the typical Sudanese household, the man works and the woman stays home. Breaking from these roles resulted in hurt egos, depression, and domestic violence. Many were deported for abuse. In response, Tuany brought in pastors and counselors and organized his life as an example to the community.
“I started with myself. I said, if I have anything in my house, my wife will be a part of it. If I buy a car, I will put two names on it, so she can have access to it to drive or own it. It became a simple solution.”
Tuany received his associate’s degree in 1997 and took a job at Social Services, making $12 an hour. “That’s when I felt, yes, I am working in America,” Tuany recalls. Finding employment for fellow refugees so they could afford an extended education was his first priority. When someone in the community had a job interview, Tuany would drive them. He worked with the Alliance for African Assistance to find refugees employment on production lines, newspaper-delivery routes, housekeeping at hotels, and in casinos.
The community peaked in 1998 at an estimated 5000 refugees. Then, due to employment shortages and increased housing costs, many in the community relocated to Minnesota, Tennessee, Georgia, Nebraska, Iowa, Alaska, and Washington, where rent was more affordable and work was readily available in meat factories, assembly lines, and casinos.
With the second generation of Sudanese-Americans, a new problem developed — competition between American-born and African-born children, which often led to violence.
“The American children are so different,” Tuany says. “They never saw the lifestyle of living in the camps or being in Africa.” Despite domestic problems, Tuany proudly reports that there has never been a Sudanese gang in San Diego. In one instance, a few kids were arrested for theft. Tuany helped them with their legal paperwork and had a talk with the children and their parents about what it means to be an American.
“I said, if you do it right, you will be the best kid in the USA. If you do it wrong, you will hate Americans forever, because a crime is not going to get away from you. And they understood.”
The children ultimately paid for their crime with community service.
In 2004, the Community Center qualified for additional funding through No Child Left Behind. As a condition, the center was required to open its doors to everyone, not just southern Sudanese refugees. Happy to comply, the center has since harbored students from most every community in San Diego. The center moved to its current location on Fairmount and Polk in 2006. The building, a nondescript Parks and Recreation facility, underwent a $70,000 renovation thanks to the La Jolla–based Price Charities. The Jacobs Family Foundation gave money to hire teachers and help struggling families pay rent.
“It became beautiful,” Tuany says. “I got a lot of support from all San Diego County.”
He invited City Councilwoman Toni Atkins and Congressional Representatives Bob Filner and Susan Davis to visit the refurbished building. “We let them know that we are part of the American community over here. We said, ‘Whatever you do for this community will affect us, so you better come see who we are — the numbers we have are huge — and whoever we like to vote for will have our vote.’” Davis pledged to help the Sudanese community and, in 2010, earmarked $95,000 for the center from the Labor-HHS-Education bill.
“The number-one drive is to educate the children,” Tuany says, “children who are likely to end up on the street, and then commit a crime, and fill up the jail. Now there is the place to take them out of the street, into this beautiful location where they can sit down and do educational activities. They have computer, they have reading book, they have tutor one-on-one. Their mindset is completely locked on educational activities. They have no other way to go out, you know. City Heights is a bad neighborhood. It became beautiful for all of us.”
Fulfilling his dream, Tuany’s own children ultimately surpassed his level of education. His oldest son studied economics at San Diego State University and now works at a car dealership. Another son studied mechanical engineering at the University of Buffalo and is currently pursuing his master’s. Another studies psychology at SDSU.
Following the January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which put an end to Sudan’s civil war, pending the January 2011 referendum, many in the southern Sudanese community decided to return home.
“It had taken me 15 years in the U.S., never going home, and I think, ‘What agenda can lead me to go home?’ I like to go, but I don’t want to go and just visit and come back without doing anything.”
Undoubtedly influenced by the loss of one-year-old Wichieng, Tuany identified water as the first problem that would need to be solved. He began speaking at universities, Rotary clubs, anywhere he could.
