quarta-feira, abril 26, 2006


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Monday, May 1, 2006

Sides in northern Sudan:
Government: Omar Hassan al-Bashir, president / Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, vice president / Dr. Magzoub El Khalifa, spokesman / Jamal Ibrahim, foreign ministry spokesman / Amin Hassan Omar, spokesman
Janjaweed: government supported militias / aka Janjawid, Jinjaweed etc. / "armed men on horseback", "devils on horseback"
JEM - Justice and Equality Movement: Ahmed Tugod, chief negotiator / Ahmed Hussein / Khalil Ibrahim, a leader / linked to opposition Hassan al-Turabi
SLM - Sudanese Liberation Movement: aka SLA - Sudanese Liberation Army
SLM - Abdul Wahid faction: Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur, leader / Ahmed Abdul Shafi, vice chairman
SLM - Minnah faction: Minni Arcua Minnawi, leader / Saifaldin Harun, spokesman
AU - African Union: peacekeeping troops / Denis Sassou Nguesso, chairman / Alpha Oumar Konare, commission head / Baba Gana Kingibe, mission head (?) / Maj Gen Collins Ihekire, Nigeria, force commander / Noureddine Mezni, Tunisia, spokesman
UN - United Nations: Jan Egeland, emergency relief coordinator

Issues: government imposition of Sharia law, arab/black rivalry (all are Muslim), squabbling over oil money, semi-autonomous status like southern Sudan, disarmament of pro-government Janjaweed militia, and integration of rebels into the Sudanese army

Sides in Chad:
Government: Idriss Déby (Idi), president / MPS - Patriotic Salvation Movement
FUC / FUCD / UFDC - United Front for Democratic Change: armed rebels, Mahamat Nour Abdelkerim, president, umbrella group, linked to Sudan
RDL - Rally for Democracy and Liberty:
SCUD - Platform for Change, Unity and Democracy: Yaya Dillo Djérou, coordinator
CNT: Hassan Salleh Al Gadam, president
FIDEL: Abdelwahit About, secretary general
FNTR: Babikir Ismail, representative
Group of 8 December: Abakar Tollimi, coordinator
CNR: Almado Awad Mardo, chargé of defense
FRRRT: Yaya Batit Ali Al-Mahmoudi, president

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarAnother mystical smile; this one in a photograph by Claire Soares of a woman selling soap in a market in N'Djamena, Chad.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClaire Soares is interesting - turns out to be a writer as well as a photographer. A piece in the Christian Science Monitor: Some hope Chad's vote will bring calm. Skeptics abound., and two more photographs of women worth looking at, one of an avocado seller, and one of a girl with a pan on her head (I can't quite see how it stays there).

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarIslamic fundamentalist Omar al-Bashir presides over this carnage as just about an absolute despot, has done so since a coup in 1989.

Sends his army to camp near Labado, a town of 20,000, which he burns to the ground using helicopter gunships firing incendiary shrapnel rockets. These photos by Brian Steidle - they are a bit large so they may take a minute to view - worth the look. More of his photographs at: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para Aumentar Some few people are returning to Lobado. Meanwhile, the UN might get around to sanctioning four others: Gaffar Mohamed El-Hassan, air force commander and arms dealer to Janjaweed militias; Sheikh Musa Hilal, Janjaweed leader; Adam Yacub Shant, SLA (Sudan Liberation Army) commander; and, Gabril Abdul Kareem Badri, one of the leaders of the National Movement for Reform and Development.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Three articles so far on the subject by Gwynne Dyer:
June 2004: State of war
June 2004: Sudan — peace in the south, war in the west
January 2005: Sudan deal, a Pandora’s box on borders

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarA little basic geography (naming the parts):
Sudan itself: Jamhuryat es Sudan, Sudan, Soudan, Súdan, Sudão, Sudán, Republiek Sudan, Republic of the Sudan, República do Sudão, República del Sudán, Republikken Sudan, Sudánská Demokratická Republika, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan

Divided into more-or-less autonomous North and South; 9 Regions or Provinces, 26 States or wilayat, and 133 (who knows how many) districts.

A nightmare of similar-but-not-quite-the-same names. I don't think there is another table like this anywhere, and even this is not quite 'on' - I know already that the Darfur capital 'Geneina' is often called 'Janaynah' and half a dozen other variants.

This is where Google Earth could really have done some service - and this is precisely the area where they completely miss the boat.

