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Situation in Sudan-Nuba Mountains draws Sri Lanka ‘Killing Fields’ parallel

Callum MacRae

The military onslaught being carried out by Sudan in Nuba Mountains in the midst of the birth of South Sudan has been compared to ‘Killing Fields’ in Sri Lanka by its director Callum MacRae via his twitter feed. In a tweet to UN Ambassador of United States Susan Rice, Callum MacRae said: ‘Important parallels between what happened in Sri Lanka killingfields & beginning to happen now in Nuba’.

The TIME magazine in a feature article appearing in the July 18th issue titled ‘Sudan: The violent birth of two nations’ highlights the humanitarian catastrophe faced by the people of Nuba Mountains, situated between Sudan and South Sudan, as follows may ring this parallel between Sri Lanka “Killing Fields”:

“Though the Nuba, ethnic black Africans, fought alongside the South Sudan at a cost of around 200,000 lives, their state of South Kordofan ended up inside the new north along with Darfur to the west and a third restive state, Blue Nile, to the East. Last December, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al Bashir proclaimed that their new northern Sudan would be monolithic Islamic Arab state. “We will change the constitution, and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity,” he declared. “Shari’a [law] and Islam will be the main source of constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.”

Further upping the stakes, on June 1, though stalling on other elements of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the north-south war. al Bashir’s government announced it would implement the part about disarming rebels, starting with Nuba fighters.

War erupted in days. Aid workers fled. Khartoum sealed the roads and banned flights. A handful of journalists managed to reach the mountains, however, including a small team from TIME. And from 30 interviews in three days with rebel leaders, soldiers, civilians, refugees, the wounded and medical personnel, a consistent picture emerges.

Human-rights investigators will ultimately judge whether what is happening in the Nuba Mountains is classified as ethnic cleansing or genocide. What is clear is that by launching a campaign for terror against unarmed villagers, al-Bashir’s soldiers are committing crimes against humanity (defined as “a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population” in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court), and by targeting civilians they are guilty of war crimes (defined in Article 8 as “intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population”.)

Bolstering this case, as International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo notes, are the charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity already facing al-Bashir and his South Sudan governor Ahmed Haroun, over similar atrocities in Darfur.

Al-Bashir responded to the new accusations on July 1, saying he had ordered his soldiers to “continue their operations in South Kordofan until they clean the state of rebels.”

Jehanne Henry, Sudan specialist at Human Rights Watch, says, “It certainly appears war crimes are being committed. The government is not discriminating at all between military and civilian. It seems to have decided to take them all out.”

on Al Jazeera

Callum MacRae, Director of the Channel 4 production “Killing Fields” reported the following exclusive on Al Jazeera, about the situation in Nuba Mountains and its people:

South Sudan has officially made its way towards becoming an independent state.

But as it celebrates its liberation from the north, the orphan state of Southern Kordofan prepares for a long war with its adoptive parent in Khartoum (North Sudan, led by Al-Bashir).

The roots of the conflict lie in the historical marginalisation of the Nuba people, who inhabit the oil rich Southern Kordofan region, and who threw their lot in with the rebel forces of the south during the war.

There are now reports of civilians being killed, and the UN chief Ban Ki-Moon says he is extremely concerned about the situation there. But for the people of Nuba, the future looks bleak.

14 Comments

  1. eureka says:

    Dear Callum
    Sri Lanka has been a case of internal colonialism in an island and the oppressed ethnic minorities have been successfully warded off from the rest of the world by ”sovereignty” of the oppressor politically and ”geographically” – mass exodus over the watery borders didn’t occur during the periodic pogroms unleashed on them in 1958, 1977 and 1983 with numerous less severe ones.

    Unless Channel 4 made ”Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”, most in the world wouldn’t have known about the conflict at all,
    Tourists have been visiting Sri Lanka without evencoming to know that there has been a war 200 miles away in the same island.

