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DATE=05/12/99 TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP NUMBER=6-11287 TITLE=SLAVERY; CIVIL WAR IN SUDAN GRIND ON OUT OF VIEW BYLINE=ANDREW N. GUTHRIE TELEPHONE=619-3335 DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS CONTENT= INTRO: AS ONE UNITED STATES DAILY PAPER PUTS IT, YUGOSLAVIA'S KOSOVO PROVINCE MAY BE GETTING ALL THE ATTENTION IN THE NEWS, BUT AN INTERNAL PROBLEM IN THE SUDAN IS CAUSING MUCH MORE SUFFERING, MOSTLY OUT OF PUBLIC VIEW. WE GET A SAMPLING OF EDITORIALS FROM THE AMERICAN PRESS ON THAT INFREQUENTLY-DISCUSSED AFRICAN NATION NOW, FROM _______________ IN TODAY'S U-S OPINION ROUNDUP. TEXT: /// OPT /// SUDAN IS AFRICA'S LARGEST NATION, STRETCHING FOR THOUSANDS OF KILOMETERS ALONG THE NILE RIVER IN THE NORTHEAST OF THE CONTINENT. ITS PROBLEMS STEM, AT LEAST IN PART, FROM ITS LOCATION, CROSSING THE CONTINENT'S GREAT ETHNIC AND GEOGRAPHICAL DIVIDING LINE, THE DESERT. IN THE NORTH, THE PEOPLE IN CONTROL ARE ARABIC AND MUSLIM AND POPULATE THE CAPITOL, KHARTOUM. BUT IN THE SOUTH, THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE BLACK AFRICAN, AND FOLLOW THE CHRISTIAN OR ANIMISTIC NATIVE AFRICAN RELIGIONS. MANY OF THEM SPEAK DINKA. IT WAS THE BRITISH AND EGYPTIANS WHO CARVED OUT THE BORDERS OF THE SUDAN IN THE LAST CENTURY, AND RULED OVER THE NATION UNTIL THE MID 1950S. THE COUNTRY'S CIVIL WAR BETWEEN THESE TWO FACTIONS HAS DRAGGED ON NOW FOR MORE THAN A DECADE AND SHOWS FEW SIGNS OF ENDING. /// END OPT /// AS SEVERAL U-S PAPERS ARE POINTING OUT TO READERS, ALMOST TWO MILLION PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN THE SUDAN SINCE THE WAR BEGAN IN 1983, BUT PRESS COVERAGE PALES IN COMPARISON TO THE ONSLAUGHT OF PICTURES AND STORIES ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR IN KOSOVO. WE BEGIN OUR SAMPLING IN THE CAPITOL OF INDIANA, WHERE A CONFERENCE ON THE SUDAN SITUATION WAS RECENTLY HELD, AND WHERE "THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR" SAYS IN PART: VOICE: THE SERBIAN ASSAULT ON ... KOSOVO MAY BE GETTING ALL OF THE WORLD'S ATTENTION, BUT THERE'S A FAR BIGGER ATROCITY SHAPING UP IN EAST AFRICA. ... IN KOSOVO, TWO-THOUSAND PEOPLE DIED IN 1998. EVEN WITH THE MASS MURDERS BEING REPORTED, IT'S NOTHING LIKE WHAT'S HAPPENING IN SUDAN, WHERE MORE THAN 70-THOUSAND PERISHED THE FIRST HALF OF 1998. THE MUSLIM ARAB GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTH IS PITTED AGAINST BLACK CHRISTIANS - - DINKAS AND THE NUBA MOUNTAINS PEOPLE - - IN THE SOUTH. ... THE SITUATION IS FURTHER COMPLICATED BY THE POPULAR DEFENSE FORCE, ROAMING TRIBAL MILITIA THAT WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE KHARTOUM GOVERNMENT HAVE TAKEN THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE, MOSTLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN, INTO SLAVERY. ... THE WAR IN SUDAN IS A COMPLICATED AND GRUESOME AFFAIR THAT THE WORLD IS LARGELY IGNORING. ... A WAY MUST BE FOUND TO STOP THE KILLING. TEXT: "THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE" SAYS THAT THE ISSUE OF SLAVERY FLOURISHING IN THE MODERN WORLD HAS PITTED SOME HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS AGAINST OTHERS IN TRYING TO DECIDE THE BEST WAY TO END IT. VOICE: IN ONE OF THE MOST WRENCHING MORAL DEBATES OF THE DAY, HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS ARE ARGUING OVER THE ETHICS OF PURCHASING THE FREEDOM OF ENSLAVED WOMAN AND CHILDREN IN SUDAN ... PRIVATE CHARITIES - - LED BY THE GENEVA-BASED CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY INTERNATIONAL (C-S-I) - - ARE RAISING MONEY TO REDEEM THE FREEDOM OF THOUSANDS HELD IN BONDAGE AS SEX SLAVES, LABORERS AND HOUSEHOLD HELP. ... WHO COULD