Jan 292010

This documentary film looks more closely at why we need to pay attention to the story of Sudan, to the violence in Darfur of course, but also throughout the country, and to the reasons behind the International Community’s failure to end the violence in Darfur. The experts on Sudan that I have spoken with all agree that a solution for Darfur, indeed the origins of the conflict in Darfur, must not be seen as an isolated situation. Both must be seen in context with the North-South conflict. The violence in Darfur broke out as the US brokered a peace agreement between North and South Sudan, one which ended almost 50 years of civil war between North and South Sudan.

Beyond the moral imperative to stop what many call, “the first genocide of the 21st century”, if Sudan’s conflicts and the Government of Sudan’s impunity go unchecked, and if violence continues to threaten to erupt between North and South Sudan, as well as indeed within South Sudan, as it does in fits and starts, the consequences would be felt throughout the region, and even globally. All of Sudan (including South Sudan) is rich in oil, uranium, and gold, Al Qaeda is present, and arms are smuggled through Sudan to and from the Horn of Africa, through the Sinai and onward. Iran is a good friend of the regime in Khartoum. So was Libya’s late leader Muammar Ghaddafi.

Life is untenable, despite the CPA (2009) :

My colleague in Juba, South Sudan’s capitol, tells me that oil prices are so high that there is no clean water available in the city – the water filters run on generators, which run on oil. And this is in Africa’s third-largest oil producing country. 85 percent of that oil is in South Sudan.

Food prices have shot up also – since the irrigation system in South Sudan was destroyed during the civil war most staples come from the North. Oil prices have also accounted for the increase in food prices. Life has simply become untenable, my colleague reports, compared to one year ago when I was last there.

Since the expulsion of aid organizations from Darfur more people have been displaced by violence and hunger and disease and are crossing regional and national borders, while the aid agencies cannot cope with the need because their budgets are dwindling. The men are all too aware of the possibility of a new war, and the women and children continue their daily chores of searching for clean drinking water, pumping the water filters all day long where they even exist, and grinding the grains, thatching roofs, and lamenting that life has become so hard that the children cannot go to school, where schools even exist.

In short, mothers cannot feed their children, let alone send them to school.