Two days ago I had the privilege of being featured on the Al Jazeera English show, The Stream, where I got the chance to critique the simplistic and biased media narrative on Sudan, something I’ve been blogging about right here for the last five years, especially in the early days in 2006 and 2007 as some of you old-time readers know.
It was a short segment so I didn’t have the time to elaborate as much as I’d have liked, and I also had to specifically focus on the media narrative. More importantly, now that I’ve watched myself, I’m afraid that in trying to be civil on TV, I might have come across as too soft on the Khartoum regime because I didn’t highlight the extent of the violent atrocities it has committed and indeed continues to commit against various marginalized groups in the country.
Luckily, I have this blog where I can elaborate as much as I’d like and state things more clearly.
The following is a list of links to resources which will give you a nuanced understanding of important background information and critical factors that affect the ongoing horrendous violence that’s unfolding.
- This is the NY Times article I referred to in my appearance, and it contains a criticism of Save Darfur and the rather unhelpful narrative it’s been pushing, along with the Enough Project. It’s an absolute must-read, and so is the Sudan-part of this Slate article.
- In April 2006, the Washington Post published an excellent article challenging numerous misconceptions that have been spread about Darfur by media outlets and pushed by the Save Darfur Coalition. The article is called 5 Truths About Darfur, and it’s a must-read.
- In 2007 I wrote a blog post that’s still relevant today called Darfur: The Reality, the Agenda & the Proposed Solution, which I’m sure many of you will find eye-opening.
- To understand the recent history of Sudan-US relations, check out Official Pariah Sudan Valuable to America’s War on Terrorism, and this article which underscores the tensions between Republicans and Democrats in pursuing a coherent and effective Sudan strategy.
- On the issue of ethnicity and religion being factors, you may want to read my article at Comment is free in The Guardian, called Ending Sudan’s Identity Crisis to get a much better sense of the complex situation.
- Finally here’s an argument for why economic sanctions on Sudan, which negatively affect us the people more than anyone else, should be lifted, and why Sudan should be removed from its now-unfair designation in the US State Department’s list of terrorism-sponsoring countries.
If you dig into just those articles above, you’ll begin to understand the danger in the confrontational approach pushed by organizations like Save Darfur and Enough Project. They might be well-meaning, but politically, their strategy has been damaging and polarizing, leaving little room for positive engagement and normalization of relations with the United States.
And if they, Nicholas Kristof and George Clooney disagree with me, then I’d be happy to engage with them in a friendly debate and discussion.
To their credit, I believe that we all share the same goal of a peaceful Sudan in which all heinous atrocities would stop, and the Khartoum government would beheld accountable for its brutal actions. However, we clearly have very different strategies we’d like to see implemented to get there.
Simply put, Sudan is a fragile country, and if the aforementioned advocates have their way, we could witness the making of another Somalia. And it won’t be pretty.