A Sudanese intellectual leader recently said that, after the ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir in April, the current turmoil in that country presents “a time of great hopes and terrifying fears.” The fear was manifest on June 3rd, when security forces fired on protestors, killing and injuring scores.
About the speakers
Faith McDonnell at the Institute of Religion and Democracy believes that “the Islamists’ agenda has not changed, but this is the moment to change Sudan.” She is the Director of Religious Liberty Programs and of the Church Alliance for a New Sudan. Faith writes and speaks on the subject of the persecuted church.
She has drafted legislation on religious persecution for the United States Congress. In June 2007, her book, Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children, was published by Chosen Books. She is a Contributing Editor to Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy and writes for many publications. She previously spoke at Westminster on Underestimating Sudan and What That Means to the Region, the U.S., and the World and A Visit to South Sudan.
Rt. Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail
The Rt. Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail, Bishop of Nuba Mountains, has two important distinctions as a bishop in the Episcopal Church of Sudan. The first is that he was the youngest bishop ever ordained in the entire Anglican Communion. The second is that he is the bishop of a region that has experienced genocidal jihad twice within two decades.
Bishop Andudu leads the diocese in the Khartoum-targeted region, the Nuba Mountains, which the State Department calls by its Arab-colonized name, “South Kordofan.” The Nuba have been victims of ethnic cleansing, aerial bombardment, scorched earth destruction, and other methods of genocide first during the Sudan Civil War and then again beginning in 2011. In spite of this, the church in the Nuba Mountains continues to grow. Bishop Andudu has baptized and confirmed thousands of new converts so far this year.
The bishop came to the United States in May 2011 for medical care, just a few weeks before Kadugli’s All Saints Cathedral, his home, and the rest of his church complex, were ransacked and looted by armed men calling his name. He later learned that his name had been placed on a death list, and he has been granted asylum in the United States, making frequent pastoral visits back to his diocese.
Ibrahim Ahmed is from the Beja people group in eastern Sudan. He is the co-founder of the Beja Organization for Human Rights and Development and of the American Mideast Coalition for Democracy.
Mr. Ahmed taught at Red Sea University in Sudan, Department of Statistics and Population Studies, where he was also the director and co founder of the Beja Cultural Studies Center. Since coming to the United States Mr. Ahmed has devoted his professional career to research. He is working on ways to improve the tracking of the actions and intentions of African and Middle East terrorists.
Daowd Salih is the co-founder and president of Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, a human rights and advocacy organization created by the leaders of the Massaleit Community in Exile to bring help and awareness to the Massaleit and all of the people groups from Darfur that have been targeted for genocide by the National Islamic Front regime.
While still in Sudan, Mr. Salih represented Darfur as an executive member of the Sudan National Party and worked as a Field Officer with the German Red Cross/Swiss Red Cross/Sudanese Red Crescent. In Egypt he studied mass media and mass communication with the Training Institute of African Broadcasters and the Union of African Journalists in Cairo.
Robert R. Reilly:
Now, my introduction is going to be very free because Faith McDonnell is going to introduce our Sudanese guests and Faith needs a very brief introduction to this audience because she has spoken at Westminster before and been a frequent guest on the other side of the podium. I’ll simply say that Faith has been one of the most eloquent champions of religious freedom, one of the strongest voices against religious persecution and most especially as it has effected Sudan and South Sudan. I was recently at the premiere of a very moving picture called Christians in the Mirror this week, and the last part of the film focused on southern Sudan and in the credits Faith was mentioned for her great contribution to that very powerful and moving film about persecuted Christians.
Faith as you know is from the Institute on Religion and Democracy and she is the director of Religious Liberty Programs and of the Church Alliance for a New Sudan. She will be introducing the guests after her own introduction. The topic tonight is, “Which Revolution Will Succeed in Sudan?” Thank you, Faith.
Thank you all. Thanks so much for being here. As Bob mentioned, I have spoken here before and so I’m going to take the opportunity to just say I told you so because I spoke about Sudan and about its five genocides and what was planned and we see now a moment of great opportunity that could change things in a wonderful way or we see same old, same old coming. It depends on the resilience of the people of Sudan and it also depends on what the international community decides to do about it. If the international community stands behind the people, they have a lot better chance of getting the kind of government and the kind of country that they deserve.
But at present with the Military Council, we have what, if you were here when I spoke before, I referred to as ‘change the face’. You just like switch faces and you’ve got the same regime doing the same thing but with a new face and that is what is in place with the Military Council and in some cases they haven’t even changed the faces. They have the same ugly face of Hamati, who was the sponsor of the Janjaweed in the Nuba Mountains and Darfur, and I will probably be a little bit non-diplomatic, so be ready for that.
And I really, right now, want to give you the opportunity to hear from the people from Sudan because you know as this revolution on the streets of Khartoum and other places has taken place, there was a lot that went to bring that about that didn’t happen in Khartoum. There was a lot that happened in other parts of Sudan that has been happening for decades, so I felt that it was important to have the people who represent the largest portion of the country, the marginalized people groups of Sudan, to speak about what Khartoum has been doing in their regions, what they see as an important U.S. policy to take on what is going on now, and what they think could happen in the future. So because of that, we have marginalized people groups, which, again, seems silly to call them marginalized when they’re in the main part of the country, the largest populations of the country, but they have been marginalized by the center in terms of language, ethnicity, religion, everything.
So I’m going to introduce the three guests that we have for right now and then ask the first, who is the Rt. Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail, the Bishop of the Nuba Mountains in the Episcopal Church of Sudan, to come up and speak, so I just introduced him. That’s who he is, Bishop Andudu as we call him. When he was consecrated as bishop, he was the baby bishop of the entire Anglican communion, the youngest man to be made a bishop in the Anglican communion at the time when he became the bishop. And he has testified before Congress after the attacks by Khartoum in the Nuba Mountains and I’ll allow him to tell you about the Nuba Mountains and what has been going on, and what role the Nuba have played in bringing about the possibility of change.
I’m going to introduce all three, so they can just pop in one after the other and I can keep track of how much time they spend, especially this second one, who is Ibrahim Ahmed, who is from eastern Sudan and just became a U.S. citizen yesterday. He’s very happy about that. And you don’t hear a lot about eastern Sudan, where the Beja live, but it’s a very key place. It’s where Port Sudan is and it’s an area of culture that Khartoum has been trying to wipe out. And if you know your Rudyard Kipling, you may have read the poem Fuzzy, Wuzzy and you know about the only group that was ever able to break the British formation of the square, the British square, was the Beja when they were fighting for the Mahdi in the 19thcentury. So Ibrahim will go second and will talk about what Khartoum has been playing with in eastern Sudan.
And then third, my friend Daowd Salih, who is from Darfur, will be speaking. Darfur has really been in the mix on this as well, both in the past – well, for decades – but particularly with what’s been going on now. The Darfurians have also been very targeted by the Khartoum regime, so Daowd will then speak to you and then we’ll finish up.
But right before the bishop comes, let me just say there are some signs that the international community is starting to take notice and actually, the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa is probably in Sudan now as we speak. It always depends what goes on in the negotiations though. There have been declarations made from the international community, which I’ll be happy to share with you later. Congressman Jim McGovern from Massachusetts has made a great statement following threats by the Transitional Military Council against peaceful protesters. And we also have the oil question on Sudan from the House of Lords in the British Parliament with Baroness Caroline Cox, who maybe some of you have heard of, who is a tough cookie, and she gets right to it and she asks the UK government what they’re going to do to help the people of Sudan too. So let’s think about that and what we can do to help the people of Sudan and I’ll ask the Bishop Andudu to come up.
Rt. Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail:
Thank you Faith for a good introduction and thank you all for coming. In Sudan we talk a lot. I was given a few minutes and in Sudan that is just greetings before introduction, but I’m going to be brief.
I came from the Nuba Mountains. That is South Kordofan state. On the issues of Sudan I just want to start from right at the beginning of the independence of Sudan in 1956. The war started from there. When the British were living in Sudan, they left all political and economic leadership in the hands of the Arabs, so maybe we can divide Sudan into black and light skinned people even if they are not Arab, but this is what we call them. There were like 800 positions but all the black, including South Sudan, Darfur, Nuba Mountains, they were just given eleven [positions], so they feel that you are not justified.
The war started in South Sudan. The Arabs took on the power til today. They marginalized the black people in the Nuba Mountains, in South Sudan until South Sudan got their independence a few years ago. And what was going on all these years? The government of Sudan and successive governments of Sudan – they built on one another.
They were influenced by the Brotherhood of Egypt since 1958 in the time of about [there], so they started right from there. In 1962, they expelled all Christian foreign missionaries from Sudan. And then in 1983, Jaafar Nimeiry declared the Sharia law in Sudan, and Sharia law was not actually for religious purposes but using the religion for political gain, so it had nothing to do with Islam. They just put this issue of Sharia law behind what they wanted to achieve, which was something political.
So they controlled Sudan for all these years. As Faith said, when the government changed, it is just changing faces. It is the same regime throughout. And the Nuba Mountains – they were marginalized educationally or financially, in everything. They see the Nuba Mountains as like a different country compared to the other places in Sudan, so what made things worse? In the Nuba Mountains they declared jihad, the holy war. The holy war is supposed to be against non-Muslims, but in the Nuba Mountains we have many Muslims. That is why I’m saying this is just politics, it’s not religion. We have many Muslims. Many mosques were destroyed, so it is not religion. It is just politics.
All of the education system was destroyed, including some of the schools in my diocese. The government used food as a weapon. Our people when they cultivate, the farm ready, they bomb it. Everything’s burned, so the people submit themselves or they go to their sites.
All of the resources were taken from the Nuba Mountains. We have coal, we have Arabic gum. There is a grow of pipes from the Nuba Mountains to the north. The people of oil were given only 2%, and even this 2% we have never seen. We have a lot of resources like gold, like all these things, but we don’t get anything.
