His face is swollen. Blood drips from his bandaged head. His eyes are distant – he must suffer unbearable pain. He makes a grimace each time the Landrover wheel hits a rock or a pothole in the cart track. A comrade on the opposite seat grabs him by the shoulders with both hands. He tries to prevent him from collapsing.
There are no painkillers in Blue Nile!!!!
States of the European Union, the United States of America, the United Nations… the whole world, united in the fight against the victims of world politics in Blue Nile and the Nuba mountains still won’t allow the new, 193rd member of the UNO, South Sudan, to support its African fellow-fighters, who, after the secession of South Sudan on July 9th last year, remained beyond the northern side of the undefined border, in what was left of Sudan. No military aid, no humanitarian aid is allowed to be supplied to the victims of world politics, so there are no painkillers in Blue Nile.
That is why Mahmud Ismail, an SPLA North soldier, who was wounded in the head yesterday during the government bombing of the front line, three hours away in the hills of Ingassan, is in so much pain now, so that the people in the vehicle, struggling to make its way through the disastrous track through the bush, are afraid he will lose consciousness.
The Blue Nile province in Sudan is the only province on the planet where pain cannot be controlled in the year 2012.
Refugees are hurrying outside. Wearied, exhausted faces stare at us through the car windows, coated with mud in order to prevent them from reflecting light to Russian-made Antonov bombers. Young women with children on their backs, fathers with children on their hands, old women lurching, old men barely moving. Some are lagging behind. Many are crouching under the trees. They are stretching out their emaciated limbs, or holding their heads. With closed eyes, drooping eyelids, begging us to take them along…
Sorghum bags. Water canisters. A couple of pots, a couple of chicken, an occasional lamb, all hung on sticks in the traditional way and carried on shoulders, rocking along in a panic run towards the border. This is everything they managed to grab hold of. In fact, they didn’t own much more. They left behind their burning huts and fallow land. Ever since September 1st, when war began in Blue Nile, following the attack of government forces on the stronghold of the SPLA commander in Kurmuk, Malik Agar – they have been waiting for the moment when the bombs and the fire will reach them too. Now they have.
One after another, they sigh into the camera that they have been walking for a week. Some even two.
They didn’t want to leave home, they persisted till the very end. And the end came when the village was hit by grenades from one of the garrisons of the advancing government army. Or bombs fell on them from government bombers. Others escaped when the village was attacked by the militia, recruited from nomadic Arab tribes such as the Felata.
Everyone has lost someone.
Most are running away because of hunger. Fearing attacks, this rainy season they did not dare to leave the mountains and caves to plant the traditional sorghum. So, now the whole country is hungry, desperately hungry, hungry. And thirsty. The new rainy season is slow to arrive...
In the columns of tens of thousands of hungry, thirsty and fatigued people there are hardly any boys and men. The Sudanese army has caught many of them and is now abusing them as janissaries. Now they are killing their own people, in a “kill a slave with a slave” tactic.
It is hard to say which of the young men has the highest chance of surviving. Most likely the ones who got away and joined the SPLA North under the leadership of Malik Agar. But everyone knows that Malik is losing territories and that at this moment this rebel army does not enjoy any support anywhere in the world. They have the poorest weapons, no training, nearly all fighters are minors in sandals … I saw with my own eyes – in January last year Malik Agar still trusted the Arabs in Khartoum and did not believe a war would come. He was not prepared as the SPLA leader in the Nuba mountains, Abdel al Hilu.
News reached us from the Nuba mountains today that the government army used biological weapons in the biggest offensives to date.
When we stop to take in a young woman and her baby, just born under a deserted termitarium, we hear a dull rumbling in the distance behind us.
“Antonov!” mumbles the driver through clenched teeth.
“Antonov!” everyone around me seriously nods.
“They are bombing again! Ingassana hills!” says Sadik Ibrahim, who has been studying in El Damazin until September 1st, now an SPLA soldier.
“How much longer? When will the global community finally make a move and stop the exodus from Blue Nile and the Nuba mountains?” asks Mohama Jamous, the only one besides Sadik who, in the group of soldiers protecting me, speaks any English.
The people of Blue Nile are the most uneducated people on the planet. Ever since the victory over the once greatest sultanate in the territory of today’s Sudan, Funj, the Arabs systematically banished and marginalized the African Muslims. They had the least schools; today there is not a single school active in the region controlled by the rebels.
Experts on Sudan have been warning of the approaching war ever since 2005, when foreign peace middlemen ended the 21-year-long war, which claimed two million victims in Sudan and banished from homes five million refugees. The peace treaty achieved the right of former slaves in South Sudan to opt for secession at a referendum in six years’ time. Their fellow-fighters in Blue Nile and the Nuba mountains were left in the hands of the traditional enemy from the north. In January last year, the Sudanese dictator Omar Bashir clearly announced that in the event of secession of South Sudan, he will banish all Africans remaining on his side of the border. The ruling Arab military junta, which came to power with a coup d’état 23 years ago, is now doing exactly what it announced it would do, and we all knew that it would do.
The slavemasters, who are hiding behind politicians in Washington and Brussels, have realized their interests and got what they wanted. Now they are all looking away as if there are no consequences.
It’s not unusual anymore that I and a freelance photographer, Shannon Jansen, are alone with the victims of world politics and diplomacy, which predominantly worships profit, and is much less concerned about the collateral damage.
They’re just a bunch of blacks. Just common black peasants and shepherds. They don’t have any power to defend themselves. They’re the last on the ladder of human development.
By the law of Darwinism – everything that can’t or won’t adapt, must die.
Every day, I shake the hands and gaze deep into the eyes of those that supposedly cannot adapt. When in fact, they have adapted to their given natural environment unlike any other people. They extract the least from nature, cause the least pollution and harm to the planet and to other people. The symbiosis in which they live with plants, animals and all the elements is an example to the rest of us, who are increasingly dependent on excessive consumption.
The masters of the world have distributed the oil of Sudan, the excellent land and water among themselves. It is no wonder anymore that even Al Jazeera failed for the second time yesterday. Its reporter Anna Cavelli admitted heart-broken that Doha will not let her cross the border, because it’s apparently too dangerous.
In reality, it’s not any more dangerous that in any other war from Afghanistan to Iraq. There is just no political interest for you ordinary people anywhere in the world to find out what the elites screwed up and maybe even intentionally sacrificed. The border between the Upper Nile province in South Sudan and Blue Nile province in Sudan is more than thousand kilometres long, open and unguarded by government army and militias. Nevertheless, since September last year, all humanitarian organizations, seated in Juba, have been forbidding their members to cross to the other side and are also scaring off every reporter who might be interested in the situation there.
Bashir will not allow anyone to enter the zone where his people are banishing and eradicating the last native inhabitants. Foreigners, making handsome profits from concession contracts with Bashir, obey.
Why is it even necessary to ask permission from a government, accused by the International Court of Justice in The Hague of four of the major crimes against humanity – including genocide?
Are we going to stop the unbearable suffering or will we all keep pushing our heads in the sand and wait for our turn to arrive…?
Tomo Križnar, in the bushes of Blue Nile, 28 May 2012