Dear Tim Barrus,
You do not write enough. When you write, I listen. Sometimes I grow very dark inside in order to listen. But I listen. When you said show me your life you had my complete attention. I have never believed that white people wanted to know anything about my life. You white people were the teachers, the lawyers, the doctors, and the law. All my life. We were there to shine your shoes, and kiss your white ass.
You don’t need to know who I am. Know this, white boy. I could have been up there with Spike Jones. I could have made it as an artist. That is not the point. I do not believe and I do not know anyone who believes that if you just work hard enough, it’s going to happen for you. It probably won’t.
My work will never be anywhere near the center. It will only happen at the edges. The edges where slavery is no abstraction, and abstraction is exactly that.
When I heard that you were doing Show Me Your Life I thought you do not mean me. What do you mean, you do not need me? You do need me. My sister has been beaten up and she’s dying. You do need me. You just don’t understand how badly you need me.
You need me terribly. I’m the only person you know who is cognizant of where all the players are at any given point in time.
I will send this and wonder. I would challenge you to come out from behind the camera. Exchanging places. Is it about how I made this as a black man who has no access. Or is this about what story is being told and has been constructed as metaphor and images. White people won’t like it. Black people will not like it anymore than white people. Or maybe it is not about race at all. I suspect it is far more about voice than anything. I feel like my voice is always dancing in the darkness and the best I will ever do is called just barely hanging on.
You are not going to want to hear this, and please do not send me the contest rules, but could I be a part of Show Me Your Life?
You are correct. You are nowhere on anyone’s radar screen. I’ve asked around. No one knows you — and then they stop mid-sentence — suddenly, they think they know you. I do not care where these images came from anymore than I care where you came from. PLACE doesn’t hold any mystery for me. I am no romantic. People think I might be. But then they find out otherwise.
I do not care where you got the images. They are only images and as such, they have the power to make us think. I do not care what your name is. I care about the story you are attempting to tell. I care about how it means all of us. Every single last person on the planet. I care about who can access that.
— Tim Barrus
Northern Sudan & Southern Sudan
Northern Sudan leaders regularly proclaim their goal of transforming Northern Sudan into an Islamic state with one language, Arabic, and one religion, Islam. Almost all Muslims are Sunni, although there are significant distinctions between followers of different Sunni traditions. There is a small Shi’a community.
Omar al-Bashir, who seized power in 1989 created a totalitarian federal government supporting Arab militias terrorizing the southern regions, such as raiding non-Afro Arab villages and looting them both for property and for slaves. The U.S. State Department's human-rights report issued in March 2007 claims that “all parties to the conflagration committed serious abuses, including widespread killing of civilians, rape as a tool of war, systematic torture, robbery and recruitment of child soldiers." Civilians alleging torture add to the list, fingernails being torn out, burning plastic bags dripped on children to make their parents hand over weapons, and villagers being burned alive in their huts. The Director of one Juba-based international aid agency calls them "human rights abuses off the Richter scale".
On 4 March 2008, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the ongoing conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan, the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC.And on 12 July 2010, the ICC issued a second arrest warrant for al-Bashir, adding the charge of genocide.
Following a referendum held in January 2011, the results had shown that 98.83% of the population had voted for independence from Sudan, Southern Sudan is expected to become an independent country on 9 July 2011. Upon independence, the country will be named Southern Sudan (Republic of South Sudan). A majority of southern Sudanese maintain traditional/indigenous beliefs with those following Christianity in a minority (albeit an influential one).
March 13, 2011: Pagan Amum, the secretary-general of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, repeated allegations that the northern government is arming local tribes to use as proxy forces, a tactic it has repeatedly used in both southern Sudan and the western region of Darfur. The oil-rich south voted in January to secede from the north, but there are many issues that still remain un-addressed, including the sharing of oil revenues, the status of southerners or northerners living across the border, and who controls the disputed border region of Abyei, a fertile area near large oil fields.
Southern Sudan, is a landlocked autonomous region in the southern part of the Sudan. It held an independence referendum in January 2011. Juba is its capital city. To the north lies the predominantly Arab and Muslim region directly under the control of the central government, with its capital at Khartoum. The region’s autonomous status is a condition of a peace agreement between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) and the Government of Sudan represented by the National Congress Party, ending the Second Sudanese Civil War. The conflict was Africa’s longest running civil war. Southern Sudan is also bordered by Ethiopia to the east; Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south; and the Central African Republic to the west.
Official language(s): Arabic, English.
Recognised regional languages: Juba Arabic is lingua franca around Juba; Dinka 2–3 million; other major languages are Nuer, Zande, Bari, Shilluk.
Ethnic Groups: Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Lotuko, Kuku, Zande, Mundari, Kakwa, Pojula, Shilluk, Moru, Acholi, Madi, Lulubo, Lokoya, Toposa, Lango, Didinga, Murle, Anuak, Makaraka, Mundu, Jur, Kaliko, and others.
