WASHINGTON, DC -- This November 4 President Clinton signed an Executive
order imposing comprehensive economic sanctions on Sudan. The White
House took this step despite little or no evidence to support its
allegations against Sudan, and ample evidence that such sanctions hurt
American business and the indigenous poor.
The US action is a direct consequence, alleges The White House, of
the "Sudanese regime's sponsorship of international terrorism, its
efforts to destabilize neighboring countries, and its abysmal human
rights record, including the denial of religious freedom. As a result of
these sanctions, Sudanese assets in the United States are now blocked.
The sanctions also prohibit a wide range of financial transactions
between the United States and Sudan."
Sudan, the largest country in Africa, is charged with sponsorship of
international terrorism. What acts of terrorism? The White House does
not say. Is Sudan training terrorists or is it merely guilty of having
provided military training to persons who then happened to commit an act
of terrorism? Reliable facts and statistics are hard to come by.
Sudan is charged with efforts to destabilize neighboring countries.
But on November 10, 1996 The Washington Post revealed that the US
government had provided $20 million to anti-Sudanese forces. And last
January the Sudan government charged that it was being invaded on three
fronts by troops from neighboring Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Uganda.
Antigovernment Sudanese rebels have long been operating from bases in
these three states, and striking across the border. This time, however,
the invaders were well-armed and backed by tanks and artillery.
Sudan is charged with having an abysmal human rights record,
including the denial of religious freedom. Sudan, a mostly Muslim
country, has a Christian of the Dinka tribe, George Kungor, as its Vice
President. It collects the Islam mandated zakat, or wealth tax, from
Muslims only, but uses the tax to serve all its needy people -- Muslim
and Christian. And, we suspect, more churches are burned right here in
the US than in Sudan.
"South Sudan is," reports Eric Margolis in the January 27,
1997 issue of The Toronto Sun, "inhabited by animist or Christian
Nilotic tribesmen who still live in the Iron Age. The two disparate
parts of Sudan have been in conflict for decades. In the 1960's and
70's, Israel and Ethiopia armed south Sudanese rebels in an effort to
destabilize the government in Khartoum. Oxfam and other Christian
'missionary' and 'humanitarian' groups raised money and provided arms to
the Sudanese rebels -- which they do to this day in an effort to prevent
the spread of Islam."
However, the rebels in the mostly Christian south do not seem to
discriminate between their perceived enemies -- Christian or Muslim. On
August 27, 1996 Reuters reported, "Three Australian Catholic nuns .
. . , aged between 52 and 73, are being held with three other
missionaries by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) . . . accused
by the rebels of spying and being agents of Islam because of a quotation
from the Koran found by the rebels on a bookmark in a Bible belonging to
the nuns." Apparently the situation there has improved. On April
21, 1997 the government concluded a Peace Agreement with the Christians
of Southern Sudan.
The Egyptian's and British have been trying to control Sudan since
the opening of the Suez Canal on November 17, 1869. They suffered a
humiliating defeat on January 26, 1885 when Sudanese forces led by the
Islamic mystic Ahmad ibn Abd Allah, better known as the Mahdi,
recaptured Khartoum from the British led Egyptian troops, and killed
General Charles Gordon in that battle. It appears that some in England
have neither forgiven nor forgotten.
The London based Sudan
Foundation has been trying to engage Baroness Cox, Deputy Speaker of
the House of Lords and a leading opponent of Sudan, in an open debate on
allegations of slavery in Sudan. "On
considering often exactly the same evidence, the Sudan Foundation and
Christian Solidarity International have reached exactly opposite
conclusions. One must be mistaken," says Sean Gabb, Director, The
This coming November 16, 1997 Christian Solidarity International,
evangelical churches, and sympathetic Zionists, sensing an opportunity
for their anti-Islam campaign, will give voice to the "growing
persecution of Christians." The goal of their "1997
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is to shatter the
silence and end apathy -- in the church and in the world."
We welcome an end to apathy. Terrorism, according to Websters,
"is the act of terrorizing; use of force or threats to demoralize,
intimidate, and subjugate, especially such use as a political weapon or
policy." Lets us examine the facts, engage in debate, get our
priorities right. Perhaps, then the Muslim victims of Bosnia, Chechnya,
Kashmir, Philippines, and all victims of religious persecution anywhere
may have hopes for peace. As Alfred McLung Lee and Elizabeth Bryant Lee
said in The Fine Art of Propaganda: "Science flourishes on
criticism. Dangerous propaganda crumbles before it."
Is Sudan the villain or victim? Only a full and open debate will tell
us the truth. Sanctions will hurt Sudan's poorest, and American
["In conclusion, I found that after several years of interest in this
issue, which has included visits to Kordofan, the allegations of slavery
made against the government of Sudan are unfounded. It is additionally clear
that there has been something of an international campaign to isolate Sudan
by means of these allegations. I echo the concerns of several international
human rights organisations which have condemned the inflammatory nature of
these allegations and I question the motivation behind them."
"It is my sincere hope that the British government will look at the
reality of the situation in Sudan as distinct from the view put forward by
Christian Solidarity International and I hope also that CSI will distance
itself from those with a political axe to grind who have compromised its
good intentions." -- Lord McNair, The McNair Report on Slavery and
Slavery-like Practices in Sudan, November 1997. Lord McNair is a Liberal
Democrat member of the House of Lords, England]
[Christian Solidarity International, according to We Hold These Truths, is "a
pseudo-Christian Front for an offshore corporation which generates and
disseminates largely untrue or unproved statements of Christian persecution
primarily aimed at countries that are unfriendly to the state of Israel,
such as Sudan." U.S. Congressman Wolf is on the Board of Directors of
CSI says WHTT.]