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
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
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
Sudan you see a resurgence of one of the greatest crimes against humanity.”
Those are the blunt
details. Today in
the local newspaper presents
the human side of the oppression, as two Sudanese orphans celebrate
their graduation from
Civil war and rebel
fighting ravaged their families at home in
Many parents were killed in the fighting.
The slaughter left
thousands of orphans who fled
Sudan and ended up in
a refugee camp in
When that camp was
shut down, the mass of Sudanese youths walked to a refugee area in
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
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