ARGUE WITH SUCH A RIGHTEOUS CAMPAIGN TO SAVE WOMEN AND CHILDREN FROM CRUEL BONDAGE AND RETURN THEM TO THEIR HOMES AND FAMILIES? ODDLY, THE UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S [EMERGENCY] FUND HAS DECLARED THE SLAVE-REDEMPTION EFFORT AS 'INTOLERABLE.' UNICEF SAYS THE BUYBACK PROGRAM IS NOT A LASTING SOLUTION; DOES NOT CHANGE SOCIAL ATTITUDES THAT ALLOW SLAVERY AND ACCEPTS THE NOTION THAT HUMANS MAY BE BOUGHT AND SOLD. /// OPT /// ... REBEL GROUPS IN THE SOUTH SAY THEY ARE FIGHTING FOR MORE POLITICAL AUTONOMY, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND DEMAND THE REPEAL OF HARSH ISLAMIC LAWS ENACTED IN THE 1980S. THOSE GOALS REMAIN ON A DISTANT AND UNCERTAIN HORIZON, BUT THE AGONY OF SUDAN'S UNCOUNTED THOUSANDS OF SLAVES IS REAL, IMMEDIATE AND CRIES OUT TO THE WORLD FOR HELP. /// END OPT /// TEXT: AFTER A TRIP TO SOUTHERN SUDAN THIS YEAR, VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN FRANK WOLF COMPLAINED ABOUT WHAT HE CALLED WHITE HOUSE AND STATE DEPARTMENT INACTION IN THE CONFLICT DESPITE PLEAS FROM HIM AND [DAYTON] OHIO DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE TONY HALL. BUT SURVEYING THE SCENE, "THE WASHINGTON TIMES" WONDERS WHY THIS COUNTRY SHOULD GET INVOLVED. VOICE: THE INTERTRIBAL CONFLICT THERE HAS LASTED FOR 15 YEARS AND IS INCREDIBLY COMPLEX. THOUGH THE NATIONAL ISLAMIC FRONT (N-I-F), WHICH CONTROLS MOST SUDANESE GOVERNMENT ACTIVITY, HAS BEEN BLAMED AS THE AGGRESSORS AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS AND ANIMISTS OF THE SOUTH, THE SUDAN PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY OF THE SOUTH HAS ALSO KILLED EN MASSE. .... AND AS EVEN THE MISSIONARIES ADMITTED, GOVERNMENT BOMBS DO NOT HAVE A RELIGION DETECTOR ON THEM. GIVEN THAT THIS LONG-TERM WAR IS A MIX OF RELIGIOUS, POLITICAL AND ETHNIC CONFLICTS, AND THAT THE 'VILLAINS' MAY BE ACTIVE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WAR, IT APPEARS TO BE A WAR LEFT BEST ALONE. BUT THAT ARGUMENT ONLY HOLDS IF AMERICANS IGNORE THE FACT THAT THE SUDAN HAS BEEN ON THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S TERRORIST LIST SINCE 1993 ... AS LONG AS THE UNITED STATES CONTINUES TO 'NEGOTIATE' WITH A GOVERNMENT THAT SHELTERS TERRORISTS, MAKES ITS TARGETS CHURCHES AND HOSPITALS, AND DEFENSELESS WOMEN AND CHILDREN, THERE IS LITTLE HOPE FOR IMPROVEMENT IN THE SUDAN. TEXT: TURNING LASTLY, TO "THE BOSTON GLOBE," WE FIND SOME SHARP CRITICISM OF UNICEF -- THE UNITED NATIONS CHILDRENS' ORGANIZATION -- FOR ITS OPPOSITION TO THE OTHER GROUPS, BUYING AND FREEING THE SUDANESE SLAVES. VOICE: /// OPT /// UNICEF, WHICH RUNS ITS OWN INOCULATION AND FOOD RELIEF PROGRAMS IN COOPERATION WITH THE SUDANESE REGIME IN KHARTOUM, AT FIRST TRIED TO DENY THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY IN SUDAN. WHEN THAT BECAME IMPOSSIBLE, THE U-N ORGANIZATION TURNED ITS IRE NOT AGAINST THE SLAVE TRADERS OR THE REGIME THAT ENCOURAGED THEN BUT AGAINST THE HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS SEEKING TO FREE THE SLAVES. UNICEF ARGUED, PREPOSTEROUSLY, THAT THESE GROUPS SHOULD INSTEAD BE TRYING TO STOP SUDAN'S LONG-RUNNING CIVIL WAR; THAT BUYING THE SLAVES' FREEDOM WOULD ENCOURAGE THE ARMS TRADE; AND THAT THE VERY PURCHASE OF A HUMAN BEING IS INTOLERABLE. /// END OPT /// ... UNICEF'S CRITICISM OF THOSE WHO LIBERATE SLAVES REEKS OF THE POLITICIZED BEHAVIOR THAT HAS GIVEN ITS MASTER, THE U-N GENERAL ASSEMBLY, A BAD NAME. HUMAN RIGHTS HAVE NO MEANING IF THEY ARE NOT UNIVERSAL. TEXT: THAT CONCLUDES THIS SAMPLING OF U-S PRESS OPINION ON THE SITUATION IN THE SUDAN. NEB/ANG/GE 12-May-99 1:52 PM EDT (1752 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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