In 2011, we had a lot of mass graves in Kadugli. This is the place where we are. My house was destroyed, my offices were burned, everything. That’s why I’m here. I’m not here because I like the U.S., but we are forced. We are kicked out, not me alone, but many people are kicked out from Sudan.
I just want to go to say that the government of Sudan in previous years they hosted Osama bin Laden and they have many factories and many resources in the Sudan and I remember in 1999, the U.S. I think bombed one of the factories for weapons in Khartoum. When he left, he left some of the resources. He left some of the friends. That’s why they continue to carry on the killing of the people, like Darfur, like in the Nuba Mountains, so they are the same people. They are terrorists. They are a threat to the Sudan and to the people.
We have lost like two million people in the first war, 4,000 refugees. Here in the U.S. we have over fifty thousand people. The country of Sudan is like expelling people. They are in Uganda, they are in Kenya, in Ethiopia, in Egypt. Our people are scattered all over the world. I have two brothers in Astoria. We are here three. We have my sister in Egypt, some in Sudan. We’re from one family, but we’re scattered.
So this is what is going on with the government of Sudan. If the government of Sudan is a threat to the Sudanese, then it is a threat to everywhere. You can’t say only you are a threat to Sudan and that’s it, no. If you are a threat to Sudan, then this threat is for everyone.
So what we want the government of the U.S. to do… This is just our humble request. You know sometimes when you are powerful, you are not just given this power only for the purpose of the sake of the power, but you help sometimes the weak people. Even when you are at home you help your children because they are still weak. There is time, they will grow up. This is what we want from this great nation here. We want them to be involved, more involved in the issues of Sudan.
We want the U.S. to stand with the people who are dying and crying for justice, freedom. Protestors in Khartoum are dying for this great value. We need the U.S. to stand with them not with the people who are killing them, not with the people who are terrorizing everybody. This is what we want the U.S. to stand with the people in Sudan, the protestors. I know they’re involved, but we need more involvement.
The other thing is we have many prisoners in Sudan. We need these prisoners to be released. Some of them are in secret prisons. These are not just regular prisons, but they have homes, houses where they keep many politicians. And now we have hundreds of women they arrested and they were raped, so we need these people to be released. Many soldiers – because the government destroyed the army system in Sudan – now, the army in Sudan just belongs to parties. This is not a national army and that is one of the problems of Sudan.
In the Nuba Mountains we have like eleven years. There is no food. I was there two months ago. The government of Sudan banned all international organizations from giving food to the people. They said, ‘no, this is our country. This is just a few rebels. We are going to deal with them’. But the food was used as a weapon.
We have children of eight years who have not been vaccinated. The government also stopped vaccinations for over a million people, children, and now they started dying since the government was hindering this aid. I think this is the time where the U.S. can move to give food to the people, to take the vaccination to the children in the Nuba Mountains.
We have a lot of money and resources. It was taken by people. We want the U.S. to use their technology to get money back to the people in Sudan. The last thing I want to say is [we want] a serious investigation into the people who killed the protestors. We really need a serious investigation and hold these responsible people to justice. These viewpoints I want the U.S. to help us with and encourage the other members of the international community to be involved in the Sudan because we have suffered over fifty years. We need support not to do anything, but to have peace and to have freedom and justice. Thank you.
I want to thank everybody for coming and I also want to thank the Westminster Institute for giving us the opportunity to speak to you guys. My name is Ibrahim Ahmed. I am from Eastern Sudan as Faith McDonnell mentioned. I was a lecturer at Red Sea University in Sudan in the department of statistics. I have advocated for more than twelve years for Sudan in the U.S. and I participate in many conventions or U.S. government awareness about Sudan and what’s going on in Sudan.
Regarding Eastern Sudan, Eastern Sudan is considered the most important region in Sudan for many decades, either for the regional security of the Red Sea or the regional security of the Horn of Africa. Eastern Sudan people, the Beja people, they started their struggle against the government of Khartoum in 1958 when they established Beja Congress as first, Sudan marginalized a group that they started their struggle politically against the government of Khartoum. In 1960, the Beja won most of the elections in the Eastern Sudan.
In 1994, the Beja were forced to carry out an armed struggle against the central government in Sudan and after thirteen years of war in Eastern Sudan, they signed a peace agreement in 2006 in Asmara, but the agreement itself was like kind of neo-marginalization of Beja people and what the Beja people need.
The Beja people need their freedom. They like to be Beja. They don’t like to be Arab or they don’t like to be what the others told them. They like to have freedom and democracy. Also, they like, and they fought for, the control of their land, and the land for the Beja is the most important element.
You know, as Bishop Andudu mentioned, de-marginalization in all Sudanese regions is the same, but technically, the most marginalized people in Sudan is the Eastern Sudan because the highest illiteracy rate in Sudan is in Eastern Sudan, the highest rate of infant mortality is in Eastern Sudan. The same thing is like the political participation of the Beja people in Sudan is the lowest. Maybe you can find in during the democracy, during military regimes in Sudan the participation of other regions in Sudan, but not Eastern Sudan.