March 13, 2011 (Associated Press) JUBA. Southern Sudan is suspending talks and diplomatic contact with northern Sudan over claims that the northern government is funding militias in the south, a top Southern Sudanese official said Sunday.
The announcement, which follows clashes that have killed hundreds of people in recent months, could further destabilize what will become the world's newest country in July.
Pagan Amum, the secretary-general of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, on Sunday repeated allegations that the northern government is arming local tribes to use as proxy forces, a tactic it has repeatedly used in both southern Sudan and the western region of Darfur.
"The country is in a crisis because the (northern ruling party) has been planning and working to destabilize Southern Sudan," he told reporters in the southern capital of Juba. He offered to provide documentary evidence on Monday.
The oil-rich south voted in January to secede from the north, but there are many issues that still remain unaddressed, including the sharing of oil revenues, the status of southerners or northerners living across the border, and who controls the disputed border region of Abyei, a fertile area near large oil fields.
Many southerners fear the north does not want to lose southern oil revenues and the two regions may resume their decades-long civil war.
Amum said that the northern government wanted "to overthrow the government of Southern Sudan before July and to install a puppet government" in order to "deny the independence of Southern Sudan.
"They have stepped up their destabilization of Southern Sudan by creating, training, and arming and financing various militia groups in Southern Sudan," he said.
Negotiations over the future of the volatile and contested north-south borderland of Abyei were set to resume Monday in Khartoum between Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and southern leader Salva Kiir, with former South African president Thabo Mbeki mediating the talks, but Amum said Sunday that these negotiations would not go ahead as planned.
"We have nobody to talk to (in the north)," said Amum. The northern government has "been arming Arab tribes ... so that they carry out genocide and destroy Southern Sudan ... like what they have done in Darfur."
Amum called on the United Nations Security Council to investigate the allegations.
The suspension of talks follows a raid by rebel forces opposed to the southern government early Saturday. The rebels attacked southern army forces in the strategic town of Malakal, capital of oil-rich Upper Nile state.
Army spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said 40 rebels and two southern army soldiers were killed.
A U.N. official said that during the fighting, rebel forces had taken hostage 103 children from an orphanage and used them briefly as human shields. He asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
The rebel forces were repelled from the town by the army, but fighting continued sporadically throughout the day and into the evening as the military attempted to flush out rebels hiding throughout the town.
WARNING: Explicit Imagery and Colloquial Language
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
The United Nations took the firm position that genocide and slavery were world crimes, and should be eradicated and those engaged in it should be put on trial by the world court in The Hague, (Resolution 260 (111 A), UN General Assembly).
"Widespread Gang-Rape of Boy Slaves by Arab Masters" by Maria Sliwa
(Freedom Now World News: Sudan)
During a recent fact finding trip to Southern Sudan, Freedom Now World News discovered overwhelming evidence that young black, boy slaves are repeatedly gang-raped by their Arab masters. While previous reports on slavery have focused mainly on the gang-rape of female slaves, sociologist and investigative reporter Maria Sliwa received testimony from numerous boy victims of rape.
"FAITH UNDER FIRE: Arab masters raping boy slaves" By Mandi Steele
"If you refuse [sex], sometimes they would shoot you"
Adolescent boy slaves in southern Sudan report that their Arab masters routinely rape them, according to Freedom Now World News, which just returned from the embattled African nation.
In an exclusive interview with WorldNetDaily, Maria Sliwa, reporter for Freedom Now and sociologist, discussed the widespread abuse of Sudanese slaves by their Muslim captors.
Sliwa interviewed Denka chiefs, Arabs and former slaves while on a recent "fact-finding trip" in the slave regions of southern Sudan.
"The most marked thing that I noted was the admission of rape by a number of the young boys," she said.
Redeemed slave Deng Ayuel told Sliwa through a Denka translator, "I watched the Arabs rape my two sisters, and I watched many slave boys being raped as well. They would often take a girl or boy and do whatever they wanted with them sexually. I, too, was raped many times by my master and his Arab friends."
There have been previous reports of female slaves being gang raped in Sudan, but Sliwa discovered that many male captives were also being gang raped. She felt it was important to let others know in the hope that slavery in Sudan might eventually end.
"The more this information gets out, the better," she said.
"This type of sex is very strange to us," Deng Deng, another freed slave, testified. "Many times during rape, boys would cry so loudly that the Arabs would stuff rags in their mouths so they could not be heard. I witnessed this often. If you refuse [sex], sometimes they would shoot you." Deng Deng said he was beaten many times because he was a Christian and wouldn't convert to Islam.