“I do not want to be quiet. Everyone I met I would tell. If you know that somebody needs help and you are not speaking about it, who is to blame?” Tuany asks. “On certain occasions, I would go to a meeting and say, ‘How many of you know that southern Sudan has been at war for 21 years?’ Maybe about two or three people know out of 50. Then I ask, ‘How many people know of the Darfur crisis?’ And everybody would raise their hand. Two million people were killed and four million displaced in southern Sudan. And now, with four years in Darfur, everybody heard about it. Where did that missing information go? I said, ‘Look at me. I’ve been in a camp for 12 years, and you have no media to tell that we are dying here?’ It made me feel like, ‘Oh, man, nobody knows about this war.’”
Tuany connected with Water for Sudan, which to date has drilled 76 wells in southern Sudanese villages. In 2008, thanks to sponsorship from members of the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club, Tuany returned to Sudan for the first time in 17 years.
His strategy for placing wells goes as follows: upon arriving in an area, he asks to meet with the tribal leaders and they discuss the best locations for wells. When all the leaders reach an accord, he drills. If the borehole is a success, a concrete platform is poured around the hole and an animal fence is put up. A placard bearing the name of a sponsor is placed on the well. The community appoints caretakers to maintain and repair the well. Tuany encourages the community to build a schoolhouse next to the well. In short order, people come from great distances to live near the wells. They build houses. Markets, restaurants, churches, and businesses form a town center around the wells.
“People have a community again,” Tuany says.
Right now, Tuany’s surplus well piping sits at the storage yard in the southern city of Malakal, awaiting his 2012 return. He anticipates help from the government with security and community development but not money. He says they are focused on establishing their political system and law enforcement. They may begin building the new nation’s infrastructure around 2012 but will still rely heavily on people like Tuany, who have the necessary skills and initiative to bring the country up to speed. Thomas Nyang, a refugee living in Escondido, has built schools for over 450 children with the help of the Encinitas Coastal Rotary Club and donations given to New Solutions Community Resource Center. He plans to return to Sudan this summer.
“Now is the time that every Sudanese dream becomes a reality,” Tuany says. “What they have been fighting for has been achieved. It is in the mind of every Sudanese to go back for real development. The country cannot finance itself alone. So, for me, I want to be a part of that development in the communities that are returning from the refugee camps.”
In order to actualize this dream, Tuany founded the nonprofit Nu-Water International, based out of a Carmel Valley office space donated by the Md7 cell-tower company. The name is a nod to his people, the Nuer. Tuany’s goal is to raise $150,000 to drill ten wells when he returns in 2012. He has split peacefully from Water for Sudan, which is focusing its resources in the southwest of southern Sudan, in order to target the northeast of southern Sudan. Nu-Water International depends entirely on donors to fulfill its mission.
In addition to drilling, he is looking into using reverse-osmosis membranes manufactured by Toray Membrane in Poway to provide purified water from the Nile for as many as three villages. The membranes are capable of turning seawater potable and have been used around the world at resorts, in industry, for flood relief, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.
“The Nile water is sweet, better than here even,” Tuany says, “but it is full of bacteria.”
Bacteria are not the only danger lurking in Sudan’s water. The Guinea worm disease is contracted by swallowing fleas that live in water. The flea carries parasitic larvae, which reproduce inside the human body after about 100 days. The infection goes unnoticed for about a year as the growing worms migrate throughout the body. A person only becomes aware of the infection after the worms bore their way out through the skin, usually on the tops of the feet.
Tuany also wants to return agriculture to the fertile south by teaching the people to make use of irrigation for cotton, peanuts, rice, sorghum, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sugarcane, tapioca, mangos, papaya, bananas, sweet potatoes, and sesame. He envisions finding foreign agriculture companies to invest in the country and employ Sudanese workers to farm the land. Sudan is rich in natural resources, including gold, iron, ore, copper, zinc, tungsten, manganese, salt, and mica — most of which remain untapped due to the region’s history of social upheaval.
Government officials in southern Sudan have unveiled a $10-billion plan to rebuild major cities in the shapes of fruits and animals, in order to attract investors. Blueprints for the southern capital, Juba, appear from an aerial view as the shape of a rhinoceros. Others proposed outlines include a giraffe and a pineapple. Despite these lofty aims, Tuany’s work is far from done.
“I want to do the best I can,” Tuany says. “I don’t want to say I went for two years in a row and now that mission for me is done. No. I want to continue until those who are still suffering have access to clean drinking water.”