For the situation I mean even for the humanitarian aid and workers, it’s easy for you, you can get permission from Khartoum to go to Darfur. You can get permission to go to the Nuba Mountains. You can get permission to go to South Sudan, but not Eastern Sudan. Question why? Because this is the neck of the Sudan economy. This is where eighty percent of the gold production of Sudan is in. This is where oil is exported towards Eastern Sudan for Sudan. This is where sixty percent of Sudan’s agricultural land is. This is where there are a lot of projects.
If any of you just make search gold in Sudan, they can power Eastern Sudan. For example, the recent study from Harvard University about the new discovery of gold and copper existing in Eastern Sudan was indicating like 250 million tons of copper together with 20 million – I’m talking not thousands – 20 million tons of gold. You can imagine 20 million tons of gold in Eastern Sudan with Qatar money, come on. Just put two lines, Qatar mining company, NY Qatar.
At the same time a French company, REF Mining Company, they are working in Eastern Sudan since 1991 and the production of this gold mining was on average ten tons per year from 1991 until now. You can imagine ten tons per year. I’m not going to talk much about the resources because there is a lot of time. We need to cover this area.
So regarding what happened in Sudan right now, anything that happens in any part of Sudan can affect any other region or this time was the opportunity given to the civilians to lead the political campaign inside Sudan, so all the youths and all the women and all people from all around Sudan, they gathered together and they forced Bashir and the Muslim Brotherhood government to step down.
There’s a lot of people killed, a lot who were tortured, but the prize was Bashir is out of power and I think that was a very good moment for Sudan’s people and it was very promising you know future for the Sudanese people, but this dream was killed by the other side of the Gulf countries. So we have – you know my background is statistics – so we have a statistic, the outcome of flipping a coin is either heads or tails. So we have in the first thing our fight with Bashir and the Muslim Brotherhood, this is like the heads, but what is the other side of the coin, the tail?
The tail is the Wahhabi Saudis. Okay, they come back to Sudan. They support the military and the Janjaweed militias. You can imagine the Janjaweed militia is well known in America and all over the world. They committed Darfur. So we were killed first by the Muslim Brotherhood, second, now we are being killed by those Janjaweed, supported by the other side of the coin.
So at the end of the day, whatever the head or tail, the product of flipping a coin is to be what they need us to be, but I don’t think it’s going to be an easy journey for them. We fought Bashir for thirty years. We fought Islamist for thirty years. We do not accept to be anything other than Sudanese. We are not going to accept anything except we are Sudanese. We are not going to be Muslim Brotherhood and we are not going to be Wahhabis.
So the other thing is like what is happening right now with Sudan. Same, I’m going to come back to my background is statistics. In the theory of the random work we have the output of any product is either going forward a step or going backward a step, so the random work, technically defined as the process of randomization like an object, how we can return to the original beginning step, beginning point by two outcomes, either forward or backward. So what’s happening right now in Sudan is still they are going to apply the random work to us. Either we are going back, we are coming back, at the end of the going, we have to go to the original point. What’s the original point? We have to be second class citizens in our country. Whatever the players is head of the coin or tail of the coin, but I think we will not limit our dreams, our future in the output of the coin.
We have our own coin. What is our own coin? It is the Sudanese marginalized people, Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile. We will not accept anything except that we are Sudanese. Nobody tell us what we have to do. Millions of our friends died for this dream. Millions of friends, our brothers, died in Blue Nile, died in Nuba Mountains, died in South Sudan, died in Beja area for one reason. We need to be free. Anyone not accepting that we will be free, I think is going to be wrong hypothesis for who will win the revolution in Sudan. I think still we have to look about what the other thinking about us or what the other wants the outcome in Sudan. I say as I mention the others, the regional players, they want the outcome either to be head or tail, but we don’t need head or tail. We need to win. We need to win as Sudanese. We need to win as a marginalized people, so all the efforts that are advocating for I mean the Military Council or what do you call the other head of the coin, the winning and the winner in the coming you know days in Sudan is the Sudanese people. Thank you.
Thank you. First, I would like to thank Ms. Gondaga and Mariam, Faith McDonnell, and I would like to also thank Bob and the Westminster Institute for inviting us to talk about important issues happening today in Sudan. My name is Daowd Salih. I’m from the Darfur region. As you know, the first genocide in the 21st century is in Darfur and when it started, that genocide was in the early 1990s up to now.
I’m here to confirm that my region, which is western Darfur, first region that has been attacked in 1994 and in 1999 when we were refugees in Egypt, we wrote an open letter to include all the incidents that took place from 1994 to 1999. That was the only document that the international community recognized that what happened in Darfur was genocide, recognized by the UN Secretary General of the General Assembly at that time Kofi Annan. He referred to our letter that the situation, the human rights situation in Sudan, was tragic and that the world community needed to take actions.
In 2003, the people of Darfur came together to form a movement in order to fight to defend themselves. That’s why the international community recognized that a genocide has happened in Darfur. Before I go further, the marginalized people of Sudan is mainly four to five regions; Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and then far most in Nubia.
