Yet another church leader I met in a completely different area had a similar story and perspective. "Musa" was stabbed repeatedly and left for dead after NCP troops attacked his church in 1997. Thinking Musa was dead, one NCP soldier cut off his left ear as a trophy. Musa told me that if the SPLM is defeated in the present war, the same persecution will return to the Nuba Mountains because the same regime is still in power in Khartoum.
And this is what I heard over and over again during my trip: the same people who committed war crimes in the Nuba Mountains before are doing it again today.
Commander Abdelazia joins with the church in singing hymns at a spontaneous worship service deep in the mountains.
The UN ended humanitarian relief efforts in June, and most NGOs operating under the UN umbrella pulled out. All roads to the north have been closed, and the rainy season in South Sudan has affectively closed supply routes to the south until the fall. The daily bombings have terrorized the local population to the degree that normal cultivation is not taking place during this crucial planting season. The Nuba Mountains are isolated, cut off, and f acing a humanitarian crisis within 60 days unless relief flights are allowed to recommence. And this will not happen while SAF MiGs and Antonov bombers and gunships patrol the skies. The NCP refuses to allow UN observers into the Nuba Mountains to document what is happening, which should not surprise anyone.
It is absolutely essential that the international community bring pressure to bear on the United Nations to immediately declare a Humanitarian Emergency in the Nuba Mountains and impose a "no-fly" zone to stop the bombing campaign and allow humanitarian access so that relief flights back into the region may resume.
Photo of me with weapons in a Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLS) camp, Nuba Mountains, 2004.
There is no justification in my mind for bombing Libya, while doing nothing in the Nuba Mountains. Seasoned reporters from the New York Times, Time Magazine, Aljazeera English, The Independent in Great Britain, and others have visited the Nuba Mountains and brought back testimonies, pictures, and video proving that war crimes are being committed against the Nuba people by the NCP regime. I have included copies of several of these articles with my testimony.
How is it, then, that the US government still claims there is not enough evidence to charge the NCP with war crimes? Why does the US government treat with the NCP and the victims of their crimes with moral equivalency? Based on the history of the NCP, and what we know about what they are doing today in Darfur, in Abyei, and in the Nuba Mountains, it amazes me how the US and the international community could tolerate these killers for so long, yet aggressively pursue other villains who have not killed 1/100th of the people for which Omar al-Bashir and his regime are responsible.
Three million lives-and counting. When will we say, "Enough"?
The writer of the NYT bestseller, "Son of Hamas", Ron Brackin has traveled extensively in the Middle East as an investigative journalist. He was in the West Bank and Gaza during the Al-Aqsa Intifada; on assignment in Baghdad and Mosul after the fall of Iraq; and more recently with the rebels and refugees of Southern Sudan and Darfur. Ron is the author of other books and has contributed articles and columns to many publications, including USA Today and The Washington Times. He was a broadcast journalist with WTOP-AM, Post-Newsweek's all-news radio station in Washington D.C. and weekend news anchor on Metromedia's WASH-FM. And he served as a congressional press secretary under the Reagan Administration. Visit his website at http://ronbrackin.com or his blog athttp://ronbrackin2.wordpress.