What’s next for southern Sudan, which will be known as South Sudan, Africa’s newest and 54th country, after the July 9 Independence Day?
“It will be a democratic country,” Tuany says resolutely. “It will be a place where people practice their religion freely. It will be a developed country.”
Not a good couple of weeks for Madonna: After a scandal late last month involving her Raising Malawi charity, another one of the Material Girl’s nonprofits is under fire. The FBI is looking into “irregularities and suspicious activity” involving Success for Kids, an educational charity, the Daily reports. The organization has raised $33 million in contributions since 2001, and claims to have helped 60,000 kids in seven countries. Raising Malawi split from Success for Kids in 2008.
There are so many reasons that you should ONLY DONATE to small non profits… #1 accountability is much more clear
For designers4africa our mission is to raise funds for each project… say we want to build a well… Wells cost aprx $5,000 in Uganda & Sudan so I will raise funds for that & complete that project with all financial records posted here on the web site donors can choose to donate & have their name or company listed or be listed as anonymous but all donations are accounted for! After that project is funded & completed we will then raise funds for the next project. So its not like sending in money to one big pot of funds never knowing exactly where your money is going.
If you are wondering where the current records are well I have funded everything personally & only started fund raising thru two online sites which account for every penny donated thus far.
http://www.gofundme.com/trip-to-ugandasudan $220 as of 4/5/2011
http://www.crowdrise.com/designers4africa $148 as of 4/5/2011
designers4africa registered 501c3 non profit
BASED: San Diego, CA, United States
i was told that being approved in 6 months was a miracle.. but at this point i believe that when i find my first corporate sponsor and celeb to get exposure for d4a thats the miracle i need.
i was told by some very big designer and her friend an A list celeb they would donate… so i took the leap and charged the legal fees to get d4a its 501c3… i felt i owed this to my friends in uganda as if i charged this last bit i was told i would get support… well things change and they flaked possibly just moved onto the charity of the month… d4a is small but that means anyone that contributes can have as big or little a rold in d4a… in addition big orgs are continually in the media for everything from fraud to just not spending funds well… theres a huge one here in sd and they get millions but still will not fund health clinics or wells? if you want to focus on education great but its not easy to get that education if your risk for death by 5 yrs old is high… anyhow i could go on but i just wanted to share the trials of starting a non profit
In Sudan: Documents released today by the SPLM are clearly authentic
March 15, 2011
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) this past week formally suspended talks with the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime in Khartoum. This creates a highly dangerous situation, and would not have occurred without extreme provocation. And in fact, the suspension was precipitated by ongoing regime-sponsored violence in the South, particularly Jonglei and Upper Nile States. The apparent tipping point was very recent violence on the part of renegade militia leader George Athor, who is responsible for a series of extremely brutal attacks in Jonglei, and an assault this past Saturday (March 12) on Malakal, capital of Upper Nile, by another renegade leader, Commander Olony. Further, the highly reliable Small Arms Survey (March 13) confirms SPLM claims that the guerilla leader Gabriel Tang Gatwich, known as Gabriel Tanginya (“Tang”), has moved from Northern Sudan to Jonglei, in the same general area of operations as Athor (http://goo.gl/vtPrR ). The brutal Tang, who has been a Major General in the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), was twice sent to Malakal by Khartoum as a deliberate provocation (2006 and 2009), resulting in large-scale clashes and much loss of life (see Human Rights Watch report at http://goo.gl/HRg85 ).
If there is a larger Southern hand behind these actions, especially those of the Shilluk Commander Olony, it is Lam Akol—a long-time paid supporter of Khartoum, and a fully discredited Southern politician, who continues to trade brazenly on his Shilluk tribal identity. One of the documents released today confirms the delivery of weapons and ammunition to “friendly forces” in the South, and specifically notes Athor and Akol. (For a detailed account of Akol’s role in the recent attack on Malakal, see Sudan Tribune, March 15, 2011.)
This documentary evidence—originating from within Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) —clearly reveals the regime’s continuing military support for such warlords and destructive political elements during the Interim Period following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005). The documents (in Arabic) were widely circulated today and may be readily obtained; all available evidence dictates that they must be regarded as authentic. Preeminent within this body of evidence is the extraordinary record of lies and dishonored agreements that define the regime’s relations with all Sudanese parties and with the international community. It is a record that now extends over more than twenty years.