We are here today to let friends and followers from Nuba Mountains and Eastern Sudan and South Sudan and far Nubia. We have been marginalized for so long. I remember in 1987 I had just finished military school and I went to high school. I met a leader from Nuba Mountain. His name was Father Philip Abbas Ghaboush. He formed a political party to fight for the marginalized people of Sudan and all people of Sudan. I joined Father Philip Abbas Ghaboush and worked with him together as a Muslim, as a Darfurian. We don’t have problems, whether you are a Christian from the south or from Nuba Mountains or from far north Nubia or from the east. We are Sudanese. We have different ethnicities, whether you are Arab or non-Arab Africans like myself. We want that to be a Sudan.
Since 1989 when Bashir came to power, they stopped all activities that were taking place in Sudan. I was at that time working as assistant field officer and contact person with the Red Cross. It was in shanty town areas mainly people were displaced from Nuba Mountain and South Sudan. I was kicked out, since 1990 I have not gone back to Sudan, and I determined I will not go back until there is full freedom and democracy in Sudan. That’s why I didn’t go back.
I started focusing since 1990 about four issues. First, to spread awareness about the Darfur genocide. We Darfurians are similar to the people of the Nuba Mountains and other regions. We don’t intend to attack any people or harm anyone, but the Sudanese government with its National Islamic Front choose one group to arm and ties the regions, specifically Darfur regions at that time. We have refugees going to Chad since 1994. The number of refugees, Darfur refugees, Sudanese refugees in the world, we don’t have a statistic yet. Also, deaths, we do not yet have a full statistic. People are counting from 2003, but what about from 1994 all the way to 2003, marginalized people of Sudan, victims from South Sudan to Darfur to Eastern Sudan and to the far north and Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain.
What needs to be done? We want the international community to disarm the militias that are killing innocent men, women, and children in Khartoum. It did not just start in Khartoum. It started long before as I mentioned the history, but at the time when we were saying this, nobody believed us, but the government used the media to censor, so that the Sudanese community was divided into regions, so that they were unaware of what’s happening in Darfur, what’s happening in Nuba Mountain, and also what was happening at that time in South Sudan, the true story.
Today, those militias are now ruling Sudan: Janjaweed and the head of the council, Burhan. He used to say, ‘I’m a god for the people of Darfur’, specifically, for the Fur tribe. He started killing them. He’s a human being, saying that – think about that – and he’s now in Khartoum, ruling the country. Who are those Janjaweed? Janjaweed as a group are nomads. When it started in Sudan as a few tribes from – we call them Arab tribes who stay long with us, quite a long time ago. It was peaceful, but then the government used them so that they can harm our people.
So at the end, they became the most international, terrorist group that has become part of the Janjaweed, mainly from Mali, north Mauritania, Niger, Maiduguri in Nigeria, Boko Haram, and Chad, Central African Republic, and rural Uganda, all are inside this, and also Al Shabaab of Somalia because all those created by Islamic front of Khartoum. That’s why now they’re fighting to take the government in Sudan to make an international, terrorist government.
But their aim is not only in Sudan, not only Darfur, that’s why we used to say the genocide in Darfur is not like the genocide that took place in 1994 in Rwanda. The Darfur genocide is going beyond, taking the land from the indigenous African and in its place putting an Islamic state, so that they can influence other countries. That’s what’s happening in Darfur. Now, Darfur, we have a new settler. The Sudanese government gave them Sudanese nationality so that they can stay there.
Now, the danger of that to the neighboring country includes Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, our great ally, our great friend, Uganda, to the Horn of Africa. That is the strategy all the way to Somalia. In West Africa, from Darfur all the way to Mali. They may have to change the map of Africa. The missions of Arabization and Islamization is what is happening now today in Sudan.
What needs to be done? We urge our government, our great government the United States to take the leadership role to stop what’s happening in Sudan, to stop the killing, and also bring all Sudanese people together, whether they’re Arabs or Africans, Christians, Muslims, African religions believers, bring them together to form the permanent constitution of Sudan. Sudan doesn’t have a permanent constitution which is a guarantee for the rights of the people of Sudan.
And also we ask women presentations during the interim period because we want to try. The Sudanese women do not have the power of leadership, full leadership. Sudan is known by the genocidal government, known by international community. We want new faces of Sudan. Having said that, I believe women will not arm one group to kill another group because if she’s a mother, she has a sister, she feels those outside of her like they’re her children. So we need a new vision that brings new faces for Sudan, so that we can unite before it’s too late.
South Sudan is free today. I am able to go to South Sudan. I went to South Sudan, but I cannot go to Khartoum with this current situation. I choose to fight for my right, human rights. I choose to fight until full freedom comes to Sudan. For 35 years I have been working on that. I’m talking about 1987 to today. I got this leadership from Father Philip Abbas Ghaboush. How you become a leader for yourself and say what you want to say without going to ask Sadik al Madi what to tell you to say. I grew up in that environment. I will never give up and my followers here today, they will never give up. We will continue.