The boys described their masters taking them to a "special place" right before a rape would occur, says Sliwa. As they were being taken to this place, the boys would try to escape but would be hunted down like animals, she explains.
The rebels of southern Sudan, a mostly Christian and animist region, are fighting for autonomy from the radical National Islamic Front regime, which aims to impose Islamic law on the entire country. Since 1983, about 2 million people have died from the fighting and war-related famine.
Sliwa described how the National Islamic Front takes slaves, saying, "Sometimes government soldiers attack a town. They want to make it into their town. They want to take it away from the civilians. … Then they take the women and children, and they kill a lot of the elderly."
Those taken are then tied up and forced to walk to "slave centers," says Sliwa, where they are auctioned off or traded to Arab masters. Both the Arabs that capture the civilians and the Arab masters are "quite brutal" to them, she says.
"Not in every single case, but in most cases, they're being victimized and raped by both the captors and the masters and the masters' Arab friends," Sliwa told WND.
Accompanying Christian Solidarity International, to various redemptions in southern Sudan, Sliwa learned how black Denka slaves are freed. Certain Arabs called "retrievers" work with the Denka and CSI to free some of those who have been taken captive. Sliwa says a while back the Denka told the Arab retrievers that to have use of the Denka land to water their cattle, they would have to help free some of the Denka slaves. These retrievers make their money through raising cattle, thus they agreed to help the Denka, she says.
"The retrievers are actually horrified, because they go into these Muslim towns and they see how these women and children are treated," said Sliwa.
"It's very rare for a Muslim to speak out against another Muslim … but these guys were speaking out against them."
From her interviews with Arab retrievers, Sliwa learned that sometimes the slaves have to be bought from their masters, and other times the slaves are so old and disabled that the masters simply give them away. If an Arab is having sex with a female slave, the wife may find out and take the slave to the retrievers herself, she adds.
"The way the wife usually finds out is the slave has an Arab baby," explained Sliwa.
The National Islamic Front has been threatening the Arab retrievers because the government doesn't want them to have anything to do with the Denka, Sliwa says.
"They don't want the Arabs and Denkas being friends," she told WND.
"Many of the freed male slaves come to the chiefs and tell us they were repeatedly raped by their Arab captors," Nhial Chan Nhial, paramount chief of Akon, said to Sliwa. "This affects their minds badly. They are subject to fits of crying, mental problems and are often unable to marry later on in life."
Sliwa is convinced that the International Criminal Tribunal needs to convict the Sudan government for their crimes against the black Africans of southern Sudan and that the U.S. government should investigate the rape and murder offenses being committed. The media outlets also have a responsibility to get the news of these crimes out to the rest of the world, she says.
While noting that there are human-rights groups and different church organizations working to help the people of Sudan, Sliwa said, "I think we can all do more."
1 December 2010: Juba. The Southern Sudan Aids Commission (SSAC) is increasing delivery of services to those affected by HIV and Aids. The Commission has recently appointed a new Chairperson, Dr Esterina Novello Nyilok, who hopes that more people will take advantage of free HIV testing and treatment programs in the lead-up to World Aids Day on December 1st.
Current infection rates across Southern Sudan are hard to predict due to the difficulty of producing accurate data, however the Ministry of Health estimates that HIV affects approximately 3% of the adult population. Dr Nyilok insists, “anything above 1% has to be taken seriously.” She acknowledges the “excellent relationship” between the SSAC and their donors and partners. “The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is the major resource,” along with key partners such as the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, UNICEF, UNFPA and others.
The SSAC was formed in 2006 with the mandate to ensure that “HIV and AIDS transmission is minimised and its impact on families and individuals is reduced,” says the Chairperson. “Our role in the Commission is to recommend strategies to control the spread of the disease.” The SSAC is tasked with mobilising communities to respond to HIV and managing HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment within Southern Sudan.
Dr Nyilok puts the number of HIV-positive people living in Southern Sudan at around 300,000. “Only three thousand people are currently accessing treatment,” she says. Delivery of treatment is complicated by poor road infrastructure, constraints in the management of treatment sites, and the challenges in transporting medication, often requiring planes to reach remote destinations. “After twenty-one years of war, most of our infrastructure has been destroyed and accessibility to health infrastructure is very low,” says Dr Nyilok. “You have only twenty-five percent of the population accessing health services.” However, there is good news in terms of the recent arrival of Anti-Retro Viral medication to treat HIV-positive people free of charge, as well as awareness campaigns aimed at the public.
The Southern Sudan Aids Commission remains committed to ensuring a better life for those who are HIV positive. “Our theme for World Aids Day is universal access to treatment and care,” says Dr Nyilok. “Human rights for people living with HIV is fundamental. If they are threatened or discriminated against, it will further the spread of HIV. These people should be protected.”“Southern Sudan says it will suspend talks with north” by MAGGIE FICK