President Obama, Will the Moral Arc of the Universe Bend Toward Justice for the People of Sudan during Your Presidency?
• "Looking back on the history of Sudan's war timeline, Sudan keeps killing its own citizens. It makes me cry sometimes to
Why should we believe that Obama will not betray the Sudanese people as a whole just as cynically in the present moment, especially with the cover of so many European countries eager to embrace a genocidal regime?
The country of Sudan has been held hostage by a former army brigadier, Omar al-Bashir, since 1989 when he staged a coup, overthrowing a democratically elected government.
President Omar al-Bashir's objectives are three-fold: to maintain control of Sudan at all costs; to steal the resources of the country for his benefit and for the benefit of his narrow base of supporters and allies; and to change the multicultural identity of Sudan into a single Arab Islamic identity.
“We are really praying very hard so that peace will prevail.”
A remarkable opportunity has presented itself, one that allows the administration to create an important legacy for the two Sudans, one that would endure long after the end of President Obama's term in office.
Washington obviously intends sanctions to cause economic hardship, but for what purpose? In the early 1990s Khartoum supported Saddam Hussein's Iraq against America and dallied with Islamic radicalism, even inviting Osama bin Laden to stay. However, that practice ended after 9/11.
There are times when decisions by the Obama administration are simply morally incomprehensible. An ongoing example is the refusal by Obama's Department of Justice to release information about the $9 billion settlement with French banking giant BNP Paribas.
Berends's work put him in great peril back in 2008, when he was detained by the Nigerian government while filming Delta Boys, a firsthand look at rebels in the river oil towns of that resource-rich yet vastly impoverished country -- Africa's most populous. Securing his freedom after 10 days of captivity required the intercession of New York Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. He was never in fear for his life, he says -- but his status as a documentarian offered him no particular protection whatsoever, he realized. Delta Boys was released in 2012 having received financing and support from the Sundance Documentary Film Fund, the Gucci/Tribeca Documentary Film Fund and Cinereach. Berends's most recent film, Madina's Dream, provides an unflinching glimpse into a forgotten war as it tells the story of rebels and refugees fighting to survive in Sudan's Nuba Mountains. The film will have its world premiere next month at South By Southwest International Film Festival.
If we want moral clarity in understanding the Khartoum -- as opposed to the political "complexities" adduced whenever the regime is the subject -- then let us look to Frandala. This deliberate bombing attack on an MSF hospital, by an advanced military jet aircraft, is the very face of the Khartoum regime.
How can this Sudanese "Wannsee Conference"--made public by virtue of the leaked minutes of this extraordinary meeting--not be the occasion for the most robust warning to Khartoum not to pursue this campaign of starvation and ethnic annihilation?
In the face of such horror, many folks in the West feel powerless to prevent more senseless death in Sudan. In fact, there are two simple steps that each and every American can take right now to make a difference: one for the short-term, one for the long-term.
From Sudan to North Korea and Syria: A Plea to President Obama to Activate His Atrocities Prevention Board
It is not too late for the Obama administration's Atrocities Prevention Board to take the lead in thwarting mass atrocities. Everyday it fails to act is an invitation to Khartoum, Pyongyang, Damascus and their ilk to step up their assaults on human lives and dignity.