Finally, in my conclusion, I would like to thank all of the audience for coming, and also I would like to thank all the people who could not make it here, and I would like to thank the heroes who could not be here who are fighting for our rights in the Nuba Mountains, Eastern Sudan, and Darfur, and the Blue Nile. Thank you for having us.
Well, my brothers were very good on time. Everybody did a wonderful job and we’re going to take questions in a few minutes, but we have a little bit more time and I’m going to actually ask each of you another question about something that they didn’t get to.
And to frame that, I just want to tell you too that I have this list for you that I’m going to hand out, so you will have a checklist of what the top ten ways are that you will know if real change comes to Sudan, and this goes along with what the men were saying.
10 Signs of Real Change
Number ten: a new Sudan, no more racist, supremacist attitude towards black African, indigenous Sudanese.
Number nine: remaining thousands of enslaved Sudanese freed immediately.
Number eight: religious freedom, including the right to convert, share your faith, and worship to all Sudanese.
Number seven: real intelligence to the U.S. government instead of the bunkum that the CIA gets now that they think has been worth supporting the government of Sudan for.
Number six: no more assistance to ISIS and other jihadists, but help to the U.S. government in nailing them instead. Right now, the Khartoum regime has been assisting ISIS in moving through the Middle East through Africa.
Number five: no more grandiose plans to build the caliphate.
Number four: Nuba, Blue Nile, and Abyei free, at peace to prosper and flourish.
Number three: no support for Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, but help to nail them.
Number two: no support for South Sudan rebels or jerking President Salva Kiir around.
And finally, Number one: no creepers like Sadiq al-Mahdi in charge of the new government.
So I have just three questions, one for each of them just to give you a little thing that they didn’t talk about. This one first – I don’t know who will want to answer this one, but – what role do the Communists play in Sudan? Who wants to answer that one? Ibrahim? Well, I’ve heard plenty about it, so…
Well, my answer is the flipping of a coin. We know like you know, in the Middle East either the head or tails. I mean at the end of the day the identity, what is the identity? Arab identity. It doesn’t matter a Communist or leftwing or Muslim Brotherhood or something else. At the end of the day, the outcome must be Arabs, Arab identity.
So the Communist is still against the Muslim Brotherhood and they are against the Wahhabis, but still they agree about the bottom line is the Arab identity. I mean you can find in the Middle East, you can find Muslim, you can find terrorist, you can find Communist, you can find Christians. All of them agree about the bottom line, the Arab identity. Thank you.
Now, I have a question. We actually have a friend here who is from the far north from Nubia, so this question – and Daowd mentioned him. Daowd also used a title when he talked about me. He called me kandaka. Do you want to explain what a kandaka is? Come on, Daowd.
A kandaka is a highly respected symbol of women. More than that, you are part of the Nubia. We will explain it, but meram, we have meram in Darfur. Meram also is a strong female that plays a role in the leadership for the family issues and is a very high ranking and respected, kandaka and meram. That’s why I refer to you as a kandaka and a meram as our African traditions.
And I’ll say it goes back even further, which our friend from Nubia could tell you. If you remember the New Testament of the Bible, one of the apostles, Philip, was on the road to Gaza and he met a man in a chariot who is in too many translations of the Bible referred to as ‘the Ethiopian eunuch’ when actually that man was from Sudan.
He was from Kush from Nubia and he wasn’t the official of some Queen named Candice. Her title was kandaka, so translations of the Bible have made it sound as if she was ‘Queen Candice’, so now you will know, and one of the things that I do in my life, one of my goals in life, is to let people know it wasn’t Ethiopia, it was Sudan. So that was where that kingdom was and when the official went back to Nubia, it was not long after that that a Christian kingdom was established in Nubia.
And then finally, for Bishop Andudu we have to have a question about the Nuba Mountains. Can you tell us – since we have a sister here from South Sudan – what kind of role did the Nuba play in helping South Sudan to get its independence?
Rt. Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail:
Okay, actually, our people from Nuba Mountains, they moved to South Sudan. Thousands though died on the way to South Sudan because this is where we go and get the guns. People work for three or four months. Thousands die on the way and many were in South Sudan. We are fighting together, the SPLA, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army movement. We lost many people in South Sudan, especially when the government was trying to wipe the rivers in Western Equatoria.
We lost many people until we were able to stop Bashir’s troops, so the Nuba played a big role in South Sudan to get its independence because we have been fighting. And we were thinking actually we were going get independence all together because it’s the same people, but you know in the negotiation, politics, the Arabs wanted to make sure the Nuba Mountains remain with the Sudan because if we go to the South, then we lose all the factory lines and the resources of Nuba. So we really still feel we’re a part of South Sudan and until now South Sudan has been praying for the Nuba people. It is advocating also for them to get their freedom.
And one other point I didn’t mention actually for the U.S. government; we want them to stop the negative interfering of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt. It’s very destructive. We want the government to be given to the civilians. These are some of the things that we really want.