    Geography and history have combined to give this world a phenomenon of politics that is not yet portrayed fully to the world. Why else several decades haven’t brought changes:

    .In the forward to the book, CEYLON : A DIVIDED NATION(1963), Viscount Soulbury (Commission headed by him was in charge of handing over independence) expressed his regret: ‘’In the light of later happenings I now think it is a pity that the Commission did not also recommend the entrenchment in the constitution of guarantees of fundamental rights, on the lines enacted in the constitutions of India, Pakistan, Malaya , Nigeria and elsewhere.
    Perhaps in any subsequent amendment of Ceylon’s constitution those in authority might take note of the proclamation made by the delegates at the Arfrican conference which met in Lagos two years ago: ‘Fundamental human rights, esp. the right to individual liberty, should be written and entrenched in the constitutions of all countries’.

    No improvement in human rights of the ethnic minorities for decades:
    i.Submission by Harim Peiris to LLRC, 7 October 2010: ”Strengthen individual human rights and fundamental and democratic political freedoms, by acceding to Sri Lanka’s international and treaty obligations and in keeping with Supreme Court Judgments in this regard.’’

    ii.Submission by Justice C. G. Weeramantry to LLRC, 29 November 2010: ”There are certain essential prerequisites: ‘’ A total commitment to i. democracy in all its aspects and ii. the Rule of Law and to Human Rights.” His submission also states how he tried with previous Heads of governments to have appropriate constitution for equality for all citizens.

    Hope the world learns from Sri Lanka to avoid vicious ethnic conflicts.

  2. sr says:

    There are several ethnicities in South Sudan which starts its independent political life now

    Hope they have appropriate education in schools about human rights and rules of law so that they don’t fall prey to conflicts among various ethnicities:

    http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5680782-182/story.csp
    Why education matters for global security, Irina Bokova(Director General, UNESCO), 1 March 2011:
    ‘’ We know the wrong type of education can fuel conflict. The use of education systems to foster hatred has contributed to the underlying causes of conflicts, from Rwanda to Sri Lanka, but also in Guatemala and Sudan.’’

  3. ram says:

    Hope the curse visiting Sri lanka in the last 63 yrs is wisely kept away from the other doors.

  4. Nanthalal says:

    This is why the UN need to half the rague states killing its own citizen in the name of ” national interest”

  5. Bharath says:

    World honestly does not – whether Thamilians are happy now than before
    or Thamilians are ruling Lanka now or not or President of Lanka is a thamil or not
    WE ALL SAW CHANNEL 4
    WHAT MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WANT IS JUSTICE FOR 50000 PEOPLE DIED
    INNOCENT MEN WOMEN CHIDREN DIED. THATS ALL
    I AM 100 % SURE RAJABAKSHE AND OTHER CRIMINALS WILL JOIN THE MONSTERS OF RWANDA AND SERBIA SOONER THAN LATER
    RAVANAS ( SERIAL KILLERS) HAVE NO PLACE TO HIDE ANY MORE
    MANY INDIANS WATCHED KILLING FIELDS AND VERY VERY SAD AND SHOCKED TO SEE THE BRUTALITY TOOK PLACE IN LANKA

  6. ardneham says:

    Prof. Rajiva MP & Advisor to MR thinks it is all Play Acting b the LTTE – financed
    by the Diaspora & disgruntled Journalist, in revenge. That ends that.

  7. KARUNATHILLEKE says:

    South Ruwanda is a make of USA in order to freely exploit African continent! USA never was interested in democracy! Now Ruwanda can work as the CIA agent in African!

  8. Anonymous says:

    When are we going to have the north American premiere of Killing Fields?

    Why is it taking so long for CNN and CBC to investigate these thugs?

  9. Hela says:

    Propaganda films such as these doesn’t solve any issue for Tamils. It prolongs the threat perception of the rest of the country against Tamils. Under such conditions, no Tamil aspirations (genuine or otherwise) will be addressed. It looks like the people who comment don’t want to see an end to the conflict. May be it affect the asylum applications of those who try to set up camp in the West and permanently feed from the misery of Tamils living in Sri Lanka.

