ME and Ophelia

Sunday, July 18, 2004

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US Congress vote next week on genocide in Darfur

Surprise, surprise: a major update on the Sudan crisis :) Heh Nick, bet you couldn't wait :)

This week, I toyed with the idea of starting a second blog for my posts on Sudan. Instead, I ended up drafting a post to ask what you think. Which ended up sitting with all the other drafts in my email folder. My hesitation is more to do with the doubling of work - which may halve my energy - for both blogs. Right now, managing this entry is more than enough. So please bear with me on the Sudan posts.

The rainy season in Sudan and Chad is now hampering relief work. After the next two weeks, the end of July, will tell how things will develop in Sudan. If my hunches are correct, I may start the second blog for Sudan posts on August 1st. Although my blogging about the Sudan has brought me into touch with a great new bunch of blogmates - who also take a keen interest in the Sudan - I am afraid of losing my old blogmates who visit here because of a variety of posts that had nothing to do with politics or war and stuff.

Sorry I've been unable to publish since Monday. Several visitors here on Tues and Wed. And dear old Blogger had problems introducing new stuff, which in turn affected my Safari browser. I could publish OK but the posts would not show on this page.

Please -- hold on to your hats -- and get a cup of tea -- several days of posts are here below -- all in one go. A few in particular, composition and information wise, took me ages to put together. My reason for doing so is because I am logging history in the making. Which I find interesting. I've drafted a post that explains why I am posting on the Sudan. But every time I start working on completing it, half a dozen email alerts fly in from Google on Darfur, and I have to stop and read half a dozen news reports, and I get sidetracked on the Sudan for the rest of the day.

It sure takes a lot of hours finding, reading, ingesting, digesting, comparing, thinking, writing, editing, tidying, linking and publishing this stuff on the Sudan crisis. I admire those who do it for a living, working under pressure to deadlines - it must be stressful working on a big and important story - and getting the facts right.

The few extra minutes it would take for you to read my posts on the Sudan are well spent. Here's why. Most likely, you'll never have the time (or inclination) to read about Africa and the Sudan in such indepth online or in newspapers. By putting up with me and ophelia's posts on the Sudan, you are at least seeing history in the making and learning important things about the running of Africa.

Who knows, one day you could find yourself at work, or at a dinner or somewhere, where you might get into conversation with someone about oil, the cost of it, what you use in your car or oil fired heating, share prices or whatever, and get talking on to the politics of oil. And you just might think of stuff you saw in this blog and get a surprise to learn that you've remembered a whole load of important things about Sudan in Africa. I hope so. If not, no worries. I only blog to myself anyway ;)

PS As it has taken a day to publish the latest posts here, I'll need to take a blogging break to catch up on reading what my blogmates have been writing. Bye for now. Love from Ingrid and Ophelia xx
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The following is an excerpt from a Reuters report July 14 that gives a good update:

Sudan has opened its doors to aid groups seeking to help more than a million uprooted people in Darfur, but militia are still terrorizing villagers, a U.N. relief official said on Wednesday. Jan Egeland, the emergency relief coordinator, said he expected no verdict on Sudan's cooperation until U.N. officials evaluated the situation later this week.

U.N. Security Council envoys said they did not expect any action on a U.S.-drafted sanctions resolution until next week at the earliest, despite worldwide protests against Khartoum.

The resolution would put an immediate travel and arms ban on Darfur militia, called the Janjaweed, and threaten to extend the bans to Khartoum within a month if the government did not stop the killings, rape and uprooting of African villagers.

Britain and Germany, however, say this is too little, too late, and the world should put an immediate arms embargo on Sudan if the government does not live up to its obligations.

Over the past 16 months up to 30,000 people may have died so far and more than 100,000 have fled to neighboring Chad, U.N. figures show. With support from Sudan's military, the Janjaweed are accused of burning villages, kidnapping and enslaving children, contaminating water sources and systematically raping women.

UN said Wednesday: "Relief goods had been looted, and humanitarian workers had been attacked by militia and rebel groups, though not necessarily through government inaction. Concerns are that those uprooted are being pressured to leave camps and return to their villages, where they would be prey to the militia. "This is one of the key points to monitor -- that return is voluntary and security is reestablished for the civilian population."

U.S. Ambassador John Danforth noted there would be a meeting on Thursday (July 15) in Khartoum between U.N., United States and Sudanese officials to see which benchmarks "they have honored or not honored; and then we will proceed from there, sometime after Thursday, maybe early next week," he told reporters. In addition, diplomats said the United States had privately given the Sudanese some undisclosed deadlines, which had not yet expired.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir promised U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan nearly two weeks ago to disarm militias, begin political talks with rebels and provide access for international aid agencies as well as send police to Darfur to protect civilians.

In the 15-nation U.N. Security Council, Russia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Algeria and Brazil are waiting to see what Khartoum will do. The two sub-Saharan African members, Angola and Benin, have not made their positions clear.

Chile and Europeans Britain, France, Spain, Germany and Romania either support the U.S. resolution or want the tougher measures, council sources said.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 7/18/2004
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