Great, thank you very much and I also have another brother from the Nuba Mountains here too as well, so thank you. You know I think of the Nuba kind of the way the Montagnard and Hmong people were in Vietnam, helping our soldiers and then now being punished in Vietnam. The ones especially who are Christians they punish twice by the Vietnamese government because they’re Christians and because they helped the U.S. back in the war. So it’s kind of a similar situation for the Nuba.
Now, it’s time for you to ask your questions.
Actually, I would like first to thank you, Sister Faith, for organizing this very important meeting and for explaining this situation of Sudan, which is not usually seen in the media, especially for the people who are following Sudan closely, the recent uprising. I have a comment and I have a question.
Make it a quick one.
A very quick one. Yes, I totally agree that Sudan has been formed since independence with a false ideology that we call Arabism, so it’s a mix of the Arab culture and the Islamic religion that applies to all systems and institutions. So Sudan politically formed in this way, and this doesn’t allow the representation of the other Sudan, which is very diverse and multicultural from the far north to the south. And this created a problem: the Bashir regime, Janjaweed, Muslim Brotherhood, the ultra leftists or communists, the Arab nationalists, all of these are products of the same false ideology applied through sixty years.
My question now is for you as an American activist who is working closely with Sudan and you have seen and you mentioned that there are two revolutions, one that started earlier because there are people who faced oppression since the beginning, and especially the beginning of Bashir’s jihadist regime, and now we have protestors who are protesting, who have recently come to revolt against Sudan. And so this peaceful uprising and these two revolutions, the violent who are either defending themselves in East Sudan or Darfur or Blue Mountain or early in south Sudan and we have the peaceful demonstrations.
Not to peaceful for them though, I mean they’re being slaughtered in the streets.
Yes, but they are some new generations that need to change.
Well, I was actually thinking of the peaceful people in the streets and the old revolution as one revolution, my which revolution meant is it going to be that? Is it going to be freedom and democracy and John Garang’s vision of a new Sudan for everyone or is it going to be a fake revolution that you know pretends and changes the face, but then just goes back to being the same as it was or like Ibrahim said, the two coins? That’s what my idea was and we hope and pray that it will be what you all started and what the people in Khartoum are doing now.
These two lines from revolution, they can join.
I hope so. Well, they are working together in some aspects now, but they need to work together more closely and everybody needs to have that same vision, and you know I go back to Dr. John again, that was the vision that brought people out into the square in Khartoum and thrilled people, so most people want to see everybody free. They don’t want to see some people marginalized and some people free, so I would say that’s it.
Go ahead Bishop and then we’ll take the next question.
Rt. Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail:
If we talk about the revolution, the SPLA for example, they are calling for freedom, peace, and justice, and also when they protest in Khartoum, these are the three words they also want. And moreover now, the SPLA in the north, they had a ceasefire. They said we will not do any operation, respecting the protestors in Khartoum. This was actually the commander of the Nuba Mountains and the SPLA, they are supporting the people in Khartoum.
This question is for you, bishop. You had mentioned women being arrested and raped. Could you explain what they’re being arrested for and tell me a little more about that?
Rt. Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail:
Okay, I think in Khartoum in the time of protestors when the security dispersed the people by force, many women were raped in the process.
You’re talking about recently?
Rt. Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail:
Like how recently?
June 3, right?
Rt. Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail:
Hundreds of women you said?
Rt. Reverend Andudu Adam Elnail:
Hundreds of women and hundreds of men. We cannot know the number. When you are killed, even the number of people who died, the media is saying fifty, but it’s more than that. Many people were thrown in the river Nile and some of them, actually, they were burned. You cannot know, but there’s a lot of things which are not known, and you know the media in Sudan is controlled, especially now. The internet is not working. So everything is just done without other people knowing, so there are a lot of things happening. That’s why we need a thorough and serious investigation into these incidents.
Do they see their sense of represented in this opposition that is talking with this military government or they see themselves like marginalized again during this revolution?
Who wants to answer that one? Daowd?
Yeah, okay, first I’m going to comment on the point he mentioned about two lines of revolution. First of all, there are not two lines of revolution. There’s one line of revolution and the struggle against Bashir didn’t start in September, but the civil resistance started in September because the people went out into the street.
After the struggle in Nuba Mountains, in the Blue Nile, and before in Eastern Sudan they made the regime very weak and they lost all the money and the resources in the war, so one of the reasons why people went out in Sudan in the street was the regime had become weaker and all of the resources of the regime were used in the marginalized areas. So there’s no way to explain there being two lines of revolution.
There’s one line of the revolution because the demonstration was not just in Khartoum, it was all over Sudan. It was in Eastern Sudan, it was in Port Sudan, it was in Darfur, it was in Blue Nile, it was in Nuba Mountains. So I hope I’m not misleading like those were separate, this is the same revolution. It can take many manifestations. It can take armed struggle, it can take the civil struggle, it can take what we’ve done in Washington for almost ten years. It’s part of the same process.
