Mohamed Suleiman, a native of the North Darfur village of Umbarow and a member of the Zaghawa tribe, is currently a resident of Northern California and a member of the SF Bay Area Darfur Coalition. Umbarow, located in the Zaghawa heartland, was burned and destroyed by the Goverment of Sudan and Janjaweed. Mohamed lost members of his family in the Darfur genocide; his mother and siblings still reside in Darfur. Today, a camp near the Umbarow remains provides refuge for approximately 13,000 displaced individuals.
Mohamed’s activism includes spreading awareness of the depth and extent of the genocide and translating English language news and advocacy into Arabic and posting these materials on the Internet so that the Sudanese people realize the actual depth of atrocities committed by the Government of Sudan and its surrogates, the Janjaweed, against their fellow country people in Darfur. Mohamed adds, “I also want to wake up some of the Sudanese intellectuals who are still in denial and bring them to the ugly reality that the genocide in their country is committed by none other than Sudanese just like them. The main goal of conducting an intensive campaign of educating the public in general and those who live in an African country in particular is to bring the words ‘NEVER AGAIN’ to their fullest meaning.”
Mohamed believes it is important for him and for other Sudanese in the United States and in other democratic countries to speak out, saying that “Silence only encourages dictators like Al-Bashir to continue committing atrocities against their own people over and over. Sudanese in the western countries and especially Darfurians should be the voice for the voiceless victims back home and assist in bringing the perpetrators to justice. It is very important that the Darfurians should not become indifferent to the advocacy work and movement nor should they dismiss the importance of their individual contributions in keeping the Darfur plight in the front burner of the media and the concerned entities and institutions. Sudanese, and Darfurians in particular, should participate actively in all events and activities about stopping genocide anywhere.”
While today I start fasting in solidarity with my people in Darfur, fasting is a norm in many homes and villages across Darfur. The world may react to the blood scenes or dead bodies to acknowledge that there are atrocities committed by the regime in Khartoum. Yet starvation and thirst could escape photographic or audio capture. This what Albashir counts on to keep Genocide grinding the lives of Darfur and squeeze life out of them. It is an evil plan of the Government of Sudan to rid Darfur of its original people. Expelling 13 international NGOs is a deliberate step to impose harsh living conditions further in Darfur. This expulsion has only one outcome: starvation, thirst, disease in Darfur.
I salute Mia Farrow who initiated this fast for Darfur and for her tireless work to bring justice and lasting peace to the people of Darfur. I salute as well all the decent people who had and are participating in this noble human gesture: Fasting for Darfur.