  Province / State  aka  Capital
  Ash Shamālīyah  Northern, Ash Shamaliyah, Ash Shamālī, Nord  Al Damar
    Ash Shamālīyah  Northern, Ash Shamālī, Nord  Dongula
    Nahr an Nīl  River Nile, An Nīl, Nil, Nile, Nile River, Nilen, Nilo  Al Damar
  Kassalā  Kassala, Ash Sharqī, Ash Sharqīyah, Eastern  Kassalā
    Al Bahr al Ahmar  Red Sea, Mar Rojo, Mar Rosso, Mar Vermelho, Mer Rouge, Röda Havet, Rødehavet, Rotes Meer  Port Sudan
    Kassalā  Kassala, Cassala, Kessala  Kassala
    Al Qadarif  Gedarif, Gadarif, Gedaref, Gederaf  Gedarif
  Dārfūr  Darfur, Darfour  El Fashir
    Shamāl Dārfūr  North Darfur, Dārfūr ash Shamālīyah, Darfur Septentrional  Al Fashir
    Gharb Dārfūr  West Darfur, Dārfūr al Gharbīyah  Geneina
    Janūb Dārfūr  South Darfur, Dārfūr al Janūbīyah, Darfur Méridional, Southern Darfur  Nyala
  Kurdufān  Kurdufan, Kordofan, Cordofão, Kordofam, Kòrdofan  El Obeid
    Shamāl Kurdufān  North Kordufan, Kordofan Septentrional, Kurdufān ash Shamālīyah, North Kordofan  Al Obeid
    Gharb Kurdufān  West Kordufan, Kurdufān al Gharbīyah, Gharb Kurdufun, Western Kordofan  Al Fula
    Janūb Kurdufān  South Kordufan, Kurdufān al Janūbīyah, Janub Kurdufun, Kordofan Méridional, South Kordofan  Kadugli
  Al Khurţūm  Khartoum, Al Khurtum, Cartum, Jartum, Khartum  Khartoum
    Al Khurţūm  Khartoum, Cartum, Jartum, Khartum  Khartoum
  An Nil al Azraq  Blue Nile, Al Wusţá, Al Awsat, Central  Wad Medani
    An Nīl al Abyad  White Nile, An Baḥr al Abyad, Nil Blanc, Nilo Branco  Rabak
    Sinnār  Sennar, Sinnar  Sinja
    Al Jazīrah  Gezira, El Gezira, Gezeira  Wad Medani
    An Nīl al Azraq  Blue Nile, Nil Bleu, Nilo Azul  Al-Damazin

  Bahr al Ghazal  Bahr al Gazal, Bahr el Ghazal  Wāw
    Gharb Bahr al Ghazāl  West Bahr al Ghazal, Bahr al Ghazāl al Gharbīyah, Bahr el Ghazal Occidental, Western Bahr el Ghazal  Wāw
    Shamāl Bahr al Ghazāl  North Bahr al Ghazal, North Bahr al Gazal, North Bahr el Ghazal  Awil
    Warab  Warap  Warab
    Al Buhayrāt  Lakes, Al Buhayrah, Al Buhairat, Buheirat, El Boheirat, El Buhayrat, El Buheyrah  Rumbek
  A`Ālī an Nīl  Upper Nile, A`Ali an Nil, Alto Nilo  Malakal
    Al Wahdah  Unity, Wahda  Bantio
    Junqalī  Jungoli, Jonglei, Jonglie, Jonqley, Junglei, Jongley  Bor
    A`Ālī an Nīl  Upper Nile, Nil Supérieur  Malakal
  Al Istiwā'īyah  Equatoria, Al Istiwaiyah, Al Istiwā'ī, Equatória  Juba
    Gharb al Istiwā'īyah  West Equatoria, Al Istiwā'īyah al Gharbīyah, Équatoria Occidental  Yambio
    Bahr al Jabal  Bahr el Gabel  Juba
    Sharq al Istiwā'īyah  East Equatoria, Al Istiwā'īyah ash Sharqīyah, Équatoria Oriental  Kapoita

'Sudan' itself derives from a word for black people; Bahr el Ghazal - river of the gazelles; Darfur - home of the Fur, tribal name; Gezira - the island, referring to the area between the White and Blue Nile; Khartoum - "the snout, from the shape of the land where the White and Blue Nile rivers meet.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarI wonder and wonder about it - Why is it happening? Why is it going on for so long? Why doesn't someone stop it? Can no one stop it? Trite bourgeois questions maybe, but you have to start where you are. In order to understand I must be able to imagine it somehow.

Nation against nation; faction militias against everyone; tribe against tribe; person against person. I came on some photographs (which I cannot now find) of violence at wells where farmers and herders compete for water. Then a paragraph in Tim Flannery's book, The Weather Makers caught me: "Pretend, for a moment, that you are a camel herder living in the Sudan. For all of your life you have known nothing but bad seasons, and in desperation you turned your herds into the lands of the farmers with whom you once intermarried and traded, where the livestock trample crops and sow discord." And yesterday I revisited Solzhenitsyn's thought that, "the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being."

Lake Chad has been dwindling towards the point of extinction for 40 years according to these NASA snapshots. I can imagine the kinds of pressures this puts on the people who live there - it must literally turn brother against brother. Lake Chad is not in Darfur of course, it is about 1,200 kilometres to the west, but some digging today shows me that there is huge competition for water in Darfur as well. I found some good maps at: UNOSAT - Satellite Imagery for All (there is a little joke here for people who know of Brasilian forro music), and: CDE - Centre for Development and Environment, one of which is a detailed map (it is a large pdf and takes a fewminutes to download for display) of Al Geneina at: Darfur - Al Geneina.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarFor now I am imagining global warming slowly drying the place out and creating violent anarchy; people aligning tribally and with jinjaweed warlords for some semblance of security and to struggle for diminishing resources; and a national and international matrix of power games on top of that.

I wonder what Gwynne Dyer thinks of Darfur? Stopping for now with this woman's beautiful smile, more later ...

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