Besieged in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains – Nick Kristof (click to watch video)
Right now in the Nuba mountains in South Kordofan Sudan the Khartoum government is bombing its own civilians. The SPLM rebels hold most of the territory in the Nuba mountains and are Nubian (black African). The government in the north wants to exterminate these people, take the land and eradicate all the tribal people as they tried to do in the two civil wars. Nick Kristof, of the New York Times, is again a stalwart reporting on these atrocities.
The violence has resulted in the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan. The Khartoum government also bombed this camp in November, 2011. An act of war, a violation of sovereignty and something that went unsanctioned by the international community.
In his video report he says, “the world has Sudan fatigue.” This rings true. We’ve heard enough about African suffering in Sudan and elsewhere over the last 50 years and tend to be very cynical about the suffering taking place there. We talk of Africa, Darfur, Sudan, Uganda instead of talking about and looking at the people being killed and those doing the killing. The international community can intervene and successfully stop or severely slow the bombings. Much like it could do the same in Syria, Bahrain, and elsewhere.
My friend, mentor, and professor of communication, Ben Voth advocates no fly zones. The crisis in South Kordofan would be well served by no fly zones. As I mentioned the SPLM rebels (a South Sudan affiliated group) hold most of the territory in the Nuba mountains. This makes it difficult for the government to send in traditional ground troops or the janjaweed as in Darfur. So, instead of traditional ground troops the government has resorted to bombing. With the enforcement of a no fly zone the ethnic cleansing, systematic killing would be slowed. This would, however, leave the humanitarian crisis of forced starvation to deal with, but it would be a start.
Perhaps what we need is more images like that of the woman in the video. She was hit by shrapnel from the bomb. It cut through her breast and exposed her lung.
Or, pictures of scared families hiding in caves from bombs.
Or, the pain and fear on the faces of children. Or, video of the starving children.
We, communication folks, citizens of the world and those who pursue social justice have a responsibility. Our responsibility is not to swoop in like superman with a messianic complex, nor is it to simply promise to discuss this, nor is it to say “that’s Africa for ya.” But it is our responsibility to act, reflexively and with sensitivity, but boldly to save lives while creating the least disruption possible. Plainly, a no fly zone and humanitarian aid seems a no brainer … what will you do?