Darfur Fast for Life

We fast in solidarity with the hungry and starving in Darfur and for lasting peace in Sudan

Day 22

May 09, 2009 By: Admin Category: Shannon Sedgwick Davis

I was actually a bit hungry today which was kind of surprising as I haven’t been hungry in a while. This morning started off with news of Mia needing to stop the fast. I was so encouraged by her heart and passion for this and am so grateful to Richard for taking the baton. There was also some bad news from Sudan. An extremely important conference that was to take place in Ethiopia this weekend has been cancelled due to intimidation by the Government of Sudan. Bashir continues to wield his evil ways and we the global community continue to sit back and watch. Kristof with the Times covered the news well with his blog, here is his take: http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/08/another-hope-dashed-in-darfur/

May 8, 2009, 5:31 pm
Another Hope Dashed in Darfur
By Nicholas Kristof

One of the truly hopeful signs recently for Sudan was “Mandate Darfur,” the effort to get Sudanese civil society from Darfur to talk together in Addis Ababa and try to form common positions as a step toward reaching a negotiated solution. The effort was led by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, started by the Sudanese telecoms tycoon of the same name, and it should have been an effort to put Sudanese in charge of their own destiny. And ultimately the only way the madness in Darfur will end is if Sudanese themselves hammer out their differences (and Darfuris have ancient dispute-settlement methods to do just that) and reach a peace agreement.

Unfortunately, with the Addis Ababa conference about to take place, the Sudanese government has refused permission for key players to attend. As a result, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation regretfully cancelled the conference. The Foundation said:

Despite numerous attempts at engagement with the Sudanese government, including sending a delegation to Khartoum and inviting senior figures to address the conference, we were greatly disappointed that Sudanese security services harassed our delegates, confiscated passports and threatened the conference coordinators in Sudan. Ultimately, the government has refused to grant exit visas to the delegates making it impossible for the conference to proceed.

There’s a tendency for new arrivals on the scene — and I’m afraid this may include General Scott Gration, the Obama administration’s envoy — to talk to Sudanese officials, find them intelligent and reasonable, and think, “Hey, I can deal with these people.” It takes about 9 months to discover that they are lying through their teeth. I hope that this Sudanese government action to block a peace conference encourages the Obama administration to look with more skepticism on Sudanese promises and to work harder to bring about peace. This cancelled conference is truly a lost opportunity, but if there is enough of an international outcry — particularly from China and the Arab world — then it just might be reversed so that the peace process could take a step forward.

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