And the other thing for the leaders of Sudan, civilians, I’m going to come back to the same answer. Right now, there is no structure, leaders, that are leading this demonstration or this movement in Sudan because they have -when they formed this Sudan Professional Association, it was not a political organization, okay? It is professionals: doctors, teachers, engineers, all the Sudanese professionals without any political title because why? They want to unite the people of Sudan for one goal: to force Bashir to step down.
And you support them?
Everybody supports them, but that does not mean they are like a new line. This is the same people from the Nuba Mountains inside these groups. The same people from Darfur exist in these groups. The same people from Blue Nile, from Nuba Mountains, all the marginalized people are still there, leading the same people, so this is not a new line. This is an extension of what is happening in Sudan’s struggle against Khartoum.
I’m wondering what can be done to get the United States to do something serious and not just a trivial thing. Are there any resorts that can be conceded to the Trump Organization in return? You mentioned twenty millions tons of gold. Did I hear that right? That’s 600 billion ounces, which is $800 trillion dollars, of course, after mining and all that, but still that’s a lot. Donald Trump spoke of getting some oil concessions as properties in return for American backing not just access, but actual ownership. Could a fraction of that be contemplated for ceding in return for liberation of Sudan?
That I think would be a great idea. I mean I think business in both Sudan and South Sudan with American companies is very important. Right now China is trying to swallow Africa and we need to get American businesses in there, and I won’t even talk about South Sudan, but in terms of Sudan, yes. I was just at a meeting of USAID today with a really sincere director from the Conflict Resolution Office at USAID who really wants to know what they can do to help Sudan, but I think that’s part of it, but I think what you’re talking about should be an incentive as well, and a way to help the resistance to get itself together in a form that they can then be the ones to negotiate, and then be the ones to negotiate on business deals and get some of this that has been stolen from them.
I heard on the radio coming over here that there’s a new U.S. ambassador going to Khartoum as we speak. Can you reflect on that at all?
Yes, there’s a new Sudan Special Envoy who’s actually an old Sudan Special Envoy, so I don’t know how well that’s going to work. I hope that will work. It’s at least a sign that we’re showing some interest by having a Special Envoy, but this particular one unless he’s changed and gotten more strongly aware of what Khartoum was all about, I don’t have a lot of hope for that, but the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa did go over today and we’ve had assurances from different parts of the government in Congress and in the administration that they have no intention of letting the Military Council do whatever they want to do, so we can hope.
Just a quick question about the international influences that the speaker might see in the past and with Russia and North Korea have basically been submitting arms to the military in Sudan. We’ve seen the 250-pound scatter bombs demolish villages. We’ve seen the result of that. We’ve seen the result of the Russian Army’s military equipment.
Russian mercenaries too.
That’s still a presence. Also we have the evidence of photos of the Chinese military guarding the oil pipelines in Eastern Sudan. Now, if the United States is going to get involved in that other than some kind of a quid pro quo, economic benefits, they are going to have to deal with China and – not all in Eastern Africa, but in Eastern Sudan, so there are lots of players in this game and how is – the speakers here – how do you see the international community being leveraged kind of like a chess game for a revolutionary cause in Sudan because that’s an important issue? What are some of the ways in which you can see the United States manipulating some of the international players to the advantage of the revolution in Sudan?
Thank you for the question. For the international players in Sudan politics, you mentioned China and Russia. One key element to know from here is that Russia has been funding Sudan’s government militarily and building palaces with China, but Russia now in the Central African Republic. Bashir before leaving the government took them to the Central African Republic by land, so they occupy now the Central African Republic because the Central African Republic is full of natural resources because the Russians are interested in taking those resources to make sophisticated weapons.
The United States presence is not there. France also is not there because France has been kicked out. The Central African Republic was colonized by France. France no longer has a presence and the United States no longer has a presence.
Now, what does this mean? Russia in the Central African Republic or in Sudan, taking the resources and replacing the United States, so that’s why we need our government, the United States, to be engaged or involved in those areas, in Sudan, politically or economically, socially, and the Central African Republic and other countries because, as you know, Africa is rich in resources. So Central Africa and Congo, which is Zaire, are the areas now where Russia is focusing.
That’s why we urge our government to take action against the military cancer now in Khartoum to transfer to the transitional government to the civilians. As I mentioned earlier, from all parts of the regions of Sudan from all people from Sudan to come together in conferences to agree on certain things, so that they can elect someone who can represent them well.
Regarding the questions the young man over there asked, the negotiation between the Military Council and civil society does not involve anyone from Nuba Mountain, there is no representation, faces, from Darfur and the Blue Nile. That is the problem now we are facing, so the same people over six years and now the same faces coming with different tactics. So that is the problem and that is going to be a problem for Sudan’s unity in the future.
As I mentioned, are you going to be zero class in Sudan or first class in your homeland? That is the question I need to be able to answer in Sudan. We have people in South Sudan who were zero class citizens, but now they are first class citizens. That is a question for all of the marginalized people of Sudan. Now, we are fighting for all of Sudan, for all Sudanese, to unite together to make a democracy in Sudan.