An Arab militia, army or terrorist attacks non-Arabs. Or was it Muslim fanatics attacking non-Muslims? It’s the same old story being repeated again. This time it's happening in Sudan.
While you’re reading this article, it’s likely that a few hundred more black Africans in Sudan have either starved to death, or been brutally killed, raped, enslaved, or simply pushed off their land by so-called Arab settlers, who would be more accurately referred to as Arab imperialist invaders.
Just like their 7th Century forbears. Or, more recently, like the Arabs that Saddam Hussein brought into Kurdistan in the 1970's, in order to displace the local Kurds, during his forced Arabization campaign. In fact, he razed all Kurdish villages along a 1,300-kilometer stretch of the border with Iran in the Kurdish heartland in the north.
Now Sudan is doing the same thing.
While the Arab militia known as the Janjaweed rape, slaughter and drive over a million black Africans, most of whom are Christians, from their homes in western Sudan, the government in Khartoum turns a blind eye. The Janjaweed have killed about 30,000 people and left some two million in desperate need of aid, creating a humanitarian disaster. According to some reports, the Sudanese government itself armed and paid the militia of Arab raiders, and authorized them to slaughter and drive out members of the Zaghawa, Masalit and Fur tribes.
This has all taken place under the watchful eye of Kofi Annan, the UN, Colin Powell, the U.S., the European Union, and the more than twenty Arab League states. I can expect the Arab states to ignore the ethnic cleansing campaign underway. But why haven't Annan and Powell, who can trace their roots to the African continent, spoken out? After all, it is their black brothers and sisters who are once again the victims of oppression, this time by the Sudanese Arabs. And why are the Europeans, who are always so focused on "human rights" when it comes to Israel, silent when it comes to human rights violations in a region of the African continent?
Sudanese President Omar Bashir pledged to U.S. officials that he would disarm the Janjaweed and other militias. This is not the first time he has made such a promise.
Jan Egeland, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, has complained that the United Nations has been slow to act in Darfur, where aid workers estimate 350,000 people may die this year from disease or malnutrition. He also blamed Khartoum for lack of action in aiding the refugees.
A typical UN do-gooder, Egeland seems to have overlooked the fact that the Sudanese government may have deliberately caused this problem. It is best seen as a typical Arab/Muslim land grab. It has occurred in Iraq, it is occurring in Lebanon where the current Syrian occupation has brought with it the persecution of indigenous Christians, and it has happened in Israel, where 7th Century Arab imperialist invaders and 20th century Arab squatters alike have tried to displace the indigenous Jewish population.
Describing the pogrom-like atmosphere, one woman told how the Janjaweed entered her Sudanese village. She said, "The Janjaweed shouted, 'We will not allow blacks here. We will not let Zaghawa here. This land is only for Arabs.'"
Another woman described how the Janjaweed took her and her two sisters away on horses and gang-raped them. The raiders shot one sister, cut the throat of the other, and then discussed how to mutilate her. "One Janjaweed member said, 'You belong to me. You are a slave to the Arabs, and this is the sign of a slave,'" she recalled. He slashed her leg with a sword before letting her hobble away, stark naked.
"First the planes were flying over us and bombing us. Then the Janjaweed came," a third woman described. "They started to shoot and burn. They took all our belongings. They took men and slit their throats with swords. The women they took as concubines."
The situation is so horrendous, that the former editor of the prestigious London Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awsat, Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed, recently published an op-ed titled, "The Death of 300,000 People." In the article, al-Rashed decried the Arab media's apathy toward the violence in Sudan.
Al-Rashed wrote, "They are not the victims of Israeli or American aggression; therefore, they are not an issue for concern...Is the life of one thousand people in western Sudan less valuable, or is a single killed Palestinian or Iraqi of greater importance, merely because the enemy is Israeli or American?"
He continued, "It is a grave matter that government-sponsored forces or militias should be allowed to carry out the annihilation of people in order to achieve quick or decisive victory...As for Arab intellectuals who see nothing in the world but the Palestinian and the Iraqi causes, and who consider any blood not spilled in conflicts with foreigners to be cheap and its spilling justifiable, they are intellectual accomplices in the crime."
What does all this have to do with Israel?
To recap what I wrote in April 2004 in the article, Time to Back Syria's Kurds:
"As the discussion of democratization of the Middle East continues, an important point that must be made time and time again, is the importance in building structures that liberate the minorities of the region from oppression.
"Non-Arab and Non-Muslim minorities have always lived throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Contrary to the propaganda that the region has always been Arab/Muslim, these minorities are remnants of the indigenous peoples that lived in the regions before the great Arab imperialist wars of the middle ages, and the Islamization process" that followed. Non-Arab Muslims such as the Kurds in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran; the Berbers ¯ also known as the Amazighes ¯ in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, have all resisted Arabization for over one thousand years. Non-Muslims such as the Assyrian Christians in Iraq (who are not Arabs), the Copts in Egypt, Christian Lebanese ¯ many who claim not to be Arab but Phoenician ¯ the Christians in Sudan, as well as other Christians throughout the region, have been persecuted minorities since the rise of Islam. Others religious and ethnic groups such the Druze and Jews have also been persecuted by Arab/Muslim regimes throughout history.
"Only Israel, the Jewish state, has fully liberated herself ¯ in the political sense ¯ from this Arab/Muslim oppression, although it still suffers from physical violence against her people. Israel should take the lead in its foreign policy to support democratization and regime change throughout the region. Israel shouldn't wait until countries of the region reform, but should proactively support the legitimate aspirations of the oppressed minorities of North Africa and the Middle East, and build alliances with them."
Since writing those words, news of Israeli security activity in the Kurdish areas of Iraq has leaked out. Although denied by all involved, I can only hope that it is true that the Mossad has been listening. It should begin to branch out to work with other minorities throughout the region as well.
I have yet to mention the so-called Palestinians and I won't do so beyond saying that they are not part of the solution. Rather they are part of the problem. “Are they not also an oppressed minority?” many have wondered. No, for as Arabs, they are part of the greater Arab nation, which since the 7th Century has conquered and oppressed every other people in the Middle East and North Africa. It is obvious that as radical Muslims, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other terror groups are continuing down the same path as Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. In fact, not long before his assassination, Hamas "spiritual leader" Sheikh Yassin had begun speaking about "global jihad" in language reminiscent of Bin Laden. Hezbollah has also been active in the Palestinian-administered territories for some time, as evidenced by Israel's recent capture of a Hezbollah cell in Gaza. They are part of the regional network of oppression.
Like that Arab murderer in Sudan who said, "This land is only for Arabs," the late Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi said not long before his demise, "We will continue with our holy war and resistance until every last criminal Zionist is evicted from this land. By God we will not leave one Jew alive in Palestine. We will fight them with all the strength we have. This is our land, not the Jews’." Most Palestinians agreed with him.
Once again, Arab racism marches on.
A major element of Israel's strategic foreign policy should be based on supporting the rights of minorities in the area. Israel should speak out strongly against the ethnic cleansing and potential genocide taking place in Sudan today, just as I've urged it to do about the atrocious Syrian occupation in Lebanon. Israel should support the rights of the Kurds to an independent state and encourage other indigenous peoples and their liberation movements. Only via the path of democracy and freedom will the Middle East and North Africa be transformed into a region worthy of its millennia-old history, a history that predates the 7th Century Arab/Muslim conquest.
Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst and consultant. He has a Master's Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly in several websites and newspapers, and can be also be read at: www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko