A Plea for Help from the Nuba Mountains
Tomo Križnar and Klemen Mihelič return to the places by the world forgotten
19 February 2013 at 10:48
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO
Not even complete uncertainty caused by missile attacks and bombardments, not even mass hunger and complete absence of everything considered urban and civilized, not even the most dangerous baits and traps being set by the global community headed by the UN and some governmental organizations in the camp for Nuba refugees in the city of Yida, some fifty kilometres across the border in the new country of Southern Sudan, will force more than fifty African tribes to actually abandon holy places where the bones of their predecessors rest.
In the old Egyptian language, Nuba means a slave, and “jabal el nuba” in Arabic means mountains of slaves. Here, since the dawn of first civilizations along the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, in the granite remains of former volcanoes was the hiding place of those that refused to be subdued and conquered by the hunters of shapely girls and boys.
Not the Arabs, who are eradicating the Nuba culture, not the Chinese nor the Russians, who support them with the Antonov bombers and MiG aircrafts, not the Americans nor the Europeans, who are predominantly looking after their own economic interests in the South Sudan, nor the rest of the world together with its bureaucrats in international organizations – no one is aware of the tenacity, vitality and power of resistance of these unyielding people, who are now, a year and a half since the new war for the control of their mountains has started, more than ever before aware how very alone they are and how they really cannot trust any representative at all.
Everything that will be achieved and has already been achieved will only bring new and new suffering to the people, who can teach us how to resist general corruption of the fragment of the population addicted to comfort and prestige!
Lift up, masses of new and new slaves in the industrial world, who are being kept on a tight rein by these same masters of the world with their modern entertainment and oblivion strategy! You are the ones I still have faith in, as I was growing up with you and I learned to understand you and respect you nevertheless. Please, stand up for your most innocent ones, who want nothing more than to remain on their land. No oil, no automated agricultural business, just enough water and crops grown with sweat and blood as their children need for basic survival. Please, make a stand for the pure, unsold victims of the corrupted global order. Please, demand a stop to banishment, exodus and genocide of your most unspoiled brothers and sisters.
Please, please, now, not tomorrow!
Before it gets too late. Before nothing more could be done. And before even you get run over by the increasingly growing machine that grinds and breaks everything natural and valuable. I believe you still remember that quote from the Schindler’s List: “When they came for my neighbour, I did not speak out, when they came for another neighbour, I did not speak out either, and when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out...”
Please, don’t suppress your own feelings. The ruling enterprises that have grown in global power centres don’t need people any more. Not the Nuba people, not other native inhabitants, not even most of you who work for them and pay their taxes. Slaves mean nothing any more, they have no value. Physical labour has long ago been replaced by machines and oil. The ones occupying the world and assuming all power need only natural resources and energy and some oil for power and machine lubrication.
No place makes this more obvious than this corner of the world. Here, in the most hidden place in the world, heavily accessible to the consciousness and conscience of the world, in the mountains between the largest desert and the greatest swamps on the Earth, takes place the greatest humanitarian crisis on the planet. There is no other place where media failed so heavily. And there is no place where so many treacherous evildoers pick on the natives, who live in ecological villages, pretty much similar to our Christmas cribs, almost fully independently and self-supporting, than here in the Nuba mountains in the South Kordofan province of Sudan. Let me remind you that three years ago the military junta in Khartoum was convicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity of committing four of the greatest atrocities, including genocide – but the president Omar Bashir, who came to power with a military coup twenty-three years ago, remained fully intact. He keeps proclaiming that the freedom fighters in the Nuba mountains are some sort of an insect. The principal butcher Mohamed Haroun keeps ordering his Janissaries to bury – not shoot, for waste of ammunition – cut throats of everyone they catch, no prisoners, no survivors… And it’s happening right now. Even before the declaration of independence of South Sudan in July 2011 they announced that if mediators for peace achieve separation of south, they will show no mercy to other Africans in Sudan. They will sooner kill the last of them so that foreigners with referendums don’t steel another piece of Sudan in the Nuba mountains.
