Gang-Rape Capital of the World


My administration will continue to speak and act for as long as the persecution and atrocities in the Sudan last. —George W. Bush, speaking before the American Jewish Committee, May 3

You couldn’t have learned this from american newspapers, television, or radio—so far as i know. On november 24, the national islamic front’s sudanese air force killed two women and one boy in a bombardment of two villages in the south of sudan. High-altitude antonov aircraft dropped eight bombs on each of these villages where black christians and animists live.

The source of this news is Victor Akok, civil commissioner of Aweil East Country, where those villages are. Other civil authorities told Christian Solidarity International—which liberates slaves taken by militias from the north—that on November 11, “Sudanese government mujahideen troops enslaved 20 children and 10 women, and killed five people during an attack on a cattle camp, near Malek Alel.”

In its continuing dispatches on what President Bush accurately calls the “atrocities” in Sudan, Christian Solidarity International also reports that “interviews with recently freed slaves conducted by CSI’s Slavery Research Unit reveal that approximately 75 percent had been gang-raped. Over 90 percent had been otherwise physically abused while in bondage. Over 80 percent reported that they had witnessed the execution of at least one slave by their captors or their domestic masters.” This too is the face of terror.

George W. Bush should take note, as CSI emphasizes, that “both slavery and sexual violence against women in the context of war are recognized as crimes against humanity in international law.” There has been a civil war in Sudan since 1983, during which the Khartoum government in the north has added ethnic cleansing to slavery and gang rapes of the blacks in the south as it rips them away from their families.

But soon after the terrorist attacks on September 11, the president and the secretary of state, Colin Powell, welcomed the Khartoum government into the coalition against international terrorism. Bush sent former senator John Danforth as his special envoy to Sudan, but Danforth, after presenting a set of proposals to end the civil war, has said that if the two sides don’t reach agreement in a few weeks, the United States will walk away from the rampant slavery and genocide. “If they don’t want peace,” says Danforth, “they will tell us by inaction.”

American abolitionists, however, are far from giving up. Washington-based, nationally syndicated radio host Joe Madison, a former board member of the NAACP, is planning the kinds of large-scale, nonviolent demonstrations here that finally led to formidable American actions against the apartheid government of South Africa.

On November 19, a coalition of more than 100 American civil rights and religious leaders sent a tough letter to George W. Bush, who has told us about his God-driven compassion and reliance on Jesus to tell him what to do in difficult situations.

The coalition of Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish clergy—along with Kweisi Mfume, president of the NAACP, and Charles Jacobs, president of the American Anti-Slavery Group—landed hard on Bush for blocking the Sudan Peace Act, passed by the House 422 to 2 on June 13, which prohibited foreign oil companies in partnership with the Khartoum government from selling stock and other securities in the United States.

In the letter, the coalition confronted Bush with the fact that on October 9, the Sudan government “bombed the UN’s World Food Programme, forcing the United Nations to evacuate” from some areas, and “it persists in denying extended permission to USAID to deliver relief to communities in the Nuba Mountains that the United Nations has identified as starving to death.”

The crucial paragraph, in what is actually an indictment of the Bush administration by these religious and civil rights leaders, charges:

“By rewarding and praising Khartoum at the very moment it is stepping up its bombing, starvation, and literal enslavement of religious minorities, the U.S. appears to be willing to tolerate religiously based internal terrorism.

“We believe that even the perception of such a policy will increase contempt for the United States on the part of all terrorists, not only those in Sudan.” (Emphasis added.)

Furthermore, the coalition makes the challenging point that since there still are Al Qaeda terrorist cells in Sudan—although the Khartoum government is passing some information about their past activities in the country to the United States—”any understanding apparently reached with Khartoum [by Bush] is inherently unstable.”

The repressive regimes now approved by the U.S. as antiterrorist allies, including Khartoum, “will merely bide their time until current pressures on them abate,” the letter continues. “Indeed, in an October 9 article on Sudan’s participation in the antiterrorism coalition, The Wall Street Journal quoted a senior aide to Sudan’s President Bashir as stating: ‘In the government, the main feeling is that we want to get America off our backs. We are not so concerned about their friendship.’ ”

More tellingly, in the October 22 New Republic, there is this testimony to Khartoum’s devotion to continuing its own state terrorism against black men, women, and children in the south:

“On October 4, Sudanese vice president Ali Osman Taha told a brigade of mujahideen fighters being dispatched to southern Sudan [in the name of Islam]: ‘The jihad is our way and we will not abandon it, and will keep its banner high.‘ ” (Emphasis added.)

In her book on genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda, The Key to My Neighbor’s House (Picador), Elizabeth Neuffer reports that during the trial of the Rwanda murderers:

“General Romeo Dallaire, the head of the UN forces in Rwanda, who had repeatedly sought additional troops to stop the genocide, but who was rebuffed, [said]: ‘It seems inconceivable that one can watch thousands of people being massacred every day and remain passive. All the member states of the UN have Rwandan blood on their hands.’ ”

All the member states of the UN, including the United States, have the blood of the dead and the raped in Sudan on their hands. That includes George W. Bush, who killed the Sudan Peace Act, which could have begun to stop the genocide.

Most Popular