Jewish World Review June 25, 2003 / 25 Sivan, 5763
Sudan: Children killed, Bush defied
On May 22, Colin Powell, meeting with Sudan's Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail, discussed ways by which Sudan could be removed from the United States list of state sponsors of terrorism. The Associated Press and Reuters, reporting the meeting, wrote that the Bush administration was "pleased with steps Sudan has taken in the war on terrorism and in efforts to end (the war) with the rebels in the South of Sudan."
But on the very same day of that meeting, as reported by Servant's Heart -- a Christian group with four medical centers and schools in southern Sudan -- "government of Sudan-led military forces attacked the village of Longochok (in Southern Sudan), and nine nearby villages in a night assault. ... Many of (the 59 villagers) killed were burned alive in their homes as they hid from government-led forces.
Among those killed was Pastor Jacob Manyal, Presbyterian Church of Sudan. He burned to death as soldiers waited outside his family's home, threatening to shoot anyone who tried to escape the burning structure. After the 59 unarmed villagers were massacred, 10 children and six women were abducted, including the pastor's 4- and 6-year-old sons. The two boys were later killed in captivity. The pastor's wife is reportedly still being held captive.
Also reporting the Sudanese government's murderous defiance of President Bush's act is the Boston-based American Anti-Slavery Group, which has been actively liberating black and Christian animist slaves in Sudan for years. The group's president, Charles Jacobs, emphasizes that the village "was clearly not a military target. There were no Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army soldiers in surrounding areas. The Western world has responded with moral condemnation and military action when Islamic holy warriors attacked it. Why would the West sit in silence or retreat to appeasement when the victims of jihad are Black Africans?"
Regarding appeasement: At a June 1 press conference in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, foreign minister Mustafa Ismail said that Sudanese and American foreign ministries would, once a peace agreement regarding Sudan's civil war is signed, hold continuous meetings about military cooperation between the two countries, according to SUNA, a Sudanese news service.
Dennis Bennett, a former international banker, serves as executive director for Servant's Heart, the group that first reported the May 22 slaughter. He started the humanitarian organization -- based in Renton, Washington State -- four years ago. "Because of our faith in Jesus Christ," he said, "we are willing to go and help these people so near the fighting. But we minister and assist everyone in need in our areas, without regard to religious faith, tribe or side of the war they are on."
Bennett urges Americans "to contact President Bush directly, demanding that he punish those members of the Sudanese government who are responsible for these atrocities. ... President Bush and his State Department must insist on the immediate safe return of those kidnapped and brutalized during the attack. Additionally, there should be no further talks between the U.S. State Department and the government of Sudan about any subject until all abductees from Longochok are returned safely, and those responsible are prosecuted for crimes against humanity."
When asked why Sudanese-led soldiers so ruthlessly attacked villagers, Bennett said simply, "because they could.
"They knew that the U.S. State Department was not going to hold them accountable for any cease-fire violations," Bennett said, "or for killing unarmed civilians -- since State had not held them accountable for other violations of the cease fire, including the report (Servant's Heart) made concerning the 3,000 civilians killed in Liang and surrounding areas (in April 2002)."
Bush himself is not going to punish the members of the Sudanese government -- or the troop commanders responsible for what happened in Longochok. But why does he not impose the sanctions on the National Islamic Front government that he pledged to do if the Sudanese Peace Act was violated? These are, by far, not the only black Sudanese corpses that are silent witnesses to the contempt for Bush's pledge by the government of Sudan.
The president has often spoken of the strength he gets from his religious faith. That faith was shared by many black Sudanese Christians who have been murdered or enslaved as the jihad continues.
I have enough faith in the president to believe that he will not ignore what happened on May 22 in the village of Longochok.
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