The Yida refugee camp is the most dangerous bait and trap because the entire global community is sending help south across the border to South Sudan and not directly to villages, where the whole world is shutting their eyes in unison to the greatest violence. Of course, locals are tempted to enter camps for food and relative safety and allegedly to help their children get to schools very soon. But by now the majority knows that in the camp their children will assume another culture, much like our children do when they move to cities. Yida is a bango, the Nuba elders say. Yida is heroin we will no longer be able to go without. Our fitness will worsen after a year or two of lying around with scarce food quantities, with no improvement prospects at all, we will become lazy, forget about our cults of body and libido worship. We will even fail to procreate – while our fighters in the mountains will keep losing the support of their families, wives, children, love, the mightiest power of all. The Sudan army will populate our fertile black soft soil of mountain valleys with Iranians, Iraqis and Saudis, with bulldozers and modern agricultural machinery that will level the cribs into huge plantations and farms. And that is exactly what Omar Bashir wants. This way the Arabs and foreigners, aided by a fully legal support of humanitarian organizations, will achieve their purpose.
So far, only 65,000 refugees from the Nuba mountains have retreated to the Yida camp. Even a short walk reveals that these people are losing their culture rapidly. And their identity. They are less kind and open; it won’t be long before they become just like the rest of us...
So I beg of you, please, please, please, support us! This might be the only thing that will help us force the institutions that were founded with the purpose of performing their mission to actually do what they were founded for. UN agencies will release themselves off bonds of their godfathers of crime and start acting as provided in their statutes – similarly to what we already achieved in the last war (1985-2002). Only after they are pushed against the wall and the bureaucrats become afraid that our donations will dry up… Politicians will pull chestnuts out of the fire, when we blow their cover and perhaps throw them off the pedestals that we’ve placed them on… Academicians we are giving high education to based on the “Emperor’s New Clothes” idea will side with us and start serving only after we spit in their bowl telling them that they actually know nothing – because they keep burying their heads in the sand... Please, help us make the greatest evil deed of all be seen and heard.
Please, help us equip as many locals in the Nuba mountains, the Blue Nile and Darfur as possible with cheap cameras, satellite modems and satellite connections, so their cries for help and direct messages of what is truly going on can reach you.
We started in 1998. Two years after Omar Bashir, at the request of the then Slovenian president, Janez Drnovšek, pardoned me after being convicted of spying and giving false reports of Sudan, I returned with the first cameras and internet connections, well aware that no one is reporting about the continuation of the war and massacres of civilians, because no one is no longer interested. All contributions were collected by the civil society on concerts, fine art auctions, and donations after the viewing of the documentary Dar Fur – War for Water that I made with a film director Maja Weiss with this purpose in mind. In 1999 we were joined by Klemen Mihelič, who is one of the founders of the HOPE humanitarian organization, together with friends, that adheres to the fully new principle of action on a fully voluntary basis, with the concept of miniature cameras, which helped stop reports on rapes as the main tool for banishing native tribes from regions, rich with natural resources. Since then we have regularly been present along the line of battle, where families of the African race disappear between the devil and the deep blue sea. From the equipment owned by every human rights organization and the training of local volunteers this year we progressed to airborne video surveillance systems. For the second month we have been field testing how to use the so-called airborne cameras, unmanned remote controlled small aerial models, drones, whose destination, instead of killing actual and imaginary terrorists in the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia, is to film from the air where least expected and where it is too dangerous for any person to go.
There is not many of us. Everyone has not been shown in our documentary “Eyes and Ears of God”. We are still afraid that we will be finished off by those whose toes we’ve stepped on, before we manage reach you.
But the suffering I am witnessing around me now, worse than during the rainy season last summer, scenes of mass hunger, day-to-day bombings, missile attacks from Arab garrisons between mountains, children with practically no schools to go to and no teachers to teach them, the elders dying behind the bushes, pregnant women – my god, all women and girls are pregnant, which affects me the most... and is now, for the first time, urging me to speak to you, who still have feelings and who have not yet turned into machines... Please, make your donations on our website HOPE.si and TomoKriznar.com. Don’t exaggerate, donate only as much as you can afford.
And I undertake to make sure that everything, with no cent spent on salaries, travel arrangements or insurance, will get to those who need it the most. I am sure this way we will lessen the most wrongful and the most senseless suffering of the most innocent and at the same time the most enthusiastic inhabitants of this planet, who still believe in ideals.
More on why and how our campaigns were organized can be read in my book “Oil and Water”. Thank you in advance for your trust in a time when trust and hope are vanishing most rapidly and their places are being taken over mainly by apathy and collective depression.
Tomo Križnar, somewhere in the Nuba mountains, 17 February 2013