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Jewish World Review
April 8, 2007
/ 20 Nissan, 5767
Darfur: Where are America's feminists?
The proudly sovereign National Islamic Front government of Sudan will not turn over to the International Criminal Court any of the suspects wanted by the ICC for questioning on the government's continuing genocide in Darfur. President Gen. Omar al-Bashir says Sudan is conducting its own investigation; and his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Al-Samani Al-Wasleea (Sudan Tribune, March 25), assures the world that the Sudanese judicial system is one of the best in Africa.
Let's look at the Sudanese judicial system as it handles the cases of two black African women from Darfur Saadiyah al-Fadel and Umounah Daldoum. Both are from Darfur's Tama tribe and were working as farm laborers in central Sudan. Both have been sentenced to death by stoning.
Both women have been convicted of adultery and, waiting for execution, they are now held (reports the Juba Post and Sudan Tribune) in Wad Medani prison. One of the condemned women has her 18-month-old daughter with her. (Presumably, the child will not also be stoned to death, but it is uncertain as to what will become of her.)
The Sudanese justice system, of which the genocidal President Al-Bashir boasts, authorizes Islamic Sharia law, which stipulates death by stoning for adultery.
According to the Associated Press (March 22), Faisal al-Bagir of the Khartoum-based Sudan Organization Against Torture, says the women's trials were unfair under the justice system Gen. Al-Bashir asks us to trust to deal, on its own, with crimes that might have been committed in Darfur, by forces other than his "innocent" government.
"There were no defense lawyers," explains Faisal al-Bagir, "and the trial proceedings were in Arabic, a language the defendants do not understand." (Their male partners will not be punished.)
Both women have confessed to adultery, but it is unclear how the confessions were obtained. The two women, sentenced last year, await the throttling hand of Gen. Al-Bashir's justice. Both women, the Sudan Tribune reported on March 15, "are in bad condition and are suffering psychologically due to the harsh judgment passed on them."
Where is the National Organization for Women? Where are such feminist icons as Gloria Steinem? Are not the repeatedly brutally raped black women of Darfur their sisters? Will American feminists not try to stop the stoning to death of Saadiyah al-Fadel and Umounah Daldoum?
Or will there at least be a vigil when these women are dead at the hand of Gen. Al-Bashir? Or do most American males and females not give a damn about the walking-dead survivors in Darfur so far away and so black?
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported (March 8) that U.N. Human Rights head Louise Arbour charged that the mass rapes of women in Darfur have not abated. On International Women's Day in The Hague, Arbour noted that Darfur women in refugee camps "are forced to go out of the camp to collect firewood. They believe, they tell us, that if the men went out they would be killed, and that's why it's the women who expose themselves, and they get raped.
"These women," Arbour continued, "have children from these rapes children to whom they cannot give a name because they're the children of the Janjaweed (rapists)."
The monstrous, murderous Arab Janjaweed are Gen. Al-Bashir's militia. Along with Sudanese army soldiers and helicopters, the Janjaweed have also killed many thousands of black African men in Darfur and burned out the villages. Children have also been raped, and there have been reports of children tossed into the flames by laughing members of the Janjaweed.
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By now, there have been many reports in the American press on what U.N. officials ritualistically and accurately describe as "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world." In a newly released book, "The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur", co-author Brian Steidle, a former captain in the Marine Corps, details what he witnessed as a military observer for the African Union in Darfur.
He tells of a 1-year-old, Mihad Hamid, who had been shot in the back as her mother was running from Government of Sudan troops: "The child had gaping entry and exit wounds that accentuated her struggle to breathe."
"The Devil Came on Horseback" ends with questions: "What nation can allow genocide to continue? What person can turn their back on the victims of such hatred? When the genocide in Darfur has ended, what will you say you did to stop it?"
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Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of several books, including his current work, "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance". Comment by clicking here.
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