Friday, April 21, 2006

Heeeeeee'ssssss Baaaaaaaaccccckkkkkk

Well folks, I'm back. Spent a couple of weekends in Vegas. It was cool. Wish you were there, but then again, no I don't.

Today's discussion is going to be about perception. That's right, we're going to be perceiving things today.

Saw this today. Pissed me off something terrible. You know? First of all I want to say a couple of things:

1) This war sucks and is in desperate need of some kind of international attention. I don't care who, but someone needs to get his/her ass down there and stop it.

2) This discussion is going to be about the representation of the two sides in this.

So, reading the article a couple of things jump out to me.
It was sparked in 2003 as Arab militias, which the U.S. says are backed by the government of Sudan, systematically began targeting poor blacks in the region known as Darfur — killing, raping, looting and burning hundreds of villages. Hundreds of thousands are believed to have been killed, and more than 2 million have been displaced.

Those damned Arabs again!!! Every time someone tries to live a happy life in the world those damned A-rabs start doing their thing. I swear to God it's annoying.
Wait, what? Huh? Are you saying that's not what really happened? But this lady said it did. She even started her piece with a nice anecdotal story about seeing the poor, black African children. Awe, those poor kids.

I would like to point out a couple of things about what happens when people read about the tragedy in Darfur, Sudan. Primarily it is described as a conflict between the Arabs and the black Africans. This is to try and link Arabs with racist views of blacks. Now, I'm sure some do, but I can pretty much guarantee that none of them live in the Sudan. You know why? Go on, ask. Please....

Okay, here's why. Most Sudanese Africans are (drum roll please) black themselves. Yes, it's true. There are black Arabs. I swear. For those that don't know me I spent 3 months working in Qatar last year. While there I met a bunch of Sudanese who were working as scorers for us. Now, when I first met them I was surprised. I asked myself "Soze, why are the black Sudanese working in Qatar when at home they are getting slaughtered by the Arabs?" I mean, if you were getting killed by North Dakotans at your home in Maryland, would you escape ethnic cleansing by fleeing to North Dakota? No, that's assinine.

So, I asked one why he was in Qatar. Since the official language of Sudan is Arabic I found it easy to speak with him (slight problem with accents, but who cares). I asked him, politely, what brought him to Qatar. Actually, below is a pretty accurate transcription of the conversation.

Soze: "Hello, how are you doing" (flawless Arabic)
Sudanese Gentleman: "I am good my friend, how are you?"
S: "Fine, hey, what brings you to Qatar?"
SG: "Work my friend, work. There are many troubles in my homeland."
S:"Ahh yes, the Su-of the-Dan, I know it well. But why an Arab
SG:"Because I am Arab."
S:"But I thought that the war was between the Arabs and the blacks"
SG: (stares at me confusingly) "I may not understand your Arabic, it's
pretty bad, but those of us from Africa are mostly all black"
S: "Hmm, well I'm an idiot."
SG: "yes, you are"
S: "Well, Assalam alakum my brother"
SG:"Assalam alakum to you too"

Well, that was odd. But I didn't believe him. So I googled for pictures of Sudanes Arabs...guess what? They're black. They can be found here, and here.

The people of Chad living along the Darfur-Sudan border are being killed and raped, their villages looted and burned. Every survivor we talked to described Arabs on horseback, shouting racial slurs, and saying:
"You are black slaves."
"This is Arab land, not your land."
"If you stay, Arabs will come to kill you."

I don't know why, but something tells me that the inclusion of the word "black" in the first sentance is purely for our consumption. I am pretty sure that they weren't called "black" in a derogatory manner by another black. But, if you view it as an Arab, who's mental image is one of a slightly sand colored person (no pun intended) then you can play off of peoples assumptions and infer that not only are they evil, murdering, terrorists, but they're also racists too. See, they are actually the ones who are responsible for slavery all those years ago. Not the whites. Granted, Arabs have been living in Sudan since roughly around the year 1000 AD (wikipediad it), but in those 1000 years we still get ot refer to them by their ethnic heritage. Meaning my decendants in 1000 will still be refered to as Lebanese. Correct?
Something tells me that's not right.

Another thing: the inference in the first quote seems to imply that one day the Arabs up and decided to kill the rest. Well, facts have a way of disproving these little theories that people like to come up with to demagogue certain groups: For instance according to
In 2003 Darfūr rebel groups mounted an armed revolt, accusing Sudan’s Arab government of neglecting the development of the region, largely populated by black African ethnic groups. Government forces and local Arab militias fought the rebels in 2003 and 2004. In the process, the Arab militias reportedly burned villages, destroyed crops, and raped and killed civilians.
Now, this is just Encarta. I decided that since the author of the article quotes the American government that maybe I should see what the government has to say. So, I went to Voice Of America. The VOA says:
Civil war broke out in Darfur in 2003. Complaining of discrimination by Arab Sudanese, African rebels attacked government facilities. Sudanese Arab Janjaweed militia supported by the Sudanese government responded by attacking members of Darfur's African Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa tribes. A peace agreement was signed this year by representatives from the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

Now, ultimately it really doesn't matter who starts what. What matters is that people are dying every day. But doesn't an argument lose credibility when one starts embelishing and taking liberties with facts? I think it does.


At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you have fun in Vegas Soze? I missed reading your posts!


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