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Facing Facts – “In Sudan You See a Resurgence of One of the Greatest Crimes Against Humanity”
How much more evidence does the West need?
The latest report from the Center for Religious Freedom documents a sweeping pattern of oppression against Christians in Sudan, including the first-ever database on the extent of slavery in that country and the names of more than 11,000 abducted and enslaved people.
Organisers of the report held a press conference:
Name after name. Some have been found and returned but of the 11,105 people the database documents, only about 528 have been lucky enough to survive their ordeal and return home….
Jok Makut, a Sudanese who teaches at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles…explained that most of the abductees were members of the Dinka and Luo tribes who fell victim to raids by northern Muslim cattle raisers. "The government gave arms to these tribes, who formed into militias, and a free hand" to raid in the mainly Christian south where a rebellion against the Khartoum government has raged for almost 20 years.
"The facts of abduction and slavery are horrific," Makut said. "But the important thing is that we now know what the facts are. We know for certain who has been abducted, how many, where and when."
Penn Kemble, a senior scholar with Freedom House, which sponsored the press conference, remarked, "It may be hard for the public to accept, but slavery is not on its way to extinction. In Sudan you see a resurgence of one of the greatest crimes against humanity.”
Those are the blunt details. Today in Holland, Michigan, the local newspaper presents the human side of the oppression, as two Sudanese orphans celebrate their graduation from Holland Christian High School.
Civil war and rebel fighting ravaged their families at home in Sudan. Many parents were killed in the fighting.
The slaughter left thousands of orphans who fled Sudan and ended up in a refugee camp in Ethiopia.
When that camp was shut down, the mass of Sudanese youths walked to a refugee area in neighbouring Kenya. Hunger claimed some young lives on the trek. Others were eaten by lions and crocodiles or shot by rebels.
And some drowned trying to cross a dangerous river, especially when gunfire would break out and some people panicked…Of an estimated 16,000 children, only about 3,000 made it to Kenya alive.
Currently the West is engaged in futile debate over whether there was sufficient evidence of weapons of mass destruction to invade Iraq. Meanwhile, the evidence of Sudanese atrocities remains overwhelming.
The question needs asking again: How much evidence does the West need?
June 3rd, 2003