During this time the South has been continually victimized by the regime’s use of proxy military forces. For despite Khartoum’s regular denials, the evidence of such actions in aggregate is overwhelming—despite the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and despite Khartoum’s professing that it has accepted the virtually unanimous Southern vote for secession and independence (February 2011). A number of examples of demonstrable mendacity are offered below; the list could be extended almost indefinitely. The SPLM leadership is now persuaded that the regime will not negotiate in good faith if it is both lying about its continuing support for renegade elements like Athor, as well as lying about its commitment to the Abyei Protocol and the ruling on Abyei by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (July 2009).
The world has too often responded to situations such as the present one with what amounts to a disingenuous agnosticism or moral equivalence—giving equal weight to the statements by Khartoum and by the SPLM, even when the past argues strongly against crediting any statement made by the regime in a matter of dispute. This habitual agnosticism has encouraged the long history of fully demonstrable mendacity by the regime, and leaves these brutal men to believe that they may dismiss the current SPLM documentary evidence as mere “forgeries.”
But such a claim makes no sense either on its own terms, or in the present negotiating context, or within the broader history of lies in which this dismissal takes its place. Logic alone should settle the matter: why would the SPLM negotiate with Khartoum by releasing forged documents, which both they and the regime would know to be forged? Such an act would make Khartoum less rather than more disposed to negotiate the outstanding North/South issues that matter most to the SPLM, and over which the leadership has shown deeply impressive restraint to date: border demarcation and delineation, external debt, citizenship for Southerners in the North, oil revenue-sharing, and above all, Abyei.
These are vital interests for the people of the South and the SPLM; they simply would not risk the consequences of attempting to use forged documents as a negotiating ploy with highly doubtful prospects for any sort of success. Nor would they risk being discovered as authors of forgeries: this would squander a reputation for honesty that, if not perfect, puts them in a position of enormous strength vis-à-vis the regime. A good example here is the commitment by the SPLM to abide by the “final and binding” ruling on Abyei by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (July 2009). Khartoum of course made the same commitment but is clearly violating the terms of that ruling, as well as those of the Abyei Protocol—pushing for yet more territory in northern Abyei. Their strategy has been to mobilize the Misseriya Arabs on the basis of lies about the future of their grazing rights in the region—rights consistently recognized and guaranteed by the SPLM. Even more dangerously, the regime is now poised to seize Abyei militarily as a basis for “re-negotiating” the region’s final status (http://dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=396 ).
Another example is Khartoum’s denial of a bombing attack this past December on Southern military and civilian targets—an attack that was subsequently confirmed by UN observers and an Associated Press journalist (an earlier bombing was acknowledged only as a “mistake,” a highly dubious claim). An extraordinarily consequential action—aerial attack on civilian and military targets in the South during the run-up to the self-determination referendum—was denied, even as the denial was a demonstrable lie (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40661734/ns/world_news-africa/ ).
