Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Dharfur: The Janjaweed are Back

Lynsey Addario for The New York Times:

02darfur-600.jpg

SULEIA, Sudan — The janjaweed are back.

They came to this dusty town in the Darfur region of Sudan on horses and camels on market day. Almost everybody was in the bustling square. At the first clatter of automatic gunfire, everyone ran.

The militiamen laid waste to the town — burning huts, pillaging shops, carrying off any loot they could find and shooting anyone who stood in their way, residents said. Asha Abdullah Abakar, wizened and twice widowed, described how she hid in a hut, praying it would not be set on fire.

“I have never been so afraid,” she said.

The attacks by the janjaweed, the fearsome Arab militias that came three weeks ago, accompanied by government bombers and followed by the Sudanese Army, were a return to the tactics that terrorized Darfur in the early, bloodiest stages of the conflict.

Such brutal, three-pronged attacks of this scale — involving close coordination of air power, army troops and Arab militias in areas where rebel troops have been — have rarely been seen in the past few years, when the violence became more episodic and fractured. But they resemble the kinds of campaigns that first captured the world’s attention and prompted the Bush administration to call the violence in Darfur genocide.

Aid workers, diplomats and analysts say the return of such attacks is an ominous sign that the fighting in Darfur, which has grown more complex and confusing as it has stretched on for five years, is entering a new and deadly phase — one in which the government is planning a scorched-earth campaign against the rebel groups fighting here as efforts to find a negotiated peace founder.

The government has carried out a series of coordinated attacks in recent weeks, using air power, ground forces and, according to witnesses and peacekeepers stationed in the area, the janjaweed, as their allied militias are known here. The offensives are aimed at retaking ground gained by a rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, which has been gathering strength and has close ties to the government of neighboring Chad.

Government officials say that their strikes have been carefully devised to hit the rebels, not civilians, and that Arab militias were not involved. They said they had been motivated to evict the rebels in part because the rebels were hijacking aid vehicles and preventing peacekeepers from patrolling the area, events that some aid workers and peacekeepers confirmed.

Please read the rest of the article HERE.

My husband and I have long supported an organization called Medecins Sans Frontiers / Doctors Without Borders. Wherever there is human misery, these brave doctors go and serve those suffering, and their life-saving work is performed under the worst possible conditions. They don’t look at politics. They look at human suffering, and do their best to alleviate it, or to do what they can. These heroic doctors are serving in Dharfur – while they can. When Medicins Sans Frontiers have to pull out, you know that the situation is as bad as it can be.

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March 2, 2008 - Posted by | Africa, Community, Crime, Dharfur, Family Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues, Spiritual, Sudan

12 Comments »

  1. The situation in Darfur is horrendous, and there seems to be no end in sight. And, for what it is worth, “Doctors Without Borders” is most assuredly a worthwhile organization to support, as the work they do is literally saving the lives of people who would die without them.

    Comment by Lofter | March 2, 2008 | Reply

  2. Saddens my heart to hear such news ! May God be thier help!

    Comment by GreY | March 2, 2008 | Reply

  3. Please please read “A Long Way Gone” if you have not read it yet. It will break your heart into a million pieces.

    Comment by Chirp | March 3, 2008 | Reply

  4. Lofter – Sadly, who are dying, experiencing rape and extermination, even with their presence.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 3, 2008 | Reply

  5. GreY – They need God’s help. Their leadership cynically makes promises they never intend to keep, while the genocide continues.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 3, 2008 | Reply

  6. Chirp – I went right to Amazon.com and ordered it. It looks, as you said, heartbreaking. Sierra Leone, Rwanda, the Sudan, Uganda with The Lord’s Liberation Army – oh, mercy, it is all too awful.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 3, 2008 | Reply

  7. Pardon my politics but is the Janjaweed some sort of a helminthic infestation?

    Comment by Arrested Development | March 3, 2008 | Reply

  8. I admit it, BL, I had to look it up.

    From Wikipedia:
    Helminthic therapy is the treatment of autoimmune diseases and immunological disorders by means of deliberate infection with a helminth or with the ova of a helminth. Helminths are parasitic worms, or nematodes, such as hookworms. Helminthic therapy is currently being studied as a promising treatment for several (non-viral) auto-immune diseases including Crohn’s disease,[1][2][3][4] Multiple Sclerosis,[5] asthma,[6][7] and Ulcerative colitis.[8] Autoimmune liver disease has also been demonstrated to be modulated by active helminth infections. [9]
    In addition to the treatment of autoimmune disorders the anti inflammatory effects of helminth infection are creating interest and research into diseases that involve inflammation but that are not currently considered to include autoimmunity as a component. Heart disease and arteriosclerosis both have similar epidemiological profiles as autoimmune diseases and both involve inflammation. Nor can their increase be solely attributed to environmental factors. Recent research has focused on the eradication of helminths to explain this discrepancy. [10]
    The therapy involves inoculation of the patient with specific parasitic intestinal nematodes (helminths). There are currently two closely related treatments available, either inoculation with Necator americanus, commonly known as hookworms, or Trichuris Suis Ova, commonly known as Pig Whipworm Eggs.
    Helminthic therapy has emerged from the extensive research into why the incidence of autoimmune diseases and allergies is relatively low in less developed countries, while there has been a significant and sustained increase in autoimmune diseases in the industrialized countries[7][11][12][13]. Current research and available therapy is targeted at, or available for, the treatment of Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Multiple Sclerosis, Asthma, Eczema, Dermatitis, Hay fever and food allergies.

    That was absolutely fascinating. I might not understand how you are applying it, though – are you saying that the Janjaweed is a GOOD thing, in the way that these hookworms might counter inflammation? That they are eradicating Dharfur people in the same way an infection is eradicated? That’s your politics?

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 3, 2008 | Reply

  9. yup that is the purpose that the janjaweed serve for their masters who are after dharfurs massive oil and gas reserves.

    according to a sudanese friend the people running the country believe themselves to be arabs, and the natives of dharfur nothing more than the african population from where they used to source their slaves.

    and man that picture puts things in perspective.

    Comment by sknkwrkz | March 3, 2008 | Reply

  10. Oh Skunk. Sometimes I just get so discouraged. Dharfur has oil? I had no idea. I’m beginning to think it is a curse.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 3, 2008 | Reply

  11. apparently there is quite a bit there.

    i found this that i thought you might find interesting reading:

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/14239/david_morse_on_darfur_as_a_resource_war

    oil is definately a curse. even here where there is no real fighting ( yet? ), alot of negatives come packaged with the monetary gain.

    Comment by sknkwrkz | March 4, 2008 | Reply

  12. oh Skunk. I read the whole article, and thank you for highlighting it, it is totally worth the read. Actually, I have bookmarked the website; I used to subscribe to The Nation.

    How thoroughly depressing, so depressing I wonder if a change in the American regime will even help? We are so addicted to cheap (The irony of calling $100/barrel oil cheap does not escape me) energy, can we give it up on moral principles? I thought my generation was going to save the world. We appear to be hurrying the process of destroying it, instead. Poor Africa, poor Dharfur.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 4, 2008 | Reply


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