Fellow Sudanese blogger Drima and I were fortunate enough to get a chance to interview Dr. Akec Khoc, the Sudanese Ambassador to the United States. Dr. Akec Khoc is a former exiled physician who was has spent years treating refugees in camps in Ethiopia and has a long record in health care advocacy for the displaced and marginalized peoples of Southern Sudan.
The interview is currently exclusively available on Drima’s blog, ‘The Sudanese Thinker’. Click here to listen to it.
We encourage the mainstream media to use this interview, provided that they appropriately credit Sudanese Optimist and The Sudanese Thinker as their source.
Al-Bashir. The recently indicted president made his first trip outside Sudan to travel to Eritrea.
Ouch. The ICC’s feelings must really be hurt.
It is no secret that the recent ICC indictment of president Al-Bashir has undermined the stability and possibly even sovereignty of Sudan. Regardless of many Sudanese officials declaring their disregard of the indictment, and many Arab countries’ demonstrating solidarity with Al-Bashir, deep down inside everyone is well aware that this will, sooner or later, have grave consequences for Sudan and its people.
However, despite the grim and ominous mood, some are fortunately still maintaining a refreshing sense of humor about the ICC ruling. Suawiya Khader Al-Amin, an attorney and lecturer in shari’a and law could now add ‘comedian’ to his resume. According to a recent report by the London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Mr. Al-Amin has demanded of Sudan’s Islamic Fiqh Council that it issue a fatwa permitting the killing of International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, following his decision to issue an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.
His justification for his not at all ridiculous demand is that Ocampo’s decision would lead to civil war among the Muslims in Sudan.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is what I call irony at its purest and finest form.
“We hope that the State of Qatar declines to receive [President] Al-Bashir to attend the Arab Summit; if not we would be forced to reconsider our position on the peace process.”
JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim
In an interesting turn of events, Palestinians are now out on the streets in support of none other than Sudan’s Al Bashir. What in the world? Never thought I’d see this day!
So I’ve been known to wear a kiffeyeh once in a while–should I expect to see little Palestinian munchkins wearing a 3imma soon?
Ironic humor aside, thanks for your concern Palestinian citizens! As for Hamas’ support of Omar Al-Bashir, uh, thanks but no thanks!
Every media outlet is giving a voice to a plethora of self appointed political pundits, common-sense-loathing activists, and confused citizens of the earth, all trying to make sense of the International Criminal Court’s issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Omar Al-Bashir. However, the one voice that seems to have been muffled by the pandemonium surrounding the issue is that of the Sudanese citizen. I ask: what about me Luis Ocampo? What about the millions of Sudanese citizens that have clearly demonstrated their opposition to your request to arrest our president? Is it justice when an outsider intervenes in my country’s affairs? Whatever happened to democracy? I might just agree with presidential adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail who described the move as ‘neo-colonization.’
The ICC has shown its lackadaisical disregard for concerns of erosion of North Sudanese unity with the semi-autonomous South, and completely ignored the pan-Arab solidarity with the Sudanese President to protect the sovereignty of Sudan-all in the name of elusive justice.
The human in me is cheering for even the mere symbolic attainment of justice for the thousands of lives that perished as a result of the Darfur conflict. The president should be held responsible for inhumane actions committed by him, his army, and/or the paramilitary activities conducted under his watch. I would be hard-pressed to find a person who believes Omar Al-Bashir is an entirely innocent man. He is not innocent, but what is he guilty of? Well apparently everything but genocide– the very label that fueled the debate on whether or not to indict the Sudanese president.
On the other hand, the pragmatist in me is questioning the effectiveness of the ICC’s decision, and the extent of ‘justice’ it will provide for the victims of the Darfur conflict. It could be too early for the man on the street to speculate, but I sincerely hope that Luis Ocampo and the ICC have a follow-up plan to assuage the commotion caused by the indictment of a sitting head of state. Does the ICC consider this the end result, or a starting point in the quest of peace and justice in Sudan? This question remains unanswered.
I regret that the inappropriately overzealous Luis Ocampo and the ICC exploited the conflict in Darfur to flex their muscles and show that the newly formed court is a judicial institution with teeth. More than two hundred thousand people have been killed– I regret that the ICC chose to react after the fact. Most of all, I regret that the ICC has deprived Sudanese citizens of the chance to determine the fate of their own country’s president through democratic means.
Regardless of Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s innocence or culpability, as a concerned Sudanese citizen I am worried that Sudan might be left without a leader with enough political reach or gravitas to keep the nation in one piece–literally.