Sunday, October 23, 2005

Aid workers in El Geneina, West Darfur, are yawning and complaining this morning following a night of particularly loud and violent shoot-outs. As usual, there is little clarity about who is shooting at whom (though the Janjaweed feature as the most popular character in any tale), or even why - but anyone with a pair of ears can confirm that the shelling did not let up until the early hours of the morning. Today Geneina, as so often over these past few weeks, once again seems like a lawless outpost in a wild, wild west scene.

A dusty little town only 30kms from the Chadian border, Geneina does actually look like it belongs in some kind of country and western movie: horses and donkeys meander through the streets, men with big guns saunter through the market, and there isn't a single paved road in sight (and this includes the airport runway, where aid workers regularly sit inside little HAS planes after a heavy rain, waiting for the gravel air strip to dry enough for the planes to take off).

While people somehow still manage to joke about the night's events, there is no denying that everyone is tense. There are rumours that the bandit networks that have been terrorising cars and trucks on the roads of West Darfur (the UN has recently declared all roads leading outside of Geneina off limits for travel) have started moving inside the state capital itself to continue their looting sprees. Aid agencies are struggling to decide what this means for their operations and whether or not it's safe to stay put and continue operating.

But for the moment - and, as usual - the only thing that people seem to be agreeing on is that Darfur's still a mess, and that anything could happen next - and that the only way of not dwelling on it too much (at least for those of us not making any of the big political and security decisions) is simply to get back to work.

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At , Blogger John1975 said...

It's my opinion, and a humble opinion mind-you, that things will not really improve unless you get some kind of "force" in there to battle it out with the rebels or what ever side is the bad side.

I have little experience in this region of the world so my opinion is simply based on my past experiences. Sorry If I come off as ignorant when I speak of the current crisis where you are at.

But, what that place needs is a large group of whoever to go in there and stand up to the ones hurting the civilians. Sure, members of this group will be killed but, men who choose to engage in such activities know and accept this whole heartedly.

This group needs to win the support of the local civilian population where valuable intelligence can be gained.

Why did Russia have such a problem in Afghanistan in the 80s while America gained control in only a few months? Because the "people", the civilians were tired of the Taliban and their oppressive ways. America had the civilians on their side who wanted the Taliban out.

The same could happen in Darfur but, sadly, there is no "reward-for-war" in that area.

When I say reward I mean something the invading force can get out of fighting. In Afghanistan the motivating factor was 9/11.

In Darfur the motivating factor is simply the African Union feels it has to be there simply because they are apart of the African continent.

I get the sense that these "peacekeepers" are there because they are forced to be there by some higher power.

Sadly, the only motivating factor to even intervene in the first place was the innocent suffering of civilians. This in it's self just isn't "valuable" enough to those who have the capability to improve things.

I honestly believe it would be rather easy to defeat these rebels or thugs in the area with a highly trained, motivated force with first class leadership, intelligence and logistics.

It's very possible but, no one wants to spend the money it takes to do it right or put their necks on the line.

Again this is only my opinion of things.

I actually hope within 10 years to have a "company" fortunate enough to go in and make the difference I spoke of above.

Until someone comes up with such an organization the innocent civilians of this world are going to have to rely on corrupt governments, politics and greed.

Again, just my opinion,


At , Blogger lachrymatory_of_frozen_tears said...

hello, Sleepless in Sudan!

i am writing a paper on the conflict in Darfur. can you tell me anything about El Geneinan before the city was ravaged? was there any centers for education such as universities or colleges?

thanks so much, keep safe.

God bless.

Girl from the USA

At , Blogger melissa said...

Dear Sleepless in Sudan,
I am confused and trying to figure out if the Sudanese gov. is connected to Bin Laden whether directly of just by influence. This would clear a lot of the smoke in my mind about what should be done in Darfur as far as America steping in and actually fighting on behalf of the people. I think that the U.S. should and I also think that the reason we haven't is split. I think it's the Arab's oil, and the fear of retaliation by like the taliban. But that is why I am asking you because I don't really know.


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