The contents of the documents as reported today comport all too well with what we know of Khartoum’s history: they are internal memoranda confirming the regime’s longstanding efforts to de-stabilize the South by proxy forces. A couple of examples are particularly telling:
 “One document dated August 2009 and signed by Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein said that because of leakage of the north’s alleged involvement with the militias, ‘the armament operations to be stopped for the time being, for the armament to resume later through intelligence.’ In response to that message, the head of the military intelligence sent a document to a military leader in Kosti asking for weapons and ammunition to be handed to friendly forces ‘in a secretive and obscure manner’ in Heglig in Southern Kordofan state and Daeen in South Darfur state.” (Bloomberg, March 15, 2011)
 “Athor first took up arms against the government after he lost a state election in April. These documents allegedly show the Sudanese government started arming Athor in May 2010, a month after he lost the state election. ‘Regarding Athor’s agent, the aforementioned was handed the second shipment of weapons and ammunition,’ reads another document dated May 2010, from the military in Kosti, the capital of White Nile, a northern state bordering the south.” (Bloomberg, March 15, 2011)
 “One of the documents appears to be a letter dated May 18, 2010, and signed by a military commander in the northern city of Kosti that reports that a delivery of weapons and ammunition had just been given to an Athor agent. Another, dated Sept. 22, 2010, is from the head of northern military intelligence requesting permission to arm Lam Akol, a senior opposition figure, and other ‘friendly forces.’ A corresponding reply the next day grants the request.” (McClatchy News [dateline: Khartoum], March 15, 2011)
 “The SPLM also claim that a letter dated November 14, 2009, shows that the NCP leadership instructed all telecommunication companies operating in the north to intercept all phone calls of some key SPLM figures. Their phones numbers were listed in the confidential letter. Another document, dated August 27, 2009 from the north’s defense ministry called for the establishment of a ‘security committee’ to oversee the NCP’s alleged plan to destabilize South Kordofan and Blue Nile, which are in north Sudan but are home to groups which fought with the SPLM during the civil war that ended in 2005.” (Sudan Tribune, March 15, 2011)
Evidence confirming the import of these documents comes from other sources as well. For example, last August the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) captured in Upper Nile State a Khartoum-bound helicopter containing a number of Athor’s men, including his third in command. The Sudan Tribune reported (August 10, 2010):
“South Sudan said it has impounded a Khartoum-destined cargo helicopter carrying men loyal to George Athor, the man behind a rebellion against the government of the semi-autonomous region. The ruling party in southern Sudan, SPLM, accused ‘quarters in northern Sudan of supporting the renegade general in order to destabilize the south.’”
The dispatch continues:
“Intelligence sources in Jonglei state, speaking on condition of anonymity to Sudan Tribune, said that ‘the former commissioner of Pigi county, James Yhor, and other senior Athor’s military men were the ones found in the helicopter.’ The sources further added that the detained rebels were wounded and heading for hospital in northern Sudan to receive medical treatment.”
Predictably, though the incident was also confirmed by U.S. government intelligence, Khartoum simply dismissed the incident (“false accusations”) in much the same way it dismissed the documents released today.
There is also earlier evidence of Khartoum’s moving weapons and ammunition to the South. For example, The Telegraph (UK) reported from Malakal (August 15, 2009):
“The claim of a ‘hidden [Northern] hand’ behind at least some of the killing is supported by independent evidence. A ship recently arrived in Malakal having travelled up the Nile from Khartoum. A 30-year-old man, who saw the vessel being searched, told the Sunday Telegraph that it contained Kalashnikov assault rifles and ammunition, hidden beneath a cargo of food. Another 20-year-old man said the national army had tried to recruit him for a monthly salary of £200. Those who sought to entice him said they had been ordered to sign up 400 southerners in Malakal alone.” (The Telegraph [dateline: Malakal], August 15, 2009)
The Khartoum regime for years denied that it supported the maniacal and brutally destructive Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Joseph Kony. But as the International Crisis Group reported in a January 11, 2006 briefing paper: “Khartoum now admits that the LRA was given sanctuary and logistical support as part of a destabilization strategy and scorched earth campaign against Sudanese civilians” (http://goo.gl/lNeao ).
There is very strong circumstantial evidence that Khartoum continues to assist the LRA.
If the international community will simply look honestly at the evidence in hand and at the record of pronouncements by the SPLM and the NIF/NCP regime, assessing the authenticity of the documents released today is hardly a strenuous exercise. The documents are clearly authentic; Khartoum’s claim that they are mere forgeries is yet another expedient lie in an extremely long line. Insofar as the international community—including the African Union, the UN, the EU, and the United States—wishes to aid in negotiations in bringing the present dangerously tense situation to resolution, it must accept that there are not two truths being told today—only one. To accept Khartoum’s lies as in any way plausible is the surest way to encourage the regime to believe it can continue without consequence its mendacity and its concerted and conspicuously well-funded efforts to de-stabilize the South.
Agnosticism about the source of these documents—given their enormous implications—is simply not a reasonable diplomatic posture. If adopted, it will make renewed war more likely, not less.
 A highly authoritative source familiar with the documents has indicated to me that the SAF officers who leaked this information to the Southern leadership were discovered and subsequently executed by Khartoum. This would account for the precipitous end to the documentation the SPLM has provided. (email received March 15, 2011)