  10. Merlin Van Tweest says:

    Hela,
    I am afraid some of the commentators in these columns are not interested in the welfare of the Tamils who live in Sri Lanka. Their primary motive is to seek revenge for the total vanquishing of the so called invincible LTTE and the demise of their invincible leader who was such a coward that when it came to swallowing the cyanide pill that he proposed to the minions of the LTTE – he chickened out and met the full military onslaught of the professional Sri Lankan army. Not only are the comments here by the LTTE supporting Diaspora disingenuous but judging by the racist tone of the language they use they are not interested in amicable discourse of views and certainly not interested in any progress that Sri Lanka makes for the good of all the people who inhabit this island nation.

    By supporting the LTTE for the past thirty years the Diaspora have failed lock stock and barrel in their elusive dream of the mythical Eleam that was never on the cards and could not ever exist as an Independent nation for logistical and political reasons. The military option that the Diaspora yearned for is not available to them anymore and the separatists dream has been further shattered by the leader of the TNA who very recently admitted that all Sri Lankans including the Tamils want to live in peace and dignity with human rights intact in a unitary nation of multiple ethnicities.

    The Diaspora are so hell bent on revenge that they would sacrifice the welfare of the Northern Tamils who underwent enormous suffering under the yoke of the LTTE for their moment of glory via the Channel 4 allegations (allegations is what they are – there is no positive proof that the SLA committed atrocities or genocide). By dragging all these allegation into the International arena the LTTE supporters of the Diaspora are seeking vengeance and do not realise that the nation state of Sri Lanka includes the Northern and Eastern Tamils who suffered more under the LTTE than all the racial riots in Sri Lanka put together. For all the rights and wrongs of the Sri Lankan state over the last sixty odd years not a single Tamil child was forcibly taken away from its parents to serve as cannon fodder nor were any young men and women forcibly recruited to fight a war they did not believe in. By contrast the Sri Lankan Government continued supporting all the civilians in the war zone and also continued paying the salaries of all the Tamil civil service in the war zone only for these salaries to be forcibly expropriated by the LTTE.

    The LTTE supporting Diaspora thought it was worth all the suffering that the Tamil families underwent for the achievement of the mythical Eleam. This elusive dream of Eleam was shattered on the banks of Nandikadal lagoon on the 19th of May 2009 forever. All their machinations and seminars of the GTFE and the innumerable television repeats of the Channel 4 videos by Indian and Australian television stations will not dent the spirit of the nation of Sri Lanka. The more these allegations surface the more resilient the Sri Lanka nation will be. Even the United Nations as gone as far as it possibly can within its remit to placate these elements. If the United Nations is so keen to bring Sri Lanka to book why has it not called a vote in the Security Council? The LTTE supporting Diaspora may wring their hands as any motion in the United Nations Security Council will never pass the vote to castigate Sri Lanka.

  11. Ma-Rout-Ti says:

    Don’t hold your breath – there are at least 7 documentaries AHEAD of Channel 4′s piece which deal with US atrocities, which will never be shown

  12. Don't blame West.. says:

    Don’t blame West,Tamils “misery” was created INSIDE Lanka in the first place,CIA did not create this problem,but extreme minded individuals like, you did.

    Speaking of Tamils “misery”,you have been silent to voice against those who created this misery in the first place and happily continue to do so.

    It is clear YOU don’t want an end to this conflict,if not you will withdraw your army from N/E and remove all HSZ.!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Don’t manipulate the facts.

    Here the main issue is not about LTTE or the moron VP. Both are gone for good.

    Many of people that grew up in N&E could easily relate the “Killing fields” to their own experience in Sri Lanka.

    Do you know there are still civilians from HSZ living as IDPs for the last 20+ years?

    Guess what, some of that areas are now converted as tourist spots!

    How would you feel if you were kicked out from your own house then some thugs rent it to some visitors?

  14. LeoTheLion says:

    But now how will Americans get the oil out of South Sudan? Keep on dreaming!

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