Former Ambassador Speaks on the Troubles in Sudan
Conditions in Sudan, and particularly in Darfur, are key areas of concern for many around the world as debate rages over whether or not "slavery" and "genocide" are accurate terms to describe what is happening in the strife-filled African nation. During the late 1990s, Western media outlets confidently painted a picture of what was widely reported as "slavery" in the country and recent reports have tied the term "genocide" to what is occurring. Are such reports reflective of what is actually happening? The Black House News (BHN) put these questions and more to former Sudanese diplomat Babiker Ali Khalifa (BAK) who served as Sudanese Ambassador to Korea from 2001-2005.
Now a resident of Denver, Colorado, Dr. Khalifa is a part-time professor of African American studies at Metropolitan State College. He originally came to America in 1979 as a diplomat to the Sudan Mission in New York and then moved to Denver in 1991 for his post-graduate studies. In 1993, he returned to Africa to work in Somalia but moved back to Colorado in 1996.
Although he no longer holds an official post with the Sudanese government, he continues to work with
the United Nations (UN) in the Sudan and other African countries. The 52-year-old husband and father
spoke by phone to BHN about Sudan, the country in which he was born and raised (Read the full article)
quote:[BHN] - What is one of the most misunderstood things about the Sudan because in past years there was an uproar about alleged slavery in Sudan and now they're calling it genocide going on in Darfur.
[BAK] - Regarding slavery, slavery was an institution which was accepted a long time ago by the whole world. In fact, historically it was the European slave trader who enslaved our people when more than 40 million people were brought as slaves from Africa. Half of them died in the Atlantic Ocean and the rest arrived in the new found land of North or South America, or the Caribbean. Most of them are coming from the West African area and even from inside the Sudanic area. The Sudanic belt extends from Sudan, Chad, Niger, up to Senegal and Ghana.
Slavery now is not practiced in Sudan, [however], it is true there is a kind of servitude that when certain tribes attack other tribes, they take people as prisoners and make them like servants. What is happening in Darfur, in order to categorize anything as a genocide, genocide has to be determined by the United Nations, by a multilateral institution not by a single country. Genocide is elimination of a certain tribe or race, for example what happened between the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda, that was genocide. It means elimination of a certain race and what is happening in Sudan, it is very complicated and people have to know the area.
What is happening in Darfur you can call it – not genocide – [but] ethnocide. Genocide means elimination of a certain race while ethnocide means disputes, fighting and killing among people of different ethnicities. It is not genocide, it is ethnocide.........
(Read the full interview at: http://bhonline.org/